Rock Top Swarm to Clinch Home Playoff Game
from Press Release
ST. PAUL, MN – The Toronto Rock (9-9) defeated the Minnesota Swarm (4-14) by a score of 8-6 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota to conclude the regular season.
Prior to the conclusion of the Rock's victory over the Swarm, Toronto had received the help they were looking for as the Rochester Knighthawks held on to defeat the Buffalo Bandits 16-14. This meant, the Toronto win gave the Rock home floor advantage in their first round, single elimination, East Division Semi-Final playoff game against Buffalo next weekend.
Stephan Leblanc carried the hot stick in the early going as he scored both of Toronto's opening quarter goals. Minnesota super-rookie Logan Schuss had the lone marker for the Swarm as the visiting Rock held a 2-1 lead after one quarter.
The Swarm tied things early in the second quarter with Kiel Matisz striking on the powerplay. Leblanc scored an extra-man goal of his own to complete the first half hat-trick and restore the Rock's lead. Just seven seconds after that goal, Rock rookie Ethan O'Connor picked up a loose ball off the faceoff and ran in unscathed scoring to put Toronto up 4-2.
The third quarter belonged to the Rock and proved to the be the difference in the game. Toronto scored three times just 3:02 into the quarter, the goals coming just 1:22 apart. Josh Sanderson, Rob Hellyer and Kasey Beirnes connected with the Sanderson tally coming on the powerplay.
Minnesota chipped away at the Rock lead in the fourth quarter, outscoring Toronto 4-1 in the final frame. Nick Diachenko's early goal had stretched the Rock lead to 6 goals and the Swarm were just never able to recover.
Toronto goaltender Brandon Miller made 47 saves in the Rock goal to earn his 3rd win in a Rock uniform.
Leblanc (3 goals, 1 assist) and Hellyer (1 goal, 3 assists) each had four-point games to lead all Rock scorers.
The Rock will host the Buffalo Bandits on Saturday, May 3rd in the NLL East Division Semi-Final and tickets for the single-elimination playoff will go on sale to the general public on Monday morning at 10am at www.torontorock.com.
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