Rock rolled by Rush

DEREK VAN DIEST,SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:17 AM ET

Considering his final performance with the Edmonton Rush two weeks ago, eyes lit up when Steve Dietrich entered the game for the Toronto Rock last night at Rexall Place.

The veteran goaltender was pulled twice by the Rush in a thrashing to the Calgary Roughnecks, then dealt to the Rock just prior to the National Lacrosse League trading deadline.

Last night, Dietrich struggled again, giving up 11 goals in relief as the Rush defeated the Rock 16-12.

"I don't think that was a tough situation for him at all," said Rock head coach Jamie Batley. "He's a professional, and if that's a tough situation for him, he shouldn't be playing. He was ready to play, we've talked about that, if there is a situation where we have to pull our goaltender, he has to be ready to go."

Dietrich's started last night's game on the bench, but was called in when the league's reigning player of the week, Bob Watson, struggled and was pulled after giving up five goals on the first six shots he faced.

"Bob has been playing well and I won't fault him on any of those goals," Batley said. "Most of those goals were in or around the crease, so he gets no fault from me, that's for sure."

Dietrich entered the game and turned away the first three shots he saw, which was more than he stopped two weeks ago with the Rush.

Eventually, however, the Rush would get to their former goaltender and pumped six shots by him in the first half taking an 11-10 lead into the dressing room.

Andy Secore had the hot stick for the Rush as he finished the game with five goals and three assists to lead all scorers. Mike Hominuck and Jimmy Quinlan chipped in with three goals each, while Jamie Floris had a pair. Chris McElroy, Tyler Gibbons and Ian Hawksbee added singles as the Rush broke a franchise record for most goals in a contest.

Their previous high was 13 in a one-goal victory over the Roughnecks two seasons ago.

"It was a must-win for us tonight," Secore said. "I think everybody showed up, we got a lot of production from everybody and that's the key to winning these games.

"Getting five goals on the first six shots definitely helped. It was a big confidence booster for the offence and it deflated their sails."

At the other end, Brandon Atherton, making his second start of the season, gave up seven goals on 14 shots before getting the hook late in the first quarter in favour of Chris Levis.

Levis, who started the year as the Rush backup to Dietrich, gave up three goals in the second quarter on 10 shots, but then settled in, making a number of big stops in the third, limiting the Rock to a pair of goals.

He was just as solid in the fourth, shutting out the Rock in the quarter.

Luke Wiles led the way offensively for the visitors with three goals, while Craig Conn and Kasey Beirnes each added a pair. Rob Marshall, Blaine Manning, Peter Lough, Scott Campbell and Lewis Ratcliff also scored for the Rock.

The win helped the Rush climb back in to playoff contention. Combined with a loss by the Minnesota Swarm to the Roughnecks, the Rush are just a game back of the fourth and final playoff spot in the West Division. On Friday they'll place host to the Portland LumberJax at Rexall Place.

"It was a great effort, we were moving our feet a lot better tonight and the ball was zipping around," said Rush head coach and general manager Bob Hamley. "The key for us was that we got to Watson early and he's been really good for them in the last three games. You could see the confidence rising and we talked about it at half time that we have to close the deal. We didn't close the deal last week against San Jose (11-10 loss) and this week they took it upon themselves to close the deal and they did a great job."


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