December 12, 2011

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LM's Best Men's Performance of 2011: Bob Watson's Finale

by Corey McLaughlin | LaxMagazine.com

In his final professional game, Bob Watson made 46 saves and the Rock won the NLL title.
© Graig Abel

Riding off into the sunset never looked so good.

In the last game of his pro lacrosse career, longtime Toronto Rock goaltender and team icon Bob Watson earned MVP honors of the Rock's 8-7 win over the Washington Stealth for the National Lacrosse League's Champion's Cup title. Watson stopped 46 shots, and retired a champion.

"Bob Watson made a couple of miraculous saves early. We had three, four, five, maybe six naked chances on him, and he made the saves. It was his night," Washington coach Chris Hall said.

After the game, as the 41-year-old Watson celebrated his sixth title in a Toronto uniform, he gestured to a section in the crowd where his family stood among 14,448 spectators cheering in Air Canada Centre.

"I'll cherish this for the rest of my life," Watson told the crowd before heading for the dressing room for the last time.

Watson, the NLL's all-time saves leader, announced in March his decision to retire from the pro ranks after 15 seasons to devote more time to his family and his new job as a Kitchener-Waterloo policeman in Ontario, Canada. Fans chanted "one more year" at him amid the championship celebration, but with an MVP performance, what else could a man do to end his career?

''We hate to see him go, but he's taking the high road. He's got kids, and he's at that age where his body is not as good as it used to be, although it definitely didn't show today," Toronto's Stephan Leblanc told Lacrosse Magazine's Neil Stevens.

For more on Bob Watson's final game, check out Neil Stevens' coverage from the Champion's Cup.

LaxMagazine.com Fan Vote, Best Men's Performance of 2011

Steele Stanwick, Virginia
43%
3g, 5a in NCAA first round vs. Bucknell

Bob Watson, Toronto Rock
27%
46 saves in NLL final vs. Washington

Grant Catalino, Rattlers
22%
MLL single-game record-tying 9g vs. Nationals

Austin Kaut, Penn State
12%
25 saves vs. Massachusetts

A version of this article appears in the December issue of Lacrosse Magazine as part of LM"s "Best of Lacrosse 2011" package. Don't get the mag? Join US Lacrosse and its 350,000-plus members today to start your monthly subscription.


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