Rock looking to score

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:49 AM ET

A bushel of goals for the Toronto Rock last week could dwindle down to nothing more than couple of handfuls.

The Rock is in Buffalo tomorrow night at the HSBC Arena for the first game of a home-and-home set with the Bandits, who have given up an average of 8.8 goals a game, the lowest in the NLL.

But Rock coach Jamie Batley, 1-1 since taking over from Glenn Clark last month, isn't ready to roll over for the Bandits.

Buffalo, which visits the Rock next Friday night, is 21/2 games up on Toronto (2-3) in the East Division.

"It's a great opportunity to take out a 5-1 team, and then we get them again," Batley said. "They will pressure a lot and try to make us make mistakes. We have to take control of balls and we have to keep control once we get up near centre."

Buffalo's Mark Steenhuis could be a handful for Rock defenders. With 19 goals and 37 points, he's second in the league in both of those categories, behind only New York's Casey Powell (24 goals and 48 points). One aspect that might not concern the Rock is Buffalo's power play -- at 40%, it's among the league's lowest -- while the Rock's penalty killing rate of 60% is third overall. And Toronto is the only NLL team that has not given up a short-handed goal this season.

The Bandits beat the Rock 8-6 in a previous meeting this season. Against Edmonton at home last Saturday afternoon, the Rock scored 16 goals, its most in one outing in 2009. Though Bandits goalie Ken Montour leads the NLL with a 6.67 goals-against average, Batley wants more production out of a couple of his players, namely Blaine Manning and Luke Wiles. In five games, the pair has combined for just 13 goals.

"If you asked them if they feel the need to contribute more, they would tell you that's the case," Batley said. "But we're just going to take this first game and go into it to win it. We'll see what happens and take that into next week at home."


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