Ron Schell, NLL Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©
Featured Image Photo Credit: Devin Manky
The 2019 Expansion team, New York Riptide (1-7) took on the 2018 Expansion team San Diego Seals (2-5) on Saturday night at home on Long Island. The night before, the Seals had the luxury of sitting back watching the Riptide play the Philadelphia Wings while they rested in wait in their hotel rooms. They watched the Riptide battle and eventually get trounced by a tough Wings team 14-6. They took advantage of an already tired Riptide squad and would walk away with their second victory of the season. Final Score: Seals 15—Riptide 11.
San Diego wasted no time to get on the scoresheet when Cam Holding (2g, 1a) broke through on transition to fire the ball past Alex Buque. The Riptide tied the game when Tyson Gibson (3g, 2a) gathered a Jean-Luc Chetner cross crease pass and buried it down low. The Riptide earned a power play and took three seconds to make it count. Tyler Digby fed Connor Kelly (1g, 3a) on a quick outside shot. John Ranagan (1g, 1a) added to the New York’s lead by taking a long pass on transition and despite being smothered, he bounced it past rookie Nick Damude. Damude started the game tonight in place of injured starter Frank Scigliano. Unfortunately, the Seals back-up happened to be Connor Kearnan who was a regular player who had never played a period in an NLL Game.
New York Head Coach Regy Thorpe had his team motivated and out to a 3-1 lead. San Diego then began to move the ball and move their feet. Zack Greer (3g, 1a) scored his first goal of the night on an outside bounce shot between Buque’s legs that seemed to catch him napping. Greer scored his second shortly after faking an outside shot which moved Buque enough to allow a high shot to get past him. The Seals broke the tie when Casey Jackson (2g, 2a), playing in his second game back from injury, was fed out front by Wesley Berg. The tide had definitely turned. The Seals scored two more goals by Jeremy Noble (1g, 5a), set up by Kyle Buchanan and a transition goal by Tor Reinholdt (1g) who picked up a loose ball after the face-off and scored a beautiful transition goal. When the smoke cleared the Seals had gone on a 5-0 run and taken the lead 6-3. Thorpe tried to stop the bleeding by replacing his goalie. The Riptide looked like a tired team that left their goalie to the mercy of their opponent. The Seals could smell blood and pressured the Riptide. New York was able to hang on until the end of the first. The San Diego Seals led the Riptide 6-3.
The second quarter started with hope for the home town fans. Gibson scored from outside and Digby (2g, 4a), using his defender as an outside screen, hit the top corner. The Riptide moved to within one goal, trailing 6-5. The Seals scored on a power play from a Kyle Buchanan (1g, 2a) sub shot. The Riptide earned another power play and scored nine seconds after by Jean-Luc Chetner (3g, 2a) assisted by Digby. The Riptide were able to come full circle and tie the game at seven by a second Chetner goal. The New York power play was clicking. The New York defence was working hard to keep the Seals offence outside. The second half looked hopeful after chiseling their way back from a 5 goal disadvantage. Score at the end of the first half: Seals 7—Riptide 7.
In the third the game was played tightly, until New York’s offence dried up and San Diego went on another devastating four goal spree. It began with Berg (2g, 3a) scoring on a power play; and then a transition breakaway by Brian Clelland (1g). Jackson scored on an outside shot and Greer scored his third goal all alone on the crease. The Seals shot out to an 11-7 lead. New York looked extremely tired and allowed the Seals offence chance after chance. Chetner scored New York’s eighth goal to complete the third quarter. Score at the end of three: San Diego 11—New York 8.
The fourth frame was still numerically close enough for New York to take another run at the Seals. Unfortunately, they did not install much enthusiasm by the way they were playing as a team. San Diego, however, were not willing to give up their advantage. The Seals went on another four goal burst. Connor Fields (1g, 4a) scored the Seals 12th goal as he fired from the outside on the power play. Berg was left wide open to score the 13th and Holding sprinted passed the Riptide team up the floor on transition to score the 14th. At 11:42 New York pulled their goalie to just make it stop.
A five minute major penalty gave the Riptide one last chance. Digby scored New York’s ninth goal on a spectacular diving underhand bounce shot. They scored their 10th on the power play by Kieran McArdle (1g) top shelf shot over the goalie’s shoulder. The score was now 14-10 Seals. The Riptide pulled their goalie to add some excitement but Eli Gobrecht (1g, 1a) scored on the open net to score a 15th Seals goal. New York completed the scoring on a power play by Tyson Gibson. Final Score: Seals 15—Riptide 11.
Overall, this was an interesting game between two teams struggling for their second win of the season. The San Diego team certainly deserved the win. Both teams battled and struggled throughout the game to establish control. It was obvious that the skill – level favoured the team from San Diego. It certainly helped having veterans such as Brodie Merrill; Wesley Berg; and Jeremy Noble to stabilize their team and gain control of the ball and settle the play. New York definitely looked tired and spent huge periods of time throughout the game going scoreless and allowing scoring binges by the opposition.
San Diego: 53 SOG; 18 SOFF; 66 LB; 13-31 FO; 3-3 PP
New York: 47 SOG; 25 SOFF; 72 LB; 18-31 FO; 4-6 PP
San Diego Nick Damude: 47 SOG; 36 Saves; .766 Sv%; 11 GA
New York Alex Buque: 37 SOG; 29 Saves; .784 Sv%; 8 GA
New York Gowah Abrams: 15 SOG; 9 Saves; .600 Sv%; 6 GA
The San Diego Seals (2-5) will host the Colorado Mammoth (4-4) in the first ever NLL game to be played in Las Vegas, NV. The game will take place at Orleans Arena on Saturday February 1, game time 10:00 p.m. EST. It should be an exciting event.
The New York Riptide (1-7) will return to action on Saturday February 8 when they head west to face the Calgary Roughnecks (2-4), game time 9:30 p.m. EST. Both teams are having horrific seasons and each team has the bye-week to regroup and figure out what is going wrong.
Ron Schell, NLL Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©