Lacrosse – Editorial Toronto Is Looking To Rock The NLL Heading Into The Playoffs

Before the lockdown happened, the Rock were poised to make a big splash in the 2020 playoffs, and were excited about the stretch run heading to the playoffs. Covid-19 happened, and that was it for the dreams of 2020.

Through the long 20 month off-season, Toronto lost some key pieces to their team:

Gone was David Brock, and Brock Sorenson to trades, Damon Edwards to free agency, and Scott Dominey to the expansion draft.  To most teams, this would cripple their defense severely.  Enter Mitch de Snoo and Jason Noble via trades, and TD Ierlan in the entry draft, to join the likes of Brad Kri, a healthy Latrell Harris, Bill Hostrawser, Sheldon Burns, Josh Jubenville, and Challen Rogers.  This year’s Rock team has a deep defense which is big, fast, mean, and good in transition.

The offense lost some big pieces also with Adam Jones, and Johnny Powless not returning.  Dan Dawson, Rob Hellyer, Tom Schreiber, and Reid Reinholdt are veteran leadership to a younger group of talented speedsters.  Zach Manns, and Dan Craig were already coming into their own in the last season, with Aaron Forster, and Justin Scott getting acclimated in their rookie years.  All of a sudden, this version of the Rock was even more well balanced than recent incarnations. 

The team has a good mix of young fast legs, veteran leadership, strong defensemen, and talented scorers.

With a solid trio of goaltenders led by starter Nick Rose,  the duo of Riley Hutchcraft, and Troy Holowchuk are ready at a moments notice to capably guard the cage whenever called upon.  Both backups have had some game time this year, and played very well in relief of Rose.

Through the long 20 month off-season, Toronto lost some key pieces to their team:

Although the Rock started off a bit slow, dealing with injuries, Covid protocols, and an empty home arena for a few games. This team showed its character, by always keeping “team” as their first ideal no matter what, and it has paid dividends. 

To this point in the season, they Rock have scored 171 goals in fifteen games (third in the league), while only giving up 143.  Toronto has won eight of their last ten games, outscoring their opponents 127-84 in those games.

The Rest of the Season:

The Rock have some tough games to end the year, facing Rochester, Halifax, and Buffalo.  While Rochester isn’t in the playoff picture, they always play Toronto tough.  Halifax, and Toronto are most likely going to face each other in the playoffs, and the battle is for second place in the division, and the home playoff game.  Buffalo technically could be caught by Toronto as division leader, but any Bandits win, or Rock loss would clinch them the division.  However, heading into the playoffs, both teams want to go in on a winning note, and won’t give an inch to each other no matter what.

It is going to be interesting, and exciting the rest of the season, with some very competitive match-ups heading into the playoffs.  Once again, the parity of the league has given us great games week after week, and the playoffs should be riveting, on the way to the championship.

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.