Toronto, Edmonton Pick up Friday Night Wins

Toronto, ON On Friday night, the Toronto Rock (6-2) defeated the Calgary Roughnecks (4-3) by a score of 17-12 at Air Canada Centre. The win leaves the Rock all alone atop the NLL standings.

The Roughnecks jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the first quarter but a late Rock goal from Garrett Billings on the powerplay closed the gap to 5-3 after one quarter.

Calgary restored their three-goal lead with an early second quarter goal. Form there it was all Rock as they scored five straight goals to wrap up the first half with an 8-6 lead.

The third quarter was all Rock with Toronto outscoring Calgary 6-3 in the frame to build a 14-9 lead. The Rock rattled off five powerplay goals and led by as many as seven in the quarter. The Rock did have the benefit of an extended man advantage situation after Calgary's Geoff Snider was tossed giving the Rock a 7-minute powerplay.

The two teams exchanged goals in the early going of the fourth quarter as the Rock maintained their five-goal lead. Calgary could never get any closer than four goals down and the Rock went on to the 17-12 win.

The Rock were led offensively by Garrett Billings who scored a career high 6 goals along with 4 assists for a season high 10 points. Colin Doyle continued his torrid scoring pace as well with 3 goals and 4 assists for 7 points.

Toronto will enjoy next weekend off and return to action at Air Canada Centre on Thursday, February 28th at 7:30 pm when they take on the Buffalo Bandits on 102.1 the Edge night.

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EDMONTON, Alberta The Washington Stealth struggled to score at first and never really got their legs as Edmonton and rookie Mark Matthews ran away with a 15-10 NLL decision before 5,627, Friday at Rexall Place in Edmonton.

The loss dropped the Stealth to 4-4 while Edmonton, now 2-4 with both wins coming against the Stealth, notched their first home win this season.

"We new exactly what was coming and we let it happen to us," said Stealth Coach Chris Hall. "We got behind the eight ball early. We just let them smother us right away."

Playing without the services of defenders Bill Hostrawser, Jeff Moleski and Tim Henderson, Washington was outshot 61-35 and on offense was never able to challenge an Edmonton squad hungry for their first home win of the season.

Although Edmonton landed the first two goals of the game on scores by Ryan Ward and Mathews, Washington came back with a Brett bucktooth power play goal at 5:06 and a score by Rhys Duch at 3:44 to knot the game at 2-2.

But after three Edmonton goals followed, two closing out the first and Matthews' opening score in the second, the Stealth were down 5-2 and had managed just five shots - four coming on a power play attempt early in the first.

After the Rush extended their lead to 7-3 at the half, Hall implored his team to stick to its fundamentals in the second.

"At the half I told them 'we've got to stick with the game plan. We've got to make a better effort'," said Hall. "We've got to be playing smarter with the ball and getting away from the pressure."

The result brought the Stealth out charging in the second with Duch's second of four goals on the night at 14:20 and a power play shot by Lewis Ratcliff at 13:53 to bring the game within two at 7-5.

For Duch, his four goals marked a season high and was the right-handed forward's sixth hat trick of the season and second three-goal effort against the Rush.

But that was as close as the Stealth would get as Edmonton's Matthews netted his fourth of the night at 12:06 of the third to launch five of the next seven goals and extend the Rush lead to 12-7 by the end of the quarter.

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