Seals Keep Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’ Squeaking by the Rush 1/15/22

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Di Miller, NLL Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©

Featured Image Photo Credit:  S. Hiscock

On a frigid night in Saskatoon, the Saskatchewan Rush (1-3) hosted the San Diego Seals at Sask Tel Centre in front of 6,999 fans who were treated to a fantastic game of back and forth lacrosse with an outcome they’d like to forgot.  The Rush have been having a rough go of it with their last victory almost a month ago on December 17, 2021 against the Vancouver Warriors.  While on the other side of the coin, the Seals have been playing strong despite the team being struck hard by COVID and for the second week in a row starting a rookie net-minder, Justin Geddie who would also walk away with his first career NLL win.  But once again, the Seals would come out the victors in a hard fought battle that was anyone’s game up until the last two minutes.    Final Score:  Seals 12—Rush 11.

The Rush got on the board first with a quick stick power play goal only 57 seconds in.  Robert Church (3g, 2a) would get a behind-the-back crossfield pass from Ryan Keenan hitting stick side 1-0 Saskatchewan.  The Seals have given up the most man up goals than any team in the league so this wasn’t much of a surprise.  Austin Staats (3g, 3a) would fire one from downtown stick side high over the shoulder of Adam Shute at 1:24 to tie it up 1-1. The final tally in the quarter came shortly after the Staats goal.  Wes Berg (3g, 2a) used two Rush defenders as a screen and sent a low bouncer on the outside and found an opening at 2:42.  That was it in the first.  Each of the two teams would combine for another 20 shots on goal with both net-minders settling in protecting their cages for the remaining 13 and a half.  First quarter stats:  Shots on goal SD 12—Rush 11; Face offs SD 4-4 & Rush 0-4; Saves SD 10—Rush 10.  Score at the end of one:  Seals 2—Rush 1.

The second quarter got off to an even quicker start than the first with the Rush scoring first again.  This time Mark Matthews (2g, 4a) would go five-hole as he came across the floor and handcuffed Geddie at 27 to tie it up 2-2.  But once again, the Seals would notch the go ahead tally off another Berg goal; another one of his signature jump shot dunks glove side on Shute at 3:49 for a short-handed marker 3-2 Seals.  The net-minders were brick walls once again standing on their heads keeping both squads out of the net for the next nine minutes.  Mac O’Keefe (2g, 1a) would find the net with the second short-handed tally for San Diego in the frame at 12:11 to double them up 4-2 and the last marker of the half.  In the second quarter, after not having won a face-off in the first, the Rush found their groove and would win all four in the second.  Second quarter stats:  Shots on goals SD 11—Rush 11; Face-offs  SD 0-4 & Rush 4-4; Saves SD 10—Rush 9.  Score at the end of two:  Seals 4—Rush 2.

We’d see an entirely different game in the third with the teams combining for 11 goals.  It got off to a slow start and the Rush would again be first to score. Keenan (1g, 3a) circled through the middle, saw an opening in the lane and ripped one past Geddie 4:28 getting them within one 4-3.  It took less than a minute before the score box changed.  Berg would come from the right side, stutter step past his defender and dunked it far side for his hat-trick 5-3 at 5:09. Tempers were starting to flare between the two squads with no love lost.  At the 7:29 mark Tor Reinholdt and Mike Mallory got into a fisticuffs for reasons unknown and until the bucket game off Reinholdt, the men in stripes were going to let it go, but they broke it up and both went to the box…Reinholdt for a two minute roughing and Mallory for a four minute roughing (double minor).  Both teams went on a four-on-four for two minutes.  Church would notch a goal with a step down bouncer shot at the 8:21 mark cutting the lead to one 5-4.  Staats would be the next to go to the box for a cross-checking giving the Rush a four-on-three for 21 seconds.  On the tic-tac-toe Dan Lintner (2g, 1a) came around from the back door and on goal line extended with a quick stick found an opening on the inside pipe for a power-play tally at 5:43 and we were all tied at 5 apiece.  A minute later Dane Dobbie (2g, 1a) would finally get on the board with a power-play marker of his own putting the Seals back up by one.  But it only took a little over a minute before the Rush would notch back to back goals with Matthews notching his second to tie it back up 6-6; and Matt Beers (1g) notching his only goal on the night to give them the lead once more 7-6 with 3:45 left in the third.  The back and forth battle would continue as O’Keefe would fire one from downtown five hole for the tie 7-7 with 2:45 left.  But we weren’t done when Staats got the rebound off the glass, and with an over the top shot fired it short side and found a tiny piece of the top corner for the lead once more 8-7 and 1:30 on the ticker.  With 20.9 seconds on the clock, Church headed to the net, jumped and timed it perfectly to dunk it over the shoulder short side corner for a short-handed tally and we were tied again 8-8.  At this point in the quarter, there were four Rush players in the sin bin and San Diego would be on a four on three power play for the remaining seconds in the frame.  With 1.3 seconds on the clock, Staats sent the pass to Jeremy Noble (2g, 4a) he fired it down low far side with a quick stick shot for another go ahead goal.  Third quarter stats:  Shots on goals SD 13—Rush 18; Face-offs  SD 4-11 & Rush 7-11; Saves SD 12—Rush 9.  Score at the end of three:  Seals 9—Rush 8.

The Saskatchewan Rush host the San Diego Seals at Sask Tel Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, January 14, 2022

The Seals would start the fourth on a five on three about 20 seconds and just as the Rush had gone back to four men on the floor, Dobbie would notch his second 24 seconds in with a quick stick shot on the back door increasing the gap 10-8.  Still on the man down, Saskatchewan would get lucky and Ryan Dilks (1g, 1a) on the breakaway in transition off a beautiful outlet pass from Shute headed down the field and on a one-on-one fired it top shelf for the short-handed tally at 1:57.  Mike Messenger (1g, 1a) would tie it up with one second left on the shot clock with an impossible angle shot he found a way to squeak it through at 3:47 and we were tied again 10-10.  But the Seals wouldn’t give up.  With 30 seconds of total chaos on the floor and a track meet with no goals on either side, Noble would go down low from the perimeter and fire it short side with 5:00 on the clock to put them up again 11-10.  Staats was next as he walked down the pipe and fired it five-hole for his hat-trick with 4:36 left and the final San Diego goal.  The Rush would go with the empty net for the last 1:30 in favor of the extra attacker and Lintner would score down low far side with 38.9 seconds remaining.  The Rush would stay with the six on five for the remainder of the frame, get the ensuing draw and call a time out with .09 on the clock.  Unfortunately the dominoes didn’t fall in favor of Saskatchewan and the clock would run out.  Final Score:  Seals 12—Rush 11.


San Diego Seals—SOG 50; Face offs 12-26; Assists 67; Saves 42; PP 3-4; PIM 17
Saskatchewan Rush—SOG 53; Face offs 14-26; Assists 63; Saves 38; PP 2-4; PIM 17


The San Diego Seals (4-1) will host the Calgary Roughnecks (1-2) at Pechanga Arena on Saturday January 29, 2022.  Game time 10:00 p.m. EST.  The game can be seen on ESPN+ in the USA and on or the TSN app in Canada.

The Saskatchewan Rush (1-4) will host Panther City Lacrosse Club (1-4) on Saturday January 29, 2022 at the Sasktel Arena.  Game time 8:30 p.m. EST.  Each team has a full week to figure things out with the Rush coming off another loss and Panther City coming off their first franchise victory.  The game can be seen on ESPN+ in the USA and on or the TSN app in Canada.

Di Miller, NLL Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©