Rock blow six-goal lead

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:30 AM ET

What hurts the Toronto Rock more, losing to the Buffalo Bandits by 15 or losing to them in overtime?

The Rock have a few days to mull that over as well as their 2-5 start, after a 17-16 heartbreaker to the Bandits last night at the Air Canada Centre.

"We're a lot better than our record shows," forward Luke Wiles said. "As we progress, you'll see a very strong team. Tonight, we came out on the short end of the stick and we just have to work a little harder."

Given a week to stew about the Bandits running up a 25-10 score, Toronto wasn't going to come out flat on home Astroturf. The Rock scored the first three goals and led 11-5 at the half. But Mark Steenhuis, coming off a league record 17 points last week against Toronto, added eight goals last night, including the tying and winning markers and warhorse John Tavares added six.

"At the offensive end we did everything we could and our defence was a lot better," Wiles said. "But Steenhuis and Tavares, that's why they're the top guys in the league. They get the goals when they need them."

Rock coach Jamie Batley refused to rip his club .

"We did great video sessions, worked hard in practice and had the guys in tune as to why they beat us the week before," he said. "We were 19 seconds and a crossbar away from winning."

But Toronto had two key possessions at the end of regulation and another to start overtime, neither of which clicked, while Steenhuis needed just 46 seconds on Buffalo's first shot of OT.

LANCE.HORNBY@SUNMEDIA.CA

Buffalo required just 12 minutes in the second half to make it a 12-12 game, but never took the lead until OT.

It helped Toronto's cause at the start that Buffalo coach Darris Kilgour elected to start No. 2 goalie Michael Thompson and switched back to Paul Montour as the Rock rolled towards its six-goal lead.

Buffalo swept the Rock for the first time in a season's series.

lance.hornby@sunmedia.ca


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