TORONTO - Stephan Leblanc’s goal with 6:02 remaining capped a torrid Toronto rally as the Rock scored the last five goals and defeated the Minnesota Swarm 13-12 Friday night in the National Lacrosse League.
Leblanc was near the crease to the left of goaltender Tyler Carlson when Garrett Billings fed him a quick pass. The ball was in and out of Leblanc’s stick in less than a second as he tossed it into the open side of the net for his third goal of the game.
Kasey Beirnes appeared to have added insurance when he took a shot that hit the crossbar, struck Carlson’s back and bounced near the goal line with 2:33 left, but a video review determined it was no goal. The Swarm had late chances but Rock goalie Nick Rose, who had his troubles earlier, was at his best when it mattered most.
Josh Sanderson scored four goals, Billings scored two and assisted on six, Beirnes got two and Jesse Gamble, Colin Doyle and Bill Greer chipped in with one each.
Toronto outshot Minnesota 58-36.
Rookie Kiel Matisz scored his first three NLL goals for the Swarm. Ryan Benesch and Callum Crawford got two each and Brock Sorensen, Alex Crepinsek, Andrew Watt, Jordan MacIntosh and Joel Henry added one each.
Toronto led 4-2 after one quarter but Minnesota was up 7-6 at halftime despite trailing 28-19 on the shots counter.
When the Swarm went up 11-7 in the third quarter, Rock coach Troy Cordingley lifted starting goalie Nick Rose and sent in backup Zak Boychuk. Goals by Leblanc and Sanderson late in the third left Minnesota up 12-10 after three, and Rose was sent back in.
Henry and Jeff Gilbert had been penalized with 4.6 seconds left in the third, so the Rock had a 5-on-3 advantage to start the fourth quarter, and Sanderson and Billings scored power-play goals to tie it 12-12.
NOTES: Snow that reduced traffic to a crawl kept some Rock fans from outside the city at home. Announced attendance at Air Canada Centre was 10,504 . . . Minnesota had 13 Ontario-born players in uniform and got goals from F Matisz (Stony Creek), F Crawford (Ottawa), F Benesch (Kitchener), D Crepinsek (Oakville) and D Sorensen (Peterborough). . . This was the first meeting of these teams in four years . . . Toronto deleted F Scott Evans, D Damon Edwards and F Brandon Ivey . . . Minnesota captain Andrew Suitor served the second game of a two-game suspension. T Pat Smith and F Matt Gibson were scratched.
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