Rock hope to continue home streak

DAN ILIKA, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:12 PM ET

TORONTO - The Rock will be looking to clip its enemy's Wings as Toronto (8-2) gets set to host Philadelphia (4-5) in a divisional battle Friday night.

Coming off a convincing win over Philly on the road last Saturday night, the Rock will look to continue to bolster its already stellar home record.

Toronto is 5-0 at the Air Canada Centre this season, holding opponents to an impressive 7.8 goals against average.

The Rock is the only NLL team with an undefeated record at home this season and the conversation begins and ends with goaltender Bob Watson.

Watson, 40, who said this will be his last season of action before he retires, is having a spectacular year, leading the league with an .813 save percentage and total saves with 369.

"Bob is a very important piece to our puzzle," Rock head coach Troy Cordingley said. "I've said it time and time again that he is the best to play in this league."

With a four-game winning streak heading into this weekend's tilt, Toronto's offence has been clicking.

The Rock leads the league with 117 goals on the season and its combination of youth and experience are a big factor.

Veterans Colin Doyle and Blaine Manning and sophomores Stephan Leblanc and Garrett Billings have combined for 77 goals and 195 points overall on the year.

"Our veterans are character guys. They are guys that have won," Cordingley said. "They are guys who don't take shortcuts.

"I know it carries over to the youth ... and our young guys ... they're pulling their weight as much as the veteran guys are."

And while the Rock is rolling at both ends of the floor, the team still has cause for concern against a young offensive-minded Philly squad.

"They've got some amazing shooters on their team,"

Cordingley said of the Wings' potent offence. "Their offence is loaded with guys that can just let the cannon go from outside."

In order to combat that offensive punch, the Rock needs to tighten up defensively and work on its spacing.

Last weekend in Philadelphia, the Wings got into set plays at will, which allowed them to get shots off from key spots on the floor.

Wings forward Athan Iannucci has tallied 22 goals and 25 assists on the year and will lead Philly into battle in enemy territory Friday night.

"We can't let them have that full windup in prime scoring areas," Cordingley said. "We have to be a little bit more disciplined in regards to not taking bad penalties. We can't afford to go down a man against a team with that good of an offence."

ROOKIE SIGNS

The Rock has signed rookie forward Rob Hellyer to the active roster for Friday's match against the Wings. At just 18 years old, Hellyer is the youngest player on Toronto's roster and the youngest active player in the NLL. The Rock took Hellyer 30th overall in the 2010 NLL entry draft.

Hellyer replaces forward Tim O'Brien, who has been placed on the disabled list.

BILLINGS HONOURED

The NLL awards keep piling up for the Rock as second-year forward Garrett Billings was named the league's February player of the month. Billings, who turned 25 this month, celebrated in style with 25 points en route to Toronto's 4-1 record in February. The Langley, B.C. native is enjoying a spectacular season, with 21 goals and 29 assists in nine games for Toronto.


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