Thursday, March 31, 2011

CD Review: Paul Cusick "Focal Point"

The moral of this story: Sometimes you do get a second chance to make a first impression.

While perusing ye olde Facebook back in April of 2010, I was shown an ad for an album by a guy named Paul Cusick. I have Dream Theater listed among bands that I like, and the ad said something like "Do you like Dream Theater? Check out Paul Cusick!" So for the first time in recorded history, I clicked on a advertising link on Facebook. It took me to his web site, and it turned out that Paul Cusick is an English multi-instrumentalist who had recorded a progressive rock album in 2009 called Focal Point. I'm a fan of progressive rock and I'm always impressed by multi-instrumentalists, so I figured what the heck. The album was available in digital-only format for about ₤5, which is less than $10 so I gave it a shot. Since the ad mentioned Dream Theater, I was expecting some pretty heavy stuff – but by the end of the album, I have to admit being a little disappointed. It was pretty good, but much of it wasn't nearly as heavy as I was expecting. As a result, I might have listened to the album maybe once more over the next six months or so – every time I saw it in the iPod listing, I remembered "Oh right, that wasn't very good, was it?" Then recently I gave it another listen but this time I kind of forgot about the Dream Theater link (which ironically brought this guy to my attention in the first place), and found that I enjoyed the album a lot more.

No, this album doesn't sound much like Dream Theater, other than the frequent time signature changes. But as I said, once I stopped the comparisons, I realized that this is quite a good album. Cusick is a talented musician with a quiet voice – no screaming here. He plays all the instruments except drums, and proves himself to be a good guitarist and bassist but particularly a keyboardist. There are a lot more keyboards than guitar on this album. The Dream Theater comparison didn't work, but some tracks (Fade Away, Touch, Senza Tempo) remind me of Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour's On An Island album. This is a good thing, as I love that album.

Mini-reviews of each song:

Focal Point – Cool keyboard-based prog-rock instrumental track.

Everblue – This song has a very full sound – it's hard to believe it's just one person performing this (other than drums). Yes I know how multi-track stuff works, but still.

Fade Away - This ballad reminds me a lot of the Gilmour album.

Soul Words – Funky song with some nice bass and guitar work.

Scared To Dream – Starts off slowly with just piano and vocals and then the guitar and drums come in, but I like how he keeps the piano riff in the background. Very cool.

Touch – Similar to Scared To Dream – starts off slowly, then gets faster. Great drums on this track.

Senza Tempo – Paul found the guitar! There has been lots of rhythm guitar up to this point, but not much lead. This one is a very melodic solo guitar piece.

Big Cars – Fast hard-rocking guitar track. No keyboards anywhere to be found. This one reminds me of Porcupine Tree.

Hold On – Sounds like it was written to be a single. Not bad but not my favourite.

Hello – Piano and vocals only. Slow and kind of haunting.

Cusick's second solo album, called P'Dice, is being recorded now and you can pre-order it here. The first 500 people to pre-order will have their names listed in the CD sleeve, and also get a "personalised limited edition postcard". If you look, you'll see my name there (along with "The Edge"! Is it The The Edge? I dunno), though there's no release date or even an estimate. But I'm looking forward to hearing it.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Game report: Calgary 14 Toronto 9

The battle of the first place teams is over, and the better team won. On this night, anyway, Calgary was indeed the better team in a 14-9 victory over the Toronto Rock. The Roughnecks dominated the entire game and while Bob Watson is having a career year in his final season, he was outplayed by his former backup Mike Poulin.

The Rock and Roughnecks traded goals early before Kasey Beirnes scored six minutes in to give the Rock a 2-1 lead. Dane Dobbie erased that only twelve seconds later with his first of four, and the Roughnecks never trailed again. Calgary had a much more balanced attack than the Rock – thirteen different Roughnecks got points to the Rock's seven. Dobbie and Jeff Shattler led the scoring with seven points each, while Curtis Dickson got a hat trick and Scott Ranger had four helpers. On the Rock side, Colin Doyle was the only multiple-goal scorer with 3, with LeBlanc, Billings, Manning, Maddalena, Beirnes, and Marshall all getting one each.

