Doyle leads Rock to win in return

Toronto Rock's Blaine Manning and Blazer's Jon Dumo battle at the Air Canada Centre.  (Dave...

Toronto Rock's Blaine Manning and Blazer's Jon Dumo battle at the Air Canada Centre. (Dave Thomas/QMI)

IAN BUSBY, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 12:16 AM ET

Colin Doyle leaned back in his locker with what little energy that was left in his aching body.

“Exhausted,” the Toronto Rock captain said. “I’m done.”

For one night, anyway. But had Doyle been given a chance to script his return to the Air Canada Centre after three seasons with San Jose, it’s doubtful the man regarded by many as the top player in the National Lacrosse League could have come up with something as emotional as what happened before a crowd of 11,502 on Friday night.

Doyle had two goals and four assists, including a great pass to Garrett Billings for the winner in overtime, and dropped the gloves in a fight that galvanized his teammates, leading the Rock to an 8-7 home-opening win against the Boston Blazers.

“It was one of those wins that should go a long way for us,” Doyle said in a jubilant Rock dressing room.

“Hopefully we can look back at the end of the year and say we did something and build off it.

“I can remember the days when this was a special building to play and we need to get that back.”

The Rock improved to 2-0, already a third of the way to its win total of last season, when it was 6-10 and finished last in the East.

Stephan LeBlanc had a goal and five assists for Toronto. Bob Watson made 36 saves.

Toronto clobbered Boston 17-7 in Beantown last weekend, and it was clear the Blazers were bent on bloody revenge.

Barely 4˝ minutes into the game, Boston’s Paul Dawson, a teammate of Doyle last summer with the Brampton Excelsiors, dropped Doyle with a cross check.

After the two jawed at each other, they had a lengthy scrap. And once that was done and they were in the penalty box, hell broke loose.

Suddenly, the game resembled a scene that would have impressed WWE boss Vince McMahon. Except the punches were real.

During the stoppage after the Dawson/Doyle scrap, four fights broke out, leading to the ejection of eight players — Toronto’s Jeff Gilbert, Sandy Chapman, Creighton Reid and Pat McCready and Boston’s Daryl Veltman, Brenden Thenhaus, Dan Dawson and Nick Cotter. Why the big brouhaha?

Put it this way — Doyle is a franchise cornerstone, Paul Dawson is not.

McCready sought out Dan Dawson, Paul’s older brother, and, as the saying goes, it was on.

“That was old-fashioned lacrosse,” Dan Dawson said. “It was the code of conduct. I knew Patty was going to answer the bell and I am okay with that. I give credit to both teams. There was a lot of heart out there.”

Boston took a 3-1 lead but Toronto scored the next five goals.

After the Blazers scored three in row, tying the game at 2:36 of the fourth quarter on a goal by Ryan Hotaling, Doyle set up Mike Hominuck for the go-ahead goal at 5:29. But Mitch Belisle scored to force overtime.

When Toronto got the winner, Boston’s Kyle Ross was serving a five-minute major for high-sticking, assessed when he sent Doyle’s helmet flying with a vicious hit.

Before Billings scored on Anthony Cosmo at 6:37, the Rock hit three posts and a crossbar with Ross in the box.

“It’s nothing but character,” Rock coach Troy Cordingley said.

“It’s huge. We gutted it out. Nobody is going to step into our arena and push us around anymore. The attitude is changing.”


Videos

Photos