May 8, 2010

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NLL: Rock, Stealth Will Play for Champion's Cup

from press release

ORLANDO, Fla. –  The Toronto Rock advance to the National Lacrosse League Champion’s Cup final after a dominating 15-10 victory over the Orlando Titans Saturday night at Amway Arena.

The 2010 East Division champions have not been to the big show since the 2005 when they hosted the Arizona Sting to win the title. The Rock will be on the road, facing West Division champion Washington. The Stealth defeated the Rush, 11-8.

Kasey Beirnes was named game MVP for Toronto recording a team-high three goals. Bob Watson recorded the win in the Rock’s net stopping 38 of 48 shots. Watson improves to 13-4 in the post-season.  

Josh Wasson opened game scoring seven minutes into the game after spectacular goaltending on both sides. Stephan Leblanc was the next to get past Matt Vinc with a shorthanded goal, but it was quickly answered by Orlando’s Pat Maddalena. Garrett Billings dropped in Toronto’s third that was again matched by the Titans, this time by Mike McLellan.

Greg Peyser scored at the beginning of the second quarter for Orlando to even the score at three, after eight minutes of defensive play Maddalena and Casey Powell got past Bob Watson for their first lead of the night. Beirnes brought the Rock back onto the board with his second of the game to end the first half with the Rock down by one.

Blaine Manning started the second half with a rocket past Vinc just outside the restraining line to tie the game, and teammate Josh Wasson pushed the Toronto tally to six. Orlando’s McLellan squares it back up, but it didn’t last for long before Toronto found Vinc’s weak spot. Beirnes recorded the hat trick to push Toronto back into the lead and captain Colin Doyle and Leblanc followed with insurance. Mike Hominuck and defender Jeff Gilbert got in on the third quarter action to bring the Rock up to 11.

Manning continued to push into the final quarter of play with his second goal of the night. McLellan sunk his third past Watson but Mike Hobbins extended the lead back to six, finding Vinc out of his net. Billings continued the surge but McLellan kept pushing for the Titans, becoming the game’s leading goal scorer with four. Wasson for Toronto and John Orsen for Orlando continued the back and forth. Maddalena scored the final goal of the night, but the Rock held on with the 15-10 victory.

Toronto will go on to face the West champions, either the Washington Stealth or Edmonton Rush, next weekend. This will be the Rock’s first appearance in the Champion’s Cup since their win in 2005.


Toronto’s head coach Troy Cordingley
On the win:
Our third quarter, we scored four or five goals within five minutes. We took the game over again, and we had the will to win, and our guys showed it again.

On Orlando’s game:
I don’t think orlando are weak in any area, they are a very good team. Did we think we’d win by 5? No. We got a couple bounces and they hit a couple bars, but that’s the game of lacrosse.

On returning to the Champion’s Cup game:
Any time that you make it there it is sweet. It is a different sweet, last year was a special team, this year is a special team. We are happy to get there, to be there, but we know we still have a job to do.

On preparing for next week:
We’re just going to enjoy the win tonight, and think about the next game next week.

Game MVP Kasey Beirnes
On his play:
It feels good, it was a team effort, many other guys were scoring goals, but it was good to have a good game in the playoffs, probably my best one so far, so hopefully it’s a good sign.

On the win:
We have a team in there that is confident, and people need to watch out for us, things are going well and we are playing well.

On what the coaches said at halftime:
It was a rather calm half time. The coaching staff said, that we were in a good position, we were in the opposing team’s barn and down by one and we’ve been notorious for scoring goals in the third and fourth quarter. I guess they were right.

On playing on the road for the NLL Final:
I think we’ve been pretty good on the road so far this year, we just need to prepare the same and go from there. We will enjoy the win right now and get back to work at practice on Tuesday.


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