I thought Toronto's transition was a big part of their downfall – far too many times a defender would grab the ball and race up the floor looking for a breakaway or 2-on-1, which almost never happened. They'd take a shot from a bad angle or through traffic, Poulin would make an easy save if the ball even got to him, and the Roughnecks offense would come back up the floor again. Rob Marshall scored one, but no other defense or transition players even had assists, a sure sign that your transition is not working.

Pro: The game was on TSN2 in high definition, which was really nice for those of us not in Calgary. Dave Randorf is great on the play-by-play and Brian Shanahan, while he needs a new haircut, really knows his stuff. My wife declared that their ties didn't match either, though I have to say I did not notice that. I have to say, though, that the Calgary announcer needs to STFU during play. Trying to get the crowd going and announcing goals and penalties is fine, but keep the Supercuts ads for breaks in play. They also need to turn his mic down – he was drowning out the TV commentators.

Con: the game was tape-delayed at least 30 minutes so that TSN2 could continue their March Madness coverage. Now if they were covering a game that went long, and tape-delayed the lacrosse game to finish it, I could understand that. They should have put a banner across the bottom of the screen saying this. But that's not what happened here. The game they were covering was over, and they showed half an hour of James Cybulski and Jack Armstrong talking about that game and some other upcoming ones, and then showed the first ten minutes or so of the Ohio State / someone else (Kentucky? Florida? Don't remember, and don't care enough to go look it up) game. No banner indicating the change in scheduling was shown. Then at the end of the coverage, they finally said that the Rock / Roughnecks game was coming up, but Cybulski added insult to injury by stating that their March Madness coverage would continue over on TSN, so you want to change the channel.... now. Right, because nobody really wants to watch lacrosse, do they? Remember that Rock owner Jamie Dawick pays to have the Rock games on TSN2, so I can't imagine he's too happy with how things played out last night.

Now if they had had Kate Beirness (who apparently went to the non-existent "University of Ontario"*) doing the basketball coverage, I would have been able to forgive TSN a lot easier. I'd watch half an hour of her reading the phone book. I might even PVR it so that I could revisit the subtle intricacies of her performance. <shakes head> Sorry, where was I?

I'm afraid I'm turning into one of those people who complain about the refs after every game. I've tried to be good and give them the benefit of the doubt, and I know it's a hard job and I couldn't do it and all that, but still. As I've mentioned before, Grant Spies takes every penalty he calls as a personal affront to him or to the game or something, and there were a number of phantom or "You called that? Really?" penalties on both sides. The weirdest call was a no-goal on Kasey Beirnes in the 3rd. Replays clearly showed that his goal was good, but it was waved off. Troy Cordingley immediately threw the challenge flag only to be told that the call was not reviewable. I have no idea why not, but the call stood. Another weird one had happened in the second when the shot clock whistle sounded just before a Roughnecks goal, but I have to give the refs credit on that one – it appeared to be the wrong call, but it was actually correct. The shot was taken just before time ran out and Watson made the save, resetting the clock. Dobbie then grabbed the rebound and buried it. It happened fast enough that it looked like the goal shouldn't have counted, but it should have and did.

The game was a little chippy but not really rough until the end. Blaine Manning was getting pretty ticked by the end of the game, and according to Claude Feig, Manning wanted to go out and fight Andrew McBride but Cordingley wouldn't let him. The coach didn't have the same restraints on Patrick Merrill or Kyle Ross, however, and both got into completely pointless fights with under a minute in the game. Merrill took on Mike Kilby and I'd have to call that one a draw, and then Ross took on heavyweight Geoff Snider. Ross went right after Snider and even took him down almost right away. But Snider did a smooth tuck-and-roll and got back up, landed three punches, and it was over. Snider was the clear winner there.

