On a night where the Toronto Rock celebrated Colin Doyle’s contributions to the team and honoured him by raising his jersey to the rafters of the ACC, it would have been fitting for the Rock to win the game by scoring a beautiful late clutch goal since that’s something that Doyle was known for. But they didn’t. The Roughnecks probably wouldn’t have played along and nobody on the Rock wanted to take the chance that Calgary would score the clutch goal and win. Losing on Colin Doyle night wasn’t an option, so the Rock just decide to score a bunch of goals and take the clutch-ness out of it entirely.
The ceremony to honour Doyle was well done. It wasn’t a quick “let’s get this over with” thing, but it didn’t drag on for ages either. Jamie Dawick spoke briefly about what Doyle has meant to the Rock, even long before Dawick himself arrived. Then they showed a video of some of Doyle’s best moments, a bunch of shots of him holding the Champion’s Cup, a listing of his accomplishments, and some interviews with current and former teammates and coaches. The man himself stepped up and talked for a few minutes, and was just as classy and well-spoken as you’d expect from Doyle. He thanked a bunch of people including Dawick, former Rock owners Bill and Brad Watters, all of his teammates and coaches (collectively), the Rock trainers and doctors, the fans, and his family. He also singled out a few people who are no longer with us: Terry Sanderson, Chris Hall, and Les Bartley.
If you weren’t at the ACC or watching on the live stream, head over to nlltv.com and check out the video. During his speech, one of Doyle’s daughters (cute-as-a-button 6-year-old London) noticed that she was on the Jumbotron while daddy was talking, and started to ham it up a little, dancing around, bowing and curtseying. She stole everyone’s attention away before Doyle noticed and said “Don’t encourage her!” but how could you not?
Former Maple Leaf captain Wendel Clark was also there, and helped carry the banner out before it was raised. I thought it was a little strange that he didn’t speak at all but I’m sure it was a case of “they didn’t come to see me, they came to see him“. These classy Toronto team captains stick together.
On to the game:
- Latrell Harris, Billy Hostrawser, Sandy Chapman, Challen Rogers. These guys were everywhere and did a great job of getting in the way of the Calgary offense.
- I feel like I should apologize to Billy Hostrawser. I’ve been hard on him in previous years for taking dumb penalties, and even implied that his only reason for being on the floor was to fight. But he’s turned into a damn fine defender.
- Another seven points from Tom Schreiber, who even made a couple of great defensive plays as well. Turns out the MLL MVP is a pretty good lacrosse player.
- Refereeing. I rarely call out refs because they have a very difficult and thankless job. But the whistles were out in full force in this one. If you looked at someone the wrong way, you were in the box. There was a slashing call on McArdle in the first which was not a slash. Hostrawser was called for an illegal body check that looked totally legal to me. Scott Carnegie was given a major for an illegal body check that may have been a minor but I don’t think it was a major. Carnegie also got called for tripping which was a total accident. Gamble, checking from behind. Bell, slashing. Reinholdt, slashing. It just didn’t stop. Then in the middle of the fourth, a Calgary player gave a Rock player a blatant cross check across the back just after he’d passed the ball. No call. The mind, she is boggled.
- Latrell Harris got another breakaway but couldn’t bury it. I think he’s 1 for at least 5 on such breakaways this year. But his defense is good enough that it’s not a big deal.
- The Rock only allowed a single goal in the first half. Then they allowed NINE in the second half. Luckily the Rock offense didn’t take any time off so it wasn’t a big problem but allowing nine goals in a half is a bit concerning.
Only one other game note:
The Rock’s seventh goal was challenged because it appeared that the goal went in after the shot clock expired. The review was inconclusive. It seemed to me at the time that the order of events was:
- Rock player shoots, hits defender
- McArdle picks up ball, shoots
- Shot clock whistle sounds
- Ball enters net
- Ref signals good goal
I can’t say for sure that that’s what happened, but that’s how it looked to me. I looked over the replay on nlltv.com but the shot clock was not shown on the screen and I couldn’t hear the shot clock whistle at all, so that doesn’t clear anything up. The ref who reviewed the goal checked all of the replay views and none of them showed the shot clock either so he had no way to confirm Calgary’s suspicions. It should be technically possible to embed the shot clock and game clock time in the video itself so that either all shots from all angles have the clock displayed on the screen, or there’s some other way to determine the time from the video. This is not a small project though.
As my wife said following the game, it wasn’t as much of a blowout as it could have been, but it wasn’t really a close game either. We all know that Calgary has the offensive ability to make up 4 or 5 goals in no time flat, and in the second half they proved they could score a bunch to make it close, but on this night the Rock offense was just a little bit better.