Rock roll past Wings in Friday action

Garrett Billings scored 6 goals on just 7 shots in Toronto's win over Philadelphia. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)
Garrett Billings scored 6 goals on just 7 shots in Toronto's win over Philadelphia. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)

Rob Hellyer had a goal and 7 assists. Kasey Beirnes had 4 goals and 2 assists. Neither was selected as one of the 3 Stars of the game. That speaks volumes about the way the Toronto offence was clicking as the Rock doubled the Philadelphia Wings 20-10 in the only National Lacrosse League game played Friday night. The really big gun for the Rock was the man whose bobblehead night it was: Garrett Billings. He had 6 goals on seven official shots on net and added 6 assists, jumping into the league’s scoring lead, at least until tonight’s games are played.

Stephan Leblanc (4g, 2a) and Colin Doyle (3g, 4a) also had big nights for the Rock and Nick Rose was solid between the pipes. The Wings actually outshot Toronto 51-49, forcing Rose to turn aside plenty of rubber, but the Rock had far more high-quality scoring chances as Philly had trouble dealing with Toronto’s crisp movement of both the ball and players into open spaces.

The power play statistics were reflective of how the game went overall. Philadelphia had six chances with the man advantage but were only able to score once. Several times, they turned the ball over after Toronto short-man possessions — giving the Rock the chance to kill more time — and they seldom seemed to get into synch on the power play. Toronto, on the other hand, had the ball moving sharply to get Wings defenders out of position or leaning the wrong way and took advantage to connect 5 of the 7 times they had the extra man.

Rock Head Coach John Lovell expected nothing less than his team continuing to work and execute despite growing a bit lead, but said there are still things his team needs to get better at. “I’m not sure what we were supposed to do; quit working?” he said. “They were shooting early in the clock when we got the lead. There’s a lot of things we need to work on. We’ve got a pretty inexperienced defence out there. I thought our ball team was outstanding, you can’t ask much more than that.”

Lovell liked the way his young defence played, for the most part. “I thought they were outstanding. We put up a decent number. 10 is a pretty decent number; we should be able to win with that. What I was most disappointed or impressed with, whatever you want to say, was that three or four of the goals that they did score we had possession and then turned it over and gave it back to them after getting the stop. We needed to look after and protect the ball a little better than that. But they’re a good team. They pressure, they’re big and they’re strong but we played well tonight.”

The win leapfrogs the Rock into third place in the East Division at 3-3, half a game ahead of the Wings who drop to 3-4. Philly is right back in action tonight, heading home to face the undefeated Edmonton Rush in one of four games on busy Saturday night in the NLL.

Toronto 20, Philadelphia 10
NLL.com game story
Box score

Stamp is a TV sports announcer and lacrosse lover whose skill set made him a defender but who always dreamed of being a goal-scorer. He can be reached at stamplax@hotmail.com.

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