Both teams are done for the weekend and play at home next week. The Rock host the Washington Stealth, while the Roughnecks play the Minnesota Swarm.

* - I stand corrected; there is a University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Oshawa. My bad.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Graph: Itchy Nose


SI: The NLL isn't "major"

From Sports Illustrated's Go Figure column, March 7, 2011 (emphasis mine):

Percentage of MLS teams that will make the playoffs in 2011, more than any other major American pro sports league, after the 18-team outfit upped the number by two to 10.

The NLL's percentage: 80.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Steve Toll – Hall of Famer?

Steve Toll recently announced that he will retire after the 2012 NLL season, which will be his fifteenth in the league. It's probably for the best, since his memory is obviously going. In the story on, Toll recalls his first game, while playing with the Ontario Raiders in 1998: "It was in the old Philadelphia Spectrum. We beat Philadelphia and I got an assist." The story then says "That was the beginning of the streak."  But if you check the career stats page, also on, you find that Toll played one game in 1998, collecting zero points, then played one game in 1999, collecting an assist. His streak couldn't have begun in 1998, since he only played one game in 1999. Also, according to the Spectrum's page on Wikipedia, the Wings stopped playing there in 1996, two years before Toll started in the league. OK, so either someone screwed up their research or Toll can't remember details from 13 years ago. No big deal.

Anyway, when I heard that Toll was going to retire, I wondered if he would be considered for the NLL Hall of Fame. My first thought was "Definitely yes!", but then I wondered if I was just being a homer because I'm a Rock fan and he was a big part of the Rock's success from 1999-2004. So I reconsidered and decided no, Toll was a great player but not a Hall of Famer. But I have reconsidered my reconsideration, and now I've decided once and for all – when Toll retires, he deserves to join his former teammates Dan Stroup, Jim Veltman, and Gary Gait (though he didn't win a Championship with Gait) as well as former coach Les Bartley and GM Johnny Mouradian in the NLL Hall of Fame.

If you want numbers, I got numbers. Toll has played in 201 NLL games, all but the first consecutively. He's won 5 Championships – four with the Rock during their years of dominance in the early 2000's, and one more with the Knighthawks during their dream 2007 season. The Hawks finished the season winning 12 in a row plus 3 more in the playoffs, and became the first team to ever win a Championship in a home game over two thousand miles away from their arena (don't ask). Toll led the Knighthawks in loose balls every year he played there (except 2005 when he only played 5 games with them after being traded from San Jose), and the only reason he didn't lead the Rock in that category was a guy by the name of Jim Veltman. He was also was the first-ever winner of the NLL Transition Player of the Year award in 2007.

Toll had three consecutive seasons with over 50 points for the Rock, collecting 65 in 2002. He scored 15 or more goals four times, and 25 or more twice. In Rochester, the numbers tailed off but Toll was primarily a defender, so looking at the point stats can be misleading. His speed made him very effective on transition, and Rock fans got used to at least one Speedin' Stevie Toll breakaway goal, and sometimes several, each and every game. I just checked his Wikipedia page, and found that Steve Toll is six feet tall, which I never would have guessed. He never seemed that big to me. He was never the Dan Ladouceur type of defender who would just stand in front of you and make you try to get around him because otherwise you couldn't see the net. Toll would chase you into the corner and pound on you with his stick until you either made a desperation pass or dropped the ball, in which case he'd have picked it up and be halfway to your net before you even knew it was gone. He was also very effective at intercepting passes, a skill he learned from Jim Veltman.

They say that the mark of a true Hall-of-Famer in any sport is that you cannot describe the league during the time that that player played without mentioning him. You cannot describe the Rock and their success in the early 2000's without talking about Steve Toll. The Knighthawks didn't have the same kind of success in his six seasons there, but along with John Grant and Toll's good friend Shawn Williams, Toll was a team leader there as well. Obviously Colorado isn't having much in the way of success this year, but Toll is the oldest player on a young team – Toll is at least six years older than every D/T player on the Mammoth except John Gallant, and Ben Davies was only ten when Toll played his first NLL game. He's no longer the fastest guy in the league – he's probably not even the fastest guy on his team – but having a veteran like Toll around has got to have a positive impact on these young players.

