The Toronto Rock survived a furious Jordan MacIntosh-fuelled fourth-quarter comeback by the Minnesota Swarm to hold on for a 14-12 National Lacrosse League win at the Air Canada Centre Saturday night. MacIntosh scored three dunk goals from behind the net–one shorthanded, one on the power play and one with the goalie pulled for an extra attacker–to lead an 8-1 Swarm domination of the fourth quarter. The only Rock goal of the frame was scored by Jesse Gamble when the Rock defender picked off a pass just in front of the Toronto net and raced the length of the floor to deposit the ball into the empty net with 28 seconds left to play.
Josh Sanderson and Stephan Leblanc each had hat tricks to lead the Toronto offence, including 3 goals between them in the 6-0 third quarter that proved to be the difference for the Rock after the home team led 7-4 at half time. Colin Doyle had connected twice in the final minute and a half of the second quarter, including one with an extra attacker just as the period ended. Those goals gave him 500 for his illustrious NLL career. Doyle also added a pair of assists that brought his career totals to 799 assists and 1,299 points.
Garrett Billings quietly posted 9 assists for Toronto while Nick Rose made 46 saves to earn the win in net. MacIntosh finished with 5 goals for the Swarm and absolutely put the team on his back in the fourth quarter. Logan Schuss kick-started the comeback drive when he tucked a ball past Rose’s far side foot and just inside the post at the 3:42 mark of the quarter to make it 13-5. Callum Crawford then scored a spectacular goal as he swam past a defender and tip-toed across the top of the crease while reaching back across his body to sneak the ball past Rose. The Rock challenged the goal but it stood after being reviewed, which at the time didn’t seem like it would make much of a difference. Oh, how wrong we all were in thinking that.
It was still 13-6 when Rob Hellyer, who had a pair of goals and an assist in the game, was sitting in the box for a tripping penalty with four and a half minutes to play. That’s when MacIntosh really got rolling. He took the ball behind the net and rose into the air toward Rose’s left shoulder but reached across the net and slammed the ball into the net by the goalie’s right shoulder. MacIntosh won the ensuing faceoff, ran down the floor with the ball and executed almost the identical move to score into the exact same spot of the net 11 seconds later.
The score was 13-8 and there was a bit of an uncomfortable buzz from the Toronto crowd. It grew more uncomfortable a minute later when Brock Sorensen took an outlet pass from goalie Tyler Carlson and deposited a slick behind the back shot off of Rose’s shoulder and in. A kerfuffle ensued that led to a Minnesota power play, and 20 seconds after the Sorensen goal, Kiel Matisz connected with the man advantage. It was 13-10 and the buzz had been replaced by an eerie silence in the ACC. 32 seconds after that, the silence grew even more profound when Matisz buried an outside bounce shot to pull the Swarm within two goals with 2:05 left to play.
The crowd released its collectively held breath when Gamble picked off that pass and streaked down to score into the empty net. The excitement wasn’t quite over, though. MacIntosh scored on yet another dunk goal to almost the exact same spot to pull the Swarm to within 14-12. They had effectively run out of time, however, as that last goal came with just 5.6 seconds to play. MacIntosh did win yet another faceoff (he won 21 of 29 in the game) and the Swarm did get another shot off, but the comeback just didn’t have time to fully materialize and Minnesota dropped to 1-7 on the season while the Rock climbed back to .500 at 4-4.
Out west, the Calgary Roughnecks did succeed in pulling off a fourth-quarter comeback, outscoring the Rochester Knighthawks 5-1 in the final frame to earn an 11-10 win that moved both teams to 5-3 on the season. Jeff Shattler and Curtis Dickson each had a pair of goals to bring the Riggers back from a 9-6 third-quarter deficit and give Calgary its first lead of the night at the 10:28 mark of the fourth. Dane Dobbie then scored his third of the night to give the Roughnecks some insurance that they would need. Cody Jamieson scored with the extra attacker on the floor and just under a minute to play to reach the final score and make the final 58 seconds just a little more exciting than the crowd in Calgary was hoping for.
Dobbie added a pair of assists to lead Calgary in scoring while Shawn Evans chipped in with 4 assists. Jamieson led all scorers with 2 goals and 5 assists. Stephen Keogh had 3 goals and 2 assists for the Knighthawks.
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