Rock stones Wings, 13-2, to advance to final

April 17, 1999|By Stephen Knight | Stephen Knight,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

TORONTO -- The road to the National Lacrosse League title will pass through Toronto.

The Toronto Rock dominated the defending champion Philadelphia Wings, 13-2, last night before 12,026 at Maple Leaf Gardens to earn a berth in the championship game.

The Thunder plays host to the Rochester Knighthawks tonight at the Baltimore Arena in the other NLL semifinal for the right to meet the Rock on Friday in the championship game in Toronto.

The Thunder and the Rock split their season series 1-1. On Jan. 9, Baltimore thrashed the Rock, 21-10, as Gary Gait bagged 10 goals and four assists. In the rematch April 2, the Rock edged the Thunder, 16-15.

The Rock blasted out of the gate last night to a 3-0 lead before the game was eight minutes old and took a 6-1 lead into halftime.

The Rock led 9-1 after three quarters, but it was Toronto's suffocating defense and the brilliant acrobatic play of goalie Bob Watson that ended any doubt. The Rock set an NLL record for fewest goals allowed in a game.

"It was a lacrosse clinic out there," said Rock coach Les Bartley. "But we'll have a different game plan if we play Baltimore. They've got a tough power play. You have to stay out of the box against them."

Rock forwards Dan Stroup and Kim Squire each had hat tricks, while Watson stopped 36 of 38 Wings shots.

Philadelphia goalie Dallas Eliuk stopped 44 of 57 shots in the loss.

Pub Date: 4/17/99

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