It's almost a season and a half early, but congratulations on a stellar career Steve, and I look forward to your Hall of Fame induction.

Monday, March 14, 2011

In which Graeme gets seriously pissed off

Warning: there are some expletives in this posting. Once you read it, I hope you will understand why.

On March 14, Wil Wheaton posted the following on Twitter:

To the "Japan had it coming because OMG Pearl Harbor" crowd that's crawled out of the sewer: Go fuck yourselves, you ignorant pieces of shit

There are a bunch of people on Facebook and Twitter posting the kind of crap that Wil is referring to: that the earthquake and tsunami that devastated parts of Japan was somehow payback for the Pearl Harbor attacks in 1941. People are even saying things like If you wanna feel better about the earthquake in Japan, google "Pearl Harbor death toll". When I first read this I was utterly speechless. Once I was able to comprehend that this wasn't someone's idea of a sick joke, I basically thought what Wil said above.

It saddens me to no end that there are this many people that think this way. The odd nutjob here and there I could see, but it turns out that there are lots of these scumbags – just click the "Facebook" link above to see a bunch of them. Luckily, since those all came from facebook, there are names associated with them. No more hiding behind the anonymity of the internet – now everyone knows who you assholes are.

First off, what happened at Pearl Harbor in 1941 was a terrible thing, no question. But that was seventy years ago, and Japan is now an ally of both Canada and the US. I did google "Pearl Harbor death toll", and found that 2,402 people were killed during that attack. Thus far, there are 1,886 confirmed dead due to the earthquake, and thousands more are missing. But if you're still looking for payback, perhaps you have forgotten that you already did get payback: you fucking nuked them - twice. The atomic bomb that the US dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 killed between 90,000 and 140,000 people and destroyed over half the city. Then three days later, 73,000 were killed when the US dropped another one on Nagasaki. That's between 160,000 and 210,000 people dead. For each American killed at Pearl Harbor, most of whom were military, Americans killed between sixty-six and eighty-seven Japanese people, most of whom were civilians. That's not including the hundreds of thousands of people injured or homeless, or the people that suffered for years or even decades with radiation sickness, or the children of the radiation victims, many of whom themselves suffered and died. The only nuclear weapons ever used during actual conflict were used by the USA on the people of Japan. And that's not "payback" enough?

I wonder if there were people in Japan (or anywhere else in the world) who saw Hurricane Katrina or 9/11 and thought about payback for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Those people, or anyone else who thinks that innocent people who suffer and die deserved it because of the actions of a different generation, would be scumbags as well, but quite honestly, in terms of raw numbers, the Japanese have a lot more to complain about than the Americans.

I also wonder if the people posting this anti-Japanese vitriol realize the irony of doing it using computers and phones that are chock-full of Japanese-designed electronics.

If you disagree with this and do think that the earthquake was somehow caused by karma or that Japan deserved it, you are entitled to that opinion. But please remove yourself from my friends list on Facebook. You are no friend of mine. But even so, I'm going to make a donation to the Japanese Red Cross Society right now, in your honour.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

New NLL Rules

The NLL has instigated a new rule to make sure that fans sitting behind the players benches can always see the game. This came from a group of fans in Philadelphia who couldn't see because the Calgary coaches were standing on the benches. The fans complained to the Wings, the Wings complained to the league, and bam! A new rule was instigated saying that if anyone (player or otherwise) is standing on the bench at any time during play, or if coaches or non-playing personnel are "deemed to be deliberately obstructing fans", the team will get a bench minor.

