Garrett Billings leads Toronto Rock in 17-12 rally past Calgary Roughnecks

The Canadian Press
Associated Press

TORONTO - Garrett Billings scored six goals and assisted on four as the Toronto Rock roared past the Calgary Roughnecks 17-12 in a showdown of the National Lacrosse League's division leaders Friday night.

Colin Doyle scored three goals for Toronto (6-2), Jesse Gamble, Stephan Leblanc and Josh Sanderson got two each.

Mike Hobbins and Kasey Beirnes added one each for the Rock in front of an Air Canada Centre crowd of 10,026.

Nick Rose put on another outstanding goaltending display as Calgary had a 58-48 advantage in shots on goal.

Dane Dobbie scored five goals for the Roughnecks (4-3), while Curtis Dickson and Jeff Shattler got two each. Scott Ranger, Dan MacRae and Pete McFetridge added one each.

Penalties killed Calgary's chances. Toronto was 9 for 11 on the power play and the Roughnecks were 2 for 3 with the man advantage.

Calgary entered the game on a four-game winning streak and dominated the first quarter in taking a 5-3 lead and outshooting the Rock 17-9. Shattler made it 6-3 just 10 seconds into the second.

Everything was about to change.

Billings started a sizzling Rock run when he froze goalie Mike Poulin with a sneaky over-the-back goal as he trotted away from the crease. Hobbins scooped up a loose ball in his own end, ran the floor and fired the ball into a top corner of the net. Billings followed with two overhand lasers to top corners and Beirnes shovelled in his own rebound.

The five consecutive goals gave the Rock an 8-6 lead to take into the halftime break.

Make that six in a row. Gamble got a loose ball in his own end, ran the floor and bounced a ball past Poulin 1:16 into the third quarter to make it 9-6.

Dickson got one back but power-play goals by Doyle and Gamble, on another breakaway, put Toronto up 11-7.

It was a total Roughnecks meltdown. Geoff Snider couldn't take it. He dropped his gloves and started punching Scott Evans. Snider was assessed an instigating minor and a fighting major and was ejected. Evans was not penalized. Toronto had a manpower advantage for the next seven minutes.

When Leblanc and Doyle scored power-play goals to make it 13-7, Poulin was lifted and Frankie Scigliano was sent in. Billings quickly made it 14-7 with Toronto's seventh power-play goal of the night. Poulin was soon back in the crease but it made no difference.

It was 14-9 after three quarters. The 'Necks would creep within four in the fourth but could get no closer. Rose wouldn't let them.

NOTES: Toronto won both meetings this season, which could loom large when the schedule ends . . . Members of the CFL-champion Toronto Argonauts sipped from the Grey Cup in a pre-game appearance on the floor. Calgary captain Andrew McBride declined when offered a taste so one of the football players poured the beverage over McBride's head . . . Toronto deleted F Rob Hellyer, F Brandon Ivey and D Scott Johnston . . . Calgary scratched T Curtis Manning, F Jackson Decker and F Aaron Pascas . . . Next game for the Rock is at home against Buffalo on Thursday, Feb. 28 . . . The Roughnecks are at Minnesota on Saturday and play in Everett, Wash., next Saturday.