Di Miller, NLL Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©
Featured Image Photo Credit: Jaclyn McKee
Week 17 started out with a bang as the San Diego Seals (9-3) headed north to Rogers Arena to face their Western Division rivals the Vancouver Warriors (6-7). There is no love lost between the two squads and this game would be chippy from the start. A win for the Seals would guarantee them a play-off spot. Every shot, possession, face-off and save for the Warriors was imperative in this contest in their run for the play-offs as well since the top three teams in the West clinch a spot, the top four teams in the East clinch a spot and that last spot goes to the team with the best record of the remaining seven. Vancouver had lost their last four but they had also defeated San Diego in the first meeting of the two teams on opening day back in December by the score of 8-7. The key to a Warriors win was to get in close on Frank Scigliano because he’s virtually impossible to score on with an outside shot. The Seals would be without their leading scorer Wes Berg for the contest so they would have to look to Dane Dobbie and Austin Staats to pick up the slack. The 7,683 Warriors fans got to see their team in an amazing back and forth contest and their starting net-minder Alex Buque play stellar in between the pipes snapping their four game slide. Final Score: Warriors 14—Seals 12.
Vancouver would win the opening draw but the Seals would grab the loosie and after a couple of change of possessions, Zack Greer (2g, 1a) would get San Diego on the board with a left handed shot and sting it top corner at 2:54 and the Seals were up 1-0. For the next 10 minutes the Warriors could not put anything together and Scigliano blocked every shot they sent his way. The Seals defense was extremely strong, there were a lot of caused turnovers and Vancouver looked completely disorganized. The scoring drought finally ended with 4:24 left in the frame when Matthew Dinsdale (2g, 4a) tied it up with a perfectly executed play. He was able to get himself open, slipped through the middle and with the defender draped on his back, put it in the back of the net from in close 1-1. Dane Dobbie (4g, 4a) with a nice spin move fired a shot through two defenders and slipped it five-hole on Buque with 2:52 left in the first for the go ahead goal 2-1 Seals. Things were chippy from the start and it got worse as the quarter was coming to a close. Logan Schuss (2g, 6a) on the second chance possession, went underneath and then airborne, faked far side and brought it back short side for the equalizer with 1:36 on the ticker 2-2. With 1:09 to go, Riley Loewen (1g, 3a) got Scigliano moving post to post and with a quick stick, fired it low on the inside pipe for the go ahead tally to end the scoring in the first. First quarter stats: SOG San Diego—11 Vancouver—11; Face-offs San Diego 1-6 Vancouver 5-6; Saves San Diego 8 Vancouver 9; LB San Diego 13 Vancouver 17. Score at the end of one: Warriors 3—Seals 2.
The Seals would start the scoring in the second once more. Brett Hickey (2g, 1a) in front off the pick and roll dunked it in on the doorstep at 2:14 tying it up 3-3. It took only 20 seconds before San Diego would take the lead. Dobbie put a little English on the shot and went five-hole at 2:34 and they were up 4-3. And the quick scoring would continue as Schuss would notch his 200th career goal at the 2:42 mark on the pick and pop all alone in front with a quick release shot stick side 4-4. At this point, mayhem ensued and turned into a goal scoring frenzy. Vancouver would put up two more with Ryan Martel (1g, 2a) getting a quick pass on the door step for the quick stick shot far side 5-4 at 3:36. Keegan Bal (2g, 6a) would get the cross crease feed from Dinsdale, he’d fake and jump in front of the crease for the slam dunk glove side at the 4:46 mark to put the Warriors up 6-4. Austin Staats (2g, 2a) would halt the run with a pump fake and got Buque to drop his right shoulder and went top shelf with 6:35 to go 6-5 still in favor of the Warriors. That’s when Kyle Killen (4g, 1a) got in on the action. On a tic-tac-toe play he was left all alone in front of the crease and put it in near pipe with 5:49 in the half and they were up by two again 7-5. San Diego was on the man-up off a McIntosh “holding stick” penalty and Staats would notch the first power-play tally of the game. With an overhand shot from way out, Buque would make the initial save, but kicked it in with his right foot with 1:57 to go 7-6 Warriors. The final goal in the frame was a bit controversial and would be challenged but not overturned due to inconclusive evidence. The Seals were on a man-down off a Clelland “cross-checking” penalty and 1:10 left on the man down. With one second left on the shot clock, Greer let one fly from way out and it hit net stick side with 41.2 left in the half. Warriors Bench Boss Chris Gill through the challenge flag but the goal stood and we were tied. Second quarter stats: SOG San Diego—16 Vancouver—15; Face-offs San Diego 4-10 Vancouver 6-10; Saves San Diego 10 Vancouver 11; LB San Diego 21 Vancouver 22. Score at the end of two: Warriors 7—Seals 7.