After listening to complaints from other fans, here are some other rules the NLL is considering:

  • Teddy Jenner reported on Twitter that because of complaining in Colorado, the Mammoth will be spotted a ten-goal lead for all home games. With this rule in place, the Mammoth may be able to win a home game sometime in the next season or two.
  • There will be a $50 cover charge per person at Roughnecks home games. Ladies are free after halftime! Two drink minimum.
  • Thanks to complaints from around the league, the Minnesota Swarm are banned from wearing those awful striped jerseys.
  • No fan under the age of 18 is allowed within ten rows of the Bandits bench. They were going to make a rule preventing Darris Kilgour from swearing, but nobody wanted to tell him.
  • In order to boost attendance in Washington, the Stealth will automatically win all of their home games. If they are successful on the floor, the fans will show up in droves, right?
  • Due to complaints from Rock fans, either Stephan LeBlanc or Bob Watson will be named Player of the Week every week. Even weeks where the Rock don't play. Sure, Casey Powell scored eight goals but if Stephan had played, he would have scored nine.
  • Hey, as long as the fans are deciding the rules, every game will have at least one penalty shot, a fight, and a penalty that the goalie has to serve himself. Or maybe get them all done at once – a penalty shot that results in a goalie fight. And games that end in a tie go to a shootout. If the teams are still tied after five shots, there will be a trick shot competition, where players like Mark Steenhuis throw their sticks in the air or flip them behind their back before scoring. Coolest shot wins, even if it doesn't go in.
  • How about a lap dance competi- um, never mind.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bye Bye Bell

During a recent conversation at work, a colleague (John) mentioned that his phone bills are usually under $10/month. I thought about our $60+ phone bills (not including mobile) and asked how on earth that was possible. He said that he uses VOIP and not only does he pay almost nothing, but he gets more features than Bell supplies. Again I asked how, and he pointed me at After a little research, I decided to try it out. It's working now, but getting everything working was far from simple.

VOIP, for those of you who don't know, is short for Voice Over IP, which basically means your telephone service is provided over your internet connection. As long as you have broadband always-on internet service, you can use it to provide telephone service as well. In my case, I pay $1.99 per phone number and then 0.5¢ per minute per call (both incoming and outgoing). Note that there are no long distance charges, so a call to friends around the corner costs the same as calling the other side of the country – but a one-hour call costs all of 30¢.

To make this work, I first needed to sign up for a account. This was free and very easy. Then you need something to convert your phone signals into internet traffic; in my case I bought an analog telephone adapter (ATA) from Linksys. My research for this purchase was not exactly extensive – it consisted entirely of asking John which one he bought, and then buying the same one. I plugged the device into my router and then plugged a phone into the adapter. Guess what? No dial tone. This made sense, since I hadn't told the adapter how to get to the server, nor did it have a phone number for me to use, which means that I have some configuring to do.

(Attention technophobes – you might want to skip this paragraph.) The adapter supports both a web interface and a phone interface. The phone interface is minimal and cumbersome - I had to pick up the phone and dial * four times and that gave me a voice menu. The menu options (not many of them) are listed in the manual and everything seemed very cryptic. Luckily there is also a web-based interface, which would make life a lot easier, but getting that enabled was a bit of work as well. The adapter had already been assigned an IP address by DHCP, but to get the VOIP stuff working, I had to open ports in the firewall which requires a static IP address. I entered a key sequence to disable DHCP and another to assign a static IP address, and then another to enable the web interface. Then I hung up and went to the IP address in a browser. Success! Now I could modify all the settings. Except that there were a zillion different settings, each with meaningless (to me) acronyms, and I didn't know what the settings were supposed to be.

The web interface was orders of magnitude easier than the phone interface, but even so, you'd be lost without a good knowledge of telephony terminology. Unfortunately, I don't have such knowledge. I eventually found a description of how to configure my particular device on the page. Once that was done, things should have worked, in theory. To test it out, I ordered a new phone number (what they call a "DID") from, which cost me $1.99 / month. It gave me a Waterdown number (area code 289) instantly, and I was able to make outgoing calls. Incoming calls required a little more configuration but with more help from John, I soon had that working. I then started the process of moving my existing phone number over from Bell, and a week and $25 later, that was done. I cancelled the temporary number, physically disconnected the Bell line, and away we went.

