Not having played a home game in close to a month and a slow start in the first "Q" did not prevent the Toronto Rock from finding a way to knock off the Vancouver Stealth on Friday night.
The battle at the Air Canada Centre started with the Stealth firing on all cylinders, scoring six goals in the first with all of them coming from different players, showcasing the depth of scoring ability of the Vancouver Stealth.
The first would end with Vancouver up 6-3 but that lead would evaporate as Toronto came back strong in the second, getting goals from Garret Billings, Damon Edwards, Jesse Gamble, and Kasey Beirnes, while Vancouver would only get one more in the half coming from Cliff Smith as the game would go into the break tied, 7-7.
The third would see Billings come alive for the Rock as he would get two more goals for the hat trick, along with goals coming from Josh Sanderson and Stephan Leblanc in the period as the 3rd ended 11-9 in favour of the home side.
In the fourth, Garrett Billings would score twice and end the night with five goals.
Vancouver would try and stay in things late in the fourth, but the Rock still managed to pull away and even chase Tyler Richards from the Vancouver net, who was replaced by Matt Roik after Josh Sanderson made it a 14-10 game.
In the end, Toronto would take this one 17-12, after a first quarter that saw them on their heels.
The Toronto offensive attack wasn’t all Billings though, as other big names on the score sheet included Stephan Leblanc having a nine point night, Josh Sanderson coming up big with eight, and the captain Colin Doyle adding four more.
In a losing effort Vancouver’s Rhys Duch was able to put up two goals and three assists on the night, and has remained hot early on scoring wise in the 2014 NLL season.
Afterwards Kasey Biernes chatted with me about how was happy about the team’s ability to get back into this game even with a start that was not the greatest.
“It’s a process. The process wasn’t going our way at the beginning but we stuck it and after four quarters we ended up on the good side. It’s not always how quick it happens, it’s not always a sprint it’s more of a marathon.”
After this one, the Rock are back on the road again on Saturday in Buffalo, and Vancouver visit the Philadelphia Wings.