A Heart-Stopper To Open The Season

Gary Groob
Lax Philly A Division of Edge of Philly Sports Network

In a battle of the relocated teams, the Toronto Rock (1-0), now playing out of the First Ontario Centre in Hamilton, Ontario battled the Albany FireWolves (0-1), formerly the New England Black Wolves, in a scratch and claw battle.  The Rock emerged with a one goal victory on the late game heroics of Dan Dawson for the 10-9 win.

To the game…

The Rock got off to a quick start when Rob Hellyer (1g,4a) scored off a loose ball pickup, scoring top shelf, far side at 1:38 on the power play.  The FireWolves stormed right back when Tony Malcom (1g,0a) fired through a screen beating Nick Rose (Rock goalie) on a pass from Greg Downing at 3:18.

This was a track meet from the start with the teams going end to end.  Both goalies came up big, keeping this a close game.

Tom Schreiber (4g,1a) gave the Rock the lead again when he went airborne from behind the net to beat  Doug Jamieson (FireWolves goalie) shortside at 6:04.  The Albany squad came right back again when Andrew Kew (4g,2a) converted a Joe Resetarits pass at 8:28 on the power play, and then took their first lead of the night when John LaFontaine (1g,0a) scored off a Jackson Nishimura pass at 10:35 dunking it shortside. 

Schreiber scored his second of the game when he blasted a Reid Reinholdt pass in at 14:12 again on the power play, but with just 0:00.3 seconds left in the quarter, Charlie Kitchen (1g,0a) gave Albany the lead once again.

After one quarter, Albany 4 Toronto 3.

The second quarter had the Rock tie it up when Reid Reinholdt (2g;3a) converted a Latrell Harris pass on the power play at 3:49.

The teams went up and down the floor with no success until the 12:02 mark when Andrew Kew scored his second of the night off a Coltin Watkinson feed.  Tom Schreiber, scored his third of the night when he made the most of a Reid Reinholdt pass at 13:26, followed by Dan Craig (1g,2a) scoring his first of the season off a Dan Dawson pass with just 0:01.6 seconds left in the half.

At the half, Toronto 6 Albany 5.

Toronto’s special team unit was on fire in the first half scoring four times against one goal for the FireWolves.

The Rock started the third quarter quick when Reid Reinholdt scored his second of the night just 0:56 seconds in, and then thought they had a three goal lead when Rob Hellyer had also scored.  The FireWolves challenged the Hellyer goal, and after a lengthy review it was deemed that Aaron Forster was just inside the crease…no goal.

This was a much more defensive quarter with both squads standing tall most of the quarter.

Reilly O’Connor (1g,2a) brought Albany within one goal when he converted a Jordan Durston pass with a beautiful individual effort at 8:28.

The tight checking, and solid goaltending continued throughout the rest of the quarter.

After three quarters, Rock 7 FireWolves 6.

The fourth quarter opened with Tom Schreiber scoring his fourth of the night on the power play just 0:34 seconds in, having the Rock open a two goal spread on Albany.

A controversial call on Mitch de Snoo then changed the entire outlook of the game.  De Snoo leveled Tony Malcom, earning him a five minute illegal body checking penalty as well as a game misconduct.  The hit was a shoulder that caught Malcom just under the helmut which earned him the call.

On the ensuing power play, the FireWolves were able to put together two goals to tie the game 8-8.  The first goal came from Jacob Ruest (1g,0a) off an Andrew Kew pass at 4:31, followed by Kew himself firing a laser past Rose off a Jordan Durston pass at 7:03.

Andrew Kew continued his hot hand with another beautiful shot at 8:18, that put the FireWolves out in front, and had the Rock back on their heels a bit.

Enter Dangerous Dan Dawson…

A glorious individual effort by Dawson (2g,1a), who weaved his way through the defense, scoring with a one handed, underhand swim move, all the while keeping his feet out of the crease, tied the game at 9:30.  With only 2:32 left on the clock Dawson struck again, a pass from Latrell Harris to an open Dawson, who beat Jamieson to the far side giving the Rock the lead 10-9.

The last few minutes were frantic, but the Rock held on for the victory.

“They were rockin’ tonight, and it was loud,” said Dawson of the fans. “When we went on that little run of two goals and that third one went in.  It was bumpin’, it was great, talk about embracing us in this new town.  What a great city.”

Rock Forward Dan Dawson

“It was an exciting night there and the place was hopping,” said Sawyer of the 8,043 fans that were nothing short of electric all night long.  “It was good to come out that game with the win, it was hard fought, and we faced some adversity.”

Rock Head Coach Matt Sawyer

The Numbers:

Shots on goal was 53-43 in favor of the Rock.

Albany dominated the faceoffs 17-4.

Toronto went 5 for 6 on the power play, while Albany 3 for 5 on the power play.

Top Scorers:


Andrew Kew 4g, 2a
Reilly O’Connor 1g, 2a
Jordan Durston 0g, 2a
Colton Watkinson 0g, 2a


Tom Schreiber 4g, 1a
Rob Hellyer 1g, 4a
Dan Dawson 2g, 1a
Dan Craig 1g, 2a

The Rock are in Halifax Friday December 10th, while the Albany FireWolves have a bye week next week.

Photo Credits: Gary Groob

Gary Groob
Gary Groob

Gary Groob has been involved with Lacrosse for the majority of his life, whether playing, coaching, or covering the sport for the media.

An avid fan, with a real drive about helping to “grow the game”, Gary became part of podcasts about the game in 2010. Through the podcasts, Mr. Groob was given an opportunity to write about lacrosse, and the rest as they say, is history.

Through many miles (flying and driving) Gary has made inroads with the National Lacrosse League, Major Series Lacrosse League, the Ontario Lacrosse Association, as well as the Arena Lacrosse League, covering the leagues, their teams, and players, working for, and in concert with all of them.

In the year 2020, Mr. Groob was made the media person for the Arena Lacrosse League, voted onto the board of directors of the Brampton Excelsiors Lacrosse Club, as well as being made administrator of the Lacrosse page “Global Lacrosse” with a membership of 9000 members in over 90 Countries. Gary was also made an administrator of Lacrosse History Past Present and Future in 2022.

Mr. Groob co-hosts a weekly Lacrosse show on Spanglish Sports World, and ZingoTV channel 250, as well as writes a weekly lacrosse column for La Portada Canada News (both in print, and online).

Gary also hosts a Lacrosse talk show and podcast for The Edge of Philly Sports Network, seen live Sunday nights at 9pm (ET), and archived on the Edge of Philly YouTube page, as well as Spotify.

Mr. Groob’s other sports interests include Hockey, Football, Boxing, Wrestling, and Baseball, competing competitively in Boxing and Wrestling for many years.