Cool options available with

  • You can set the name and number for call display. For example, when I call someone, I can set it so that their phone displays 867-5309 and "Jenny".
  • I get emailed every time someone leaves a voicemail. A .wav file is attached containing the message. When I dial the number to get my voicemail from home, I don't need to enter a PIN.
  • I can set up a dialing rule so that I don't need to dial '905' for local calls.
  • If there is no answer (after a time period that I choose), I can:
    • go to voicemail
    • forward the call to another number (for example, my cell phone)
    • play a recording
    • give a busy signal
    • hang up
    • give a "this number is not in service" message
    • give a "this number has been disconnected" message
    • do nothing
  • If the line is busy, I can choose any of the above options as well, and it doesn't have to be the same as if there's no answer.
  • I can set up any number of phone numbers that all ring on my phone. These numbers can be anywhere in North America, and it would be a local call for people there. For example, I can set up a phone number in Huntsville (for $1.99/month) that my parents and Gail's dad could call locally, and it would ring here. Nobody would pay long distance for that call.
  • I can have the ring sound different depending on who's calling or what number they dialled. In theory. John tried this, however, and couldn't get it to work.
  • I can add numbers into my local address book for speed dial on any phone. If they call me, I can set the name that's displayed. This is handy, for example, because our cell phones always show up as "Unknown name" and the boys don't answer the phone unless they recognize the name. (They haven't memorized our cell numbers yet.) So I added our numbers to the address book and now my cell comes up as "Graeme cell".
  • I can set up multiple mailboxes and a "digital receptionist". For example, I can say "Press 1 to leave a message for Graeme, 2 for Gail, 3 for Ryan, and 4 for Nicky".
  • I can put calls into a calling queue, complete with hold music. "Your call is important to us, and is being held in priority sequence. Please hold for the first available Perrow family member."
  • I can set up a "ring group" so that when a call comes in, both my home phone and my cell phone ring, and the first one to answer get it.
  • I can make rules for specific numbers, so that telemarketers get the "This number has been disconnected" message, or some go straight to voicemail without ringing the phone.
  • I can do almost anything above differently based on time of day. For example, I could say that between 11pm and 7am, only ring twice before going to voicemail, otherwise ring 5 times.
  • I can get a complete list of every incoming and outgoing call, and how long it was. There are a number of graphs available, showing things like call lengths and total cost.
  • 911 works, although it does not automatically forward our street address to the 911 operator. It also costs $1.99 / month extra.
  • Other than 911, all of the above options are free included in the price.


  • The 911 thing I mentioned. It works, but we have to tell the operator our address. Not a big deal.
  • No call waiting, but I don't care. We didn't have it for many years and only added it recently. I don't remember why we even added it - we usually just let the second call go to voicemail.
  • If we're doing a lot of internet stuff, like the boys are watching YouTube videos or I'm watching a lacrosse game, call quality could drop. John said he's noticed this a few times but not often.

As I said, it was non-trivial to get everything set up, and the ATA device cost about $60, and moving the phone number cost $25. But if I end up with $10 monthly phone bills rather than $60+, those extra costs get covered pretty quickly. We've only been live for four days, but I have not noticed any drop in voice quality. And if nothing else, damn it's cool.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Real men wear pink

Game Review: Toronto 15 Philadelphia 10

I'm pretty sure Calgary used that "Real men wear pink" line a few years ago when they had their pink jerseys, but it's worth repeating. The Toronto Rock had their Black Out for Breast Cancer night at the ACC tonight, and wore their awesome black jerseys and bright pink helmets. A couple of the players even had pink string in the lacrosse sticks. This is an annual event that the Rock have done for a number of years, where fans can bid on the jersey of their favourite player, and the highest bidder gets to go onto the field after the game and get the actual jersey worn by that player. All the money raised (over $12,000) goes towards breast cancer research at Sunnybrook Hospital, and as the son, son-in-law, and grandson-in-law of three breast cancer survivors, I cannot think of a more worthy cause.

