Toronto – The Toronto Rock stormed out of the gate and built a 5-0 lead in the early going, but only managed four more goals as they fell 12-9 to the Calgary Roughnecks on Sunday evening at Air Canada Centre.
Garrett Billings got things started for the Rock just 2:24 into the opening quarter and Matt Roik stopped all 9 Calgary shots he faced holding the Roughnecks scoreless through 15 minutes.
Calgary outscored Toronto 3-1 in the second quarter as they chipped away at the Rock’s early lead. Mike Carnegie scored shorthanded with just over two minutes remaining in the opening half to draw Calgary to within three trailing 6-3 at the half.
The visitors would take their first lead of the game when Shawn Evans scored his second of the game to put the Roughnecks ahead 7-6. Toronto answered back with a pair including a goal by Phil Sanderson, his first since 2009 when he was a Buffalo Bandit, giving Toronto an 8-7 lead. Last year’s rookie sensation Curtis Dickson scored his first of the season to once again tie the game, 8-8 after three quarters.
Scott Ranger scored a pair of goals to kick-start the Calgary offence in the fourth quarter and stake them to a 10-8 lead. Dan Carey made it a one goal game, but Calgary answered back with two more goals, including an empty net goal that was awarded after Toronto took a penalty on a Calgary scoring chance on the empty cage, making the final 12-9 Roughnecks.
Prior to the game, the Rock raised their sixth NLL Championship banner to the rafters with NLL Hall of Famer Bob Watson assisting the process..
The Rock will regroup before heading to Buffalo to take on the Bandits in their home opener next Saturday night at First Niagara Center. The game can be seen live on TSN. Toronto returns home on Friday, January 27th when they host the Rochester Knighthawks.