Outlook 2023-24 – Toronto Rock

2022-2023 Record: 13-5, 2nd in the East Division.  Lost 2-0 to the Buffalo Bandits in the semi-finals.

New Faces:

Mark Matthews, Chris Boushy, Dan Lintner, Justin A. Martin, Cam Milligan, Brine Rice, Kurtis Woodland.

Key Losses:

Zach Manns, Adam Jay, Jamison Dilks, Stephen Keogh, Dan Dawson (retired).

With the Toronto Rock, there are never “rebuild” seasons.  Every year is “Championship or Bust”.  It is both good and bad for the team.  Good that players will sign as free agents wanting to be in a winning environment.  Bad with the constant pressure that unless you hoist the cup, your season will be deemed a failure. The Rock have always had a nice mix of youth and veterans.  This year it is leaning more toward the proven veterans.  Gone are Adam Jay, Jamison Dilks, and Zach Manns.  Mark Matthews, Dan Lintner, and Chris Boushy will add plenty of experience to the lineup.

Offense:

When you have Tom Schreiber, Mark Matthews, Corey Small, Chris Boushy, Dan Craig, Dan Lintner and Cam Milligan, you have to realize this team will score a lot of goals.  The biggest strike for years has been that no one really goes inside.  With the booming shots this group has, they will still create a lot of offense, but Lintner and Boushy will add that “in close” feature the team so sorely needs.

Transition/Faceoff: 

TD Ierlan has shown he is one of the best in the league at faceoffs, winning 234 of 392 draws (60%) last season.

The transition game saw Phil Mazzuca rise to “Rock Star” status with his highlight reel breakaways in transition last season.  Tyler Hendrycks, Brine Rice, and Challen Rogers will also be threats to score at any time in transition.

Defense: 

This group has been ranked as the top defense the last two seasons.  However, Buffalo made them look fairly average in the semi-finals last year.  This is a proud and resilient group that will play with a chip and a vengeance this season.  Look for the combination of Mitch deSnoo and Brad Kri to pick up as the “Ministers of Defense”.  Also, If things get out of hand, Bill Hostrawser will be happy to set things straight, protecting his teammates.

Goaltending: 

Nick Rose has had two consecutive seasons in which he was good enough to win “Goalie of the Year”.  However, until this team wins a championship, there will always be questions about winning the big game.  By no means was Rose totally at fault for the playoff meltdown, as many defensive lapses left him exposed time and time again.  Rose has always stated that personal accolades are nice, but mean nothing without a championship.   This could be the year where the stars align for that accomplishment.

Backup Troy Holowchuk is ready, willing and able to step in whenever needed.  One has to wonder if he sees more meaningful action this season, as the torch slowly gets passed to him.

In Conclusion:

This team has all the pieces to win a championship.   The veteran leadership, with the youth on the team is a nice mix.  Seeing that many of these players played together in the summer with the Oakville Rock, the chemistry is definitely there.  With leadership from Jamie Dawick, Matt Sawyer, Rusty Kruger, Bruce Codd and Colin Doyle, this team will use last year’s playoffs for fuel and motivation.   Look for big things from this group this season!

Don’t forget to check us out every Sunday night at 9pm (ET) on www.eopsports.com

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.

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