The Vancouver Warriors (4-6) traveled east to face the Toronto Rock (6-2) in National Lacrosse League (NLL) action on Saturday night, in front of 8,401.
Both teams were on winning streaks and were looking to keep gaining momentum, moving up in the standings.
It was Rob Hellyer Bobblehead night in Toronto, and he didn’t disappoint, scoring six goals, and adding two assists, as well as being the first star in a big 14-7 win for the Rock.
Toronto got off to a quick start when Rob Hellyer (6g,2a) opened the scoring off a Challen Rogers pass at 1:38, but the Warriors tied it up when Joel McCready (3g 2a) charged towards the net and converted a Mitch Jones pass past Nick Rose (Rock goalie) at 10:15.
The Rock took the lead again when Dan Dawson (2g,2a) used a swim move, going in alone on Eric Penney (Warriors goalie) putting it between his legs for the goal at 11:48, but Logan Schuss (1g,3a) scored with a bullet of a shot off a Mitch Jones pass at 13:56.
Both goalies looked sharp in the first quarter, making big saves to keep the game low scoring.
After one quarter, Toronto 2 Vancouver 2.
Joel McCready opened the second quarter scoring for Vancouver quickly, converting a Logan Schuss pass just 0:38 seconds in, diving across the crease, giving the Warriors their first lead of the night.
Johnny Powless (1g,4a) tied the game once again, scoring off a Dan Dawson pass at 6:45, but Mitch Jones (2g,3a) answered back for Vancouver when he converted a fake shot from Keegan Bal (which was a pass to behind the net) and dove from behind to score on Rose at 8:29.
The Rock finished the quarter strong.
Reid Reinholdt (1g,3a) crashed the net scoring in close to tie the game at 9:31, followed by Rob Hellyer scoring on the powerplay off a Challen Rogers pass at 10:13. Challen Rogers (2g,3a) added to Toronto’s lead when he fired a Reid Reinholdt pass in at 12:16, followed by Rob Hellyer scoring his third of the night off a Sheldon Burns pass at 12:44.
At the half, Toronto 7 Vancouver 4.
The Rock opened the third quarter with Challen Rogers driving to the net and scoring on a leap across the crease at 1:28.
Joel McCready thought he got Vancouver on the board, but on review it was shown he had his foot in the crease…no goal.
Dan Dawson increased the lead when he fired a Johnny Powless pass in at 5:04, but Joel McCready stopped the six goal run when he converted a Mitch Jones pass at 5:39.
Rob Hellyer got his fourth of the night when he converted a Brad Kri pass at 10:01, followed by Scott Dominey (1g,0a) grabbing a rebound and scoring one handed past Eric Penney at 14:51.
After three quarters, Toronto 11 Vancouver 5.
Jordan McBride (1g,0a) opened the fourth quarter scoring when he converted a Joel McCready pass at 3:10.
Rob Hellyer scored his fifth and sixth goals of the game back to back, when he converted a Dan Craig pass with an extra attacker on at 3:43, then off a Challen Rogers pass on the powerplay at 4:13.
Mitch Jones scored unassisted at 4:36, but the Rock were able to hold the Warriors after that.
The final goal of the game came when Sheldon Burns converted a Brad Kri pass at 11:36.
Tempers boiled over with just a few minutes left when Dan Dawson squared up with Owen Barker, with Dawson earning the decision.
Final score, Toronto 14 Vancouver 7.
“We didn’t start the game exactly how we wanted to but found our legs in the last 10 minutes of the first half and got some separation. We were pretty good overall,” said Sawyer.
“We’re playing as a unit (on offence), I think that’s the biggest thing. Lefties, righties, we’re moving the ball really well and everyone’s getting chances.
We’re just making the most of them right now,” said Hellyer. “It’s great to get three in a row at home against three really good teams.”
Shots on goal was in was in favor of Toronto 51-42.
A slight edge in loose balls went to the Rock 78-75.
Vancouver edged Toronto in the faceoffs, winning 15 of 26 draws.
The Warriors went 0 for 2 on the powerplay, while Toronto went 2 for 3 on the powerplay.
The Three Stars:
- Rob Hellyer Toronto
- Challen Rogers Toronto
- Dan Dawson Toronto
Joel McCready 3g, 2a
Mitch Jones 2g, 3a
Logan Schuss 1g, 3a
Rob Hellyer 6g, 2a
Challen Rogers 2g, 3a
Dan Dawson 2g, 2a
Vancouver’s next game is February 22nd in the Pechanga Arena in San Diego against the Seals. Game time is 4pm (EST).
Toronto’s next game is February 22nd at the Rogers Arena in Halifax against the Thunderbirds. Game time is 6pm.
(Photo Credits: Gary Groob)
(Quotes Courtesy of the Toronto Rock)
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 10 years ago. Through the podcasts, Mr. Groob had 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).
Mr. Groob 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.