Rock gets last word on Thunder, wins, 16-15

Late Toronto goal wastes Gait's efforts

April 03, 1999|By Dan Hickling | Dan Hickling,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

TORONTO -- Take the two best teams in the National Lacrosse League, put home-field advantage through the postseason on the line, mix in a nearly full house at storied Maple Leaf Gardens, and you'd have every right to expect a feverish matchup played at playoff-intense boil.

Which is what the 13,230 paying customers, plus a Canada-wide television audience got in last night's Thunder-Toronto Rock hookup.

Toronto's Colin Doyle thrilled them all with his game-winner with just 7 seconds remaining, giving the Rock a 16-15 victory.

Doyle picked up a loose ball near the right side of the Baltimore goal, while being flattened by Thunder defender Eric Gervais. Doyle, who had lost his helmet, pivoted on his rear and flipped in a shot past goalie Chris Sanderson.

Doyle's heroics might not have been needed if Baltimore's Gary Gait (four goals) hadn't scored twice in the game's final 2: 04 to knot the game at 15 each.

The goal also spoiled a great comeback by the Thunder, which overcame an early three-goal deficit to take an 8-6 lead into the half.

"I don't know why there were all the momentum shifts," said Thunder coach John Tucker. "We'd all be geniuses."

Trailing 5-3 after a period, the Thunder outscored the Rock, 5-1, in the second. Paul Cantabene knotted the score at 6 with 4: 23 left in the half, when he cashed in a pretty cross-floor feed from Dan Martin. Just 20 seconds later, Rob Shek gave the Thunder its first lead of the game after blowing past the Toronto defense.

Pub Date: 4/03/99

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