San Diego Seals the Mammoth Fate 3/9/19

Photo Credit: Jack Dempsey

Matteo Nobile, Correspondent San Diego Seals
Lacrosse is Awesome©

On Saturday March 9, the Colorado Mammoth (3-8) played host to the San Diego Seals (6-4) at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado in front of 15,951 fans.  Mammoth fans were hoping Denver could snap their two game losing streak. The win would give the Seals the same record as the first place Rush (6-4) and put them in second place in the West, while the Mammoth are sitting in last. With the win, San Diego has clinched the series with the victory over Colorado. The Seals went with goaltender Frank Scigliano who let in 10 goals on 54 shots. The Mammoth started with goaltender Dillon Ward but after allowing 10 goals off of 21 shots, Colorado  bench boss Pat Coyle would pull Ward and Steve Fryer got the nod in net. After the switch in the third quarter Fryer would only allow two goals on nine shots. For the Mammoth, it was trouble from the start as the Seals came out firing right from the start and they were not prepared. After the first half the Seals led 7-2 and although the Mammoth brought it back, they couldn’t overcome their slow start. Garrett Billings (3G, 4A) led the charge with a hat trick with two of the three coming in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach. The Mammoth failed to capitalize on any of their four power play opportunities. Final score: San Diego Seals – 13, Colorado Mammoth – 10.

Austin Staats (1G, 1A) had the first goal of the night and used his big frame to push back his defender and gets his hand free for a shot that he put in the bottom right corner. The Mammoth’s first goal came from Cory Vitarelli (1G, 1A) who was just acquired from the Rochester Knighthawks in a trade for Ryan Benesch, one of Colorado’s leading scorers. Vitarelli scored after a pick and roll with Eli McLaughlin (3G, 3A) that resulted in a wide open Vitarelli on the crease. With a delayed penalty the Seals were able to get an extra attacker out, Kyle Buchanan (2G, 3A) who was open on the crease, received the pass from Dan Dawson (1G,6A) behind the net, and was able to score with a diving effort. Garrett Billings used his powerful outside shot to give the Seals a two-goal lead. At the end of the first San Diego held the lead 3-1.

San Diego kept the run going with a goal from Casey Jackson (2G, 1A). Jackson jab stepped left, beat his defender low and with an alley to the net scored far side. An outside shot from McLaughlin, and the only goal for Colorado in the frame stopped the run coming off of a pick that confused the Seals defense, and with both defenders covering the player who set the pick McLaughlin was left wide open. The Seals would control the remainder of the frame starting with a pick and roll between Jackson and Turner Evans (1G,2A) who would get Jackson open, Evans passed the ball and Jackson ran through the middle scoring through the legs of Ward; then after receiving a pass from the crease Buchanan would score with an underhand outside shot that hit far post and found its’ way into the net; and finally, Kyle Hartzell (1G) would use his speed and took advantage of a slow Colorado change as he pushed it up the floor scoring five-hole on a breakaway. At the end of the first half San Diego would still hold a decisive lead 7-2.

To start the second half Kyle Killen (2G, 1A) took it into his own hands to get a spark going for the Mammoth offense. He took his defender one-on-one and was able to get his hand free to shoot over the left shoulder of Scigliano. McLaughlin was next up as he got the shovel pass from Jeff Wittig (2G, 2A) right on the doorstep and would score top right corner. A short-handed goal for the Seals came off of an outside shot from Connor Kelly (1G, 1A) as he somehow got a shot off with three defenders all over him and found the back of the net. Killen would net his second off of a Seals turnover, as he got the loose ball right in front of the crease and scored diving cross crease faking far side then pulling back to score short side. Some good ball movement by the Seals on the power play found Dawson open on the crease for his first and only goal of the night. Less than 30 second later, Evans would hit a far outside shot chasing Ward out of the net and backup net-minder Steve Fryer would get the call. That temporary shift allowed Mammoth Forward McLaughlin to run right at his defender and he used his speed to get open for shot scoring far side. At the end of the third quarter the score was still in favor of San Diego 10-6.

Colorado would start off the fourth with a goal from Ryan Lee (1G, 1A) as the Seals defender would lose Lee as he got caught ball watching leaving him wide open in the middle, and would score with an underhand shot through the legs of Scigliano. Jeff Wittig forward for the Mammoth would get the first goal of his NLL career as he cut through the middle, receiving the pass from McLaughlin and scored top right corner. Billings would stop the run for Colorado scoring again with an outside shot on the man up opportunity for San Diego. But Colorado was still alive in the contest and Chris Wardle (1G, 3A) would be next to score as he caught the pass on the crease and dove scoring far side with a defender right on his hip. But the Billings sandwich was complete as he would score his third of the night making it 12-9 with just over four minutes left on the clock. With an extra attacker on the floor Wittig would notch his second and finished with a total of four points. Colorado would pull Fryer with about 20 seconds remaining and Cameron Holding (1G) would score on the empty net with 13 seconds left in the contest and give the Mammoth loss number eight. Final score: San Diego 13 – Colorado 10.

NEXT UP:

The Mammoth (3-8) will head to Calgary to face the Roughnecks (6-6) on Saturday March 16, game time 9:00 p.m. EST.

San Diego (6-4) heads east to face the Philadelphia Wings (2-9) on Saturday March 16, game time 10:00 p.m. EST.

Matteo Nobile, Correspondent San Diego Seals
Lacrosse is Awesome©

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