Rock closer to home playoff game with win over Rochester

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The Toronto Rock took a step closer to a home playoff game on Saturday. And there may be even more than that in the cards.

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A shot by Challen Rogers that trickled through the legs of goaltender Joel Watson with three minutes remaining proved to be the winner in an 11-9 victory over the Rochester Knighthawks in western New York on Saturday.

The win gave the Rock (11-5) a chance to clinch second-place in the NLL East Division when it faces the third-place Halifax Thunderbirds (9-6) next Saturday at FirstOntario Centre. With the Buffalo Bandits (13-3) losing 15-12 to the New York Riptide on Saturday, there’s a chance home-floor advantage throughout the playoffs could be on the line when Toronto and Buffalo meet on April 30 at KeyBank Center.

It was Rogers’ second goal of the game. His first of him came in the opening quarter off a feed from Tom Schreiber. Getting the other assist on that goal was Dan Dawson, who returned from the lineup after an illness. It was Dawson’s 935th career assist putting him past Bandits’ legend John Tavares for first place in that category.

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It was a struggle for both offensive sets at Blue Cross Arena so it was up to the defenders to convert on transition opportunities. Latrell Harris scored twice for Toronto including the tying goal late in the game on a breakaway pass from Rock goaltender Nick Rose. Schreiber scored twice, one on a transition breakaway and Dan Craig also got two including the empty netter to seal the win. Mitch from Snoo and Sheldon Burns also scored in transition. Dawson added a goal as well.

Ryan Smith netted a hat trick for Rochester (3-12) including the first two goals of the contest. Ryland Rees had two transition markers. Curtis Knight, Holden Cattoni, Dan Coates, and Jeff Wittig also scored for the Knighthawks.

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