Anyway, the first-place Rock hosted the last-place (in the East) Philadelphia Wings tonight and beat them 15-10, but don't let the final score fool you – the game was closer than that score might indicate. The Wings didn't look to me like a last place team on this night, though it seemed to be a bit of a backwards night for them. It seems unusual for a team that's 4-5 to have a goalie starting the All-Star game, but that's exactly what Brandon Miller did. He's been a bright spot for Philly in an otherwise unremarkable season, but he looked downright ordinary tonight. He wasn't terrible but he did allow all 15 goals on only 46 shots. Bob Watson had another good performance in goal for the Rock, saving 40 of 50 Philadelphia shots. Both goalies made their share of great saves but each let in a few softies as well. Considering these were the two goalies in the East chosen for the All-Star game, you might have expected a better goaltending display tonight, but alas, it was not to be.

That said, defense was the name of the game early on, as the teams took turns stifling the other's scorers. Pat Maddalena scored his first of the season six minutes in and Blaine Manning followed with another less than thirty seconds later. Shortly after that, Paul Dawson managed to get a breakaway but ran too far and didn't shoot until he was actually in the crease. Watson made the stop, but Dawson kept going and fell into Watson, making completely avoidable contact with the goalie. That's a no-no, and the ref sent Dawson to his room without supper and told him to think about what you've done, mister. Garrett Billings scored on the PP to put the Rock up 3-0, but Alex Turner scored his first of two on a one-timer after a beautiful feed from a falling Drew Westervelt, and the first quarter ended with only four goals. Philly opened the second by scoring just 33 seconds in, before the Rock scored another three unanswered goals. Philly did not give up and scored three of their own sandwiched around another Billings goal to put the halftime score at 7-5. Philly's last goal of the second was a very nice play by tough guy Paul Dawson.

Just like they did in the second, Philly opened the scoring early in the third, with Athan Iannucci scoring his second of the night just 26 seconds in. Both teams traded goals until Matt Alrich silenced the Toronto crowd with a bullet over Bob Watson's left shoulder to tie the game at 9. The game was tied for almost five minutes before 18-year-old rookie Rob Hellyer, playing in his first NLL game, scored his first goal - and what a goal it was. Hellyer broke towards the net from the left side, had the ball knocked out of his stick by Bill McGlone (who would have been given a holding call on the play if Hellyer hadn't scored – the ref's arm was already up), but recovered the ball and threw it back over his shoulder and past Miller. Not only was it an amazing effort and goal, but it turned out to be the winning goal, as it put the Rock up 10-9, a lead which they would not relinquish.

In the fourth, it was the Rock who opened the scoring early, as Sandy Chapman scored 11 seconds in. The Wings seemed to run out of gas in the fourth, only scoring one goal while the Rock added another four. Toronto extended its home winning streak to 6 games this year, and nine going back to last year. The last time the Rock lost at home was an 11-10 OT loss to the Bandits on March 12 last year. They have the next two weeks off while the Wings travel to Calgary to play the Roughnecks tomorrow night.

Other notes:

  • There were a bunch of really nice goals tonight by both teams. Both of Alex Turner's were one-timers – kind of the alley-oop of lacrosse – and he missed on a third. Dawson had a nice one as I mentioned, Iannucci had a couple, and Hellyer's was awesome.
  • Pat Maddalena has put the ball in the net four times this season. Three of them have been challenged, and two of those resulted in disallowed goals.
  • As soon as Rob Hellyer scored his first-ever NLL goal, Pat Maddalena ran to the ref to grab the game ball for him. Classy.
  • Stephen Hoar had a shorthanded breakaway. Awesome.
  • Athan Iannucci is a very good lacrosse player. Yup, you heard it here first, folks. I'm still not sure he's back to the level he was at during the 2008 season, but even if he's 80% of that guy, that's still pretty damned good. He had a ton of shots and four very nice goals.