Rock roll into the cellar

RYAN WOLSTAT, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 2:59 PM ET

Another good start. Another blown lead. Another loss, for the Toronto Rock.

The Rock blew an early four-goal advantage and fell to the Minnesota Swarm 13-10 last night in National Lacrosse League action at the Air Canada Centre.

The loss plunged the 2-6 Rock into last place in the 12-team National Lacrosse League. It was tied with the Swarm in that department heading into the night.

A week ago, Toronto squandered an 11-5 halftime lead in an eventual 17-16 overtime loss to the Buffalo Bandits.

This time, the Rock again got off to a strong start, outscoring the Swarm 4-1 in the first, thanks to stellar play in net from Bob Watson and a 21-14 shots advantage.

Trailing 6-2, the Swarm rallied around rookie forward Kevin Buchanan. The ex-Ohio State star's hat trick goal squared matters at 6-6 with 1:45 to go in the first half.

Buchanan added a pair in a third quarter that saw the Swarm outscore the Rock 5-1, putting the game out of reach.

Behind 11-8 entering the fourth quarter, the Rock had a glorious chance to close the gap but, instead, surrendered a crushing short-handed goal.

Kasey Beirnes responded with a pair to cut the lead to two, but seconds later, ex-Rock forward Aaron Wilson iced matters.

The Rock, 2-6 and 1-4 under head coach Jamie Batley now must take on the Rochester Knighthawks tonight at Blue Cross Arena -- a place where the team has won only once in its history -- with the season on the line.

Batley waited out the media after the game, but angry voices could be heard behind closed doors.

Craig Conn, a bright spot for the Rock with three assists and an edge to his game, said Batley wasn't pleased with the team's collapse.

"Obviously, he is not too happy," Conn said. "He wasn't happy with the offensive play, and rightfully so. I think the offence (tonight) will have something to prove."

Luke Wiles, Chris Driscoll and Kasey Beirnes led the Rock with two goals and an assist each, but Toronto's top five scorers -- Jason Crosbie, Lewis Ratcliff (pointless), Wiles, Blaine Manning and Beirnes combined for a measly five goals and four assists.

"We lost this game tonight in the offensive end," Crosbie said. "We didn't move the ball. We did it for the first 20 minutes. We were really good, but we lost that team aspect and we don't know why."

RYAN.WOLSTAT@SUNMEDIA.CA


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