The Albany FireWolves (0-1) was defeated by the Toronto Rock (1-0), 10-9, at the FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton, ON. on Saturday night. The game was back and forth before Toronto was able to find the net twice late in the fourth quarter to take the lead and hold on for the victory. Full statistics for the game can be found here: https://www.nll.com/game/1464/.
Albany began with the ball after Joe Nardella won the opening faceoff. After trading shots, Jacob Ruest saved what would have been a breakaway opportunity, but committed a penalty. After a Curtis Conley penalty, the Rock were able to capitalize on the advantage as Rob Hellyer nets one to give the Rock and early 1-0 lead. The FireWolves were able to kill off the second penalty and score a goal by Tony Malcom to tie the game at 1. Greg Downing was credited for the assist on the FireWolves goal.
After another penalty by Albany, this time by Adrian Sorichetti, the Rock were able to regain the lead with another powerplay goal, this time by Tom Schreiber. Following a timeout, Watkinson nearly scored on a breakaway, but his shot was saved by Nick Rose. Watkinson was checked from behind on the play, giving the FireWolves their first powerplay opportunity of the night. Albany was able to capitalize on the man-up advantage with a goal by Andrew Kew, assisted by Joe Resetarits.
With just over four minutes remaining in the opening quarter, John LaFontaine was able to convert on a breakaway goal to give the FireWolves their first lead of the night, assisted by Jackson Nishimura. Following another illegal substitution on Albany, Toronto had their fourth power play opportunity of the quarter. The Rock were able to tie the game at three on another Schreiber goal. With seconds remaining in the quarter, Kew found rookie, Charlie Kitchen, who netted the first goal of his professional career to give the FireWolves a 4-3 lead.
After trading missed shots to start the second quarter, the FireWolves were penalized yet again, giving the Rock another power play opportunity. With the man-up advantage, Reid Reinholdt was able to break free down the floor and score on an open opportunity to tie the game at four. After minutes of a scoring drought by both teams, the Rock challenged what was called a crease violation, but failed to win it, costing them their first timeout of the half with just over seven minutes to go. The scoring drought continued all the way until Kew netted his second goal of the night with just under three minutes to go in the first half. Wasting no time, Schreiber found the back of the net for his third goal of the half, tying the game again at five. With seconds left in the half, Dan Craig beats FireWolves goaltender, Doug Jamieson, to give Toronto a 6-5 leading heading into halftime.
Nardella won the first faceoff of the second half as he continued to dominate the stripe. The Rock quickly added to their lead as Reinholdt netted his second goal of the night to put Toronto up 7-5 early in the quarter. The Rock thought they scored their fourth unanswered goal, but a successful FireWolves challenge of a crease violation overturned the call. After Toronto was able to fend off a FireWolves power play, Jordan Durston was able to find Reilly O’Connor on a backdoor cut to the net for the Albany goal -to cut the deficit to one. The score would go unchanged as Toronto took a 7-6 lead into the fourth quarter.
Albany was called for a penalty early in the fourth quarter, giving the Rock yet another power play chance. Toronto took just 12 seconds to capitalize as Schreiber found a hole and scored his fourth goal of the game. Minutes later, Malcom took a big hit in front of the Rock net, drawing a five-minute penalty, disqualifying Mitch de Snoo from the rest of the contest. With a man up, Jacob Ruest found the back of the net to bring the FireWolves within a goal with just over two and a half minutes remaining in the power play. Still with the man advantage, Kew scored his third goal of the night, tying the game at eight. Kew wasted no time hitting the back of the net again for his fourth goal of the game to give the FireWolves their first lead since the second quarter.
Shortly after the two goals by Kew, Dan Dawson got in close and beat Jamieson to tie the game once again, this time at nine. Dawson quickly scored again minutes later, giving the Rock a 10-9 lead with two minutes to go in the game. Albany was unable to score after leaving the net open and giving the FireWolves a man-up advantage with under a minute to go. Fighting for a loose ball, Jamieson left the net to gain possession for Albany who called a timeout with just 19 seconds to go in the game. Albany was unable to score, and Toronto held on for a 10-9 victory.
The FireWolves will be back in action on Saturday, December 18 for a home matchup versus the Rochester Knighthawks.