The Warriors would outscore the Seals 5-3 in the third and got it started at the 1:48 mark with a three goal run. Killen came from behind the cage, used the screen and beat Scigliano with an outside shot making him the first one in the contest to do so in the game 8-7. Killen would mix it up and this time found an opening and used a low bounce shot short side for his hat-trick at 3:47 and the home team was up by two once again 9-7. Adam Charalambides (2g) would notch the first of two driving to the crease, extended and reached around far side at 4:36 and the Warriors were up by three. This time it would be Dobbie to halt the Vancouver run. With a little hesitation from way outside he fired one stick side for his hat-trick 20 seconds later. But Vancouver came right back with another from Killen, with the BTB feed from Bal, he fired the high heat top corner with 6:48 in the third 11-8. San Diego would put up the next two. Tre Leclaire(1g, 2a) who was making his first appearance back in his hometown of Vancouver, would load up and fire from the perimeter shooting through two defenders and nailed it far pipe with 4:38 on the ticker 11-9. Hickey would nail one top corner from way out with 3:18 to go for his final marker of the night putting the Seals back to within one 11-10. But just as in the first, the Warriors would close out the frame as Dinsdale with some East to West motion went low with his shot and the nice bouncer went in far side and a two goal lead. Third quarter stats: SOG San Diego—11 Vancouver—12; Face-offs San Diego 5-9 Vancouver 4-9; Saves San Diego 5 Vancouver 8; LB San Diego 14 Vancouver 10. Score at the end of three: Warriors 12—Seals 10.
The teams would each score two apiece in the fourth with two of the four being short-handed goals, one a power-play goal and one an empty netter. But the turning point in the contest was the five-minute penalty kill by the Warriors with 8:37 left in the game. The final frame got started only 1:15 in with Brodie Merrill (1g) on a broken play grabbing the loosie, heading down the field and on a one-on-one ripped it top corner for the second short-handed goal by the Seals in the game 12-11. The two teams would go man-down and the Warriors would be on a three-on-four for a short time which is when all four Seals would get a touch, and Dobbie on the back door feed fired it in for the power-play tally at the 4:00 minute mark to tie it a 12’s. Owen Barker would head to the sin bin with 8:37 left in the fourth for a high-sticking five-minute major. Buque and the Warriors defense were simply stellar and kept the Seals offense from scoring the go ahead marker. Charalambides came across from the top of the zone and let it fly short side top corner 4:16 into the power-play for a short-handed tally with 7:04 left in the game and what would turn out to be the game winning goal 13-12 Warriors. Vancouver killed the five-minute major which was a huge accomplishment especially with over eight minutes in the fourth in a tie ball game. Buque stood on his head for the remaining seven and Scigliano didn’t allow another goal on his end of the floor either. With 59.8 in the game, Vancouver called a time out to draw up their final play but were unable to capitalize. The Seals did the same with 34.5 to go. They went with the empty net and a six on five but Buque threw the long ball to Justin Salt and he fed it to Bal and with 11.4 on the timer he scored on the empty net for some insurance. The Seals were unable to score in the last seconds. Final Score: Warriors 14—Seals 12.
San Diego Seals—SOG 50; Saves 33; Face-offs 10-30; LB 64; Assists 18; PP 2-5
Vancouver Warriors—SOG 47; Saves 38; Face-offs 20-30; LB 62; Assists 26; PP 1-3
The Vancouver Warriors (6-7) have a double-header weekend. On Friday April 1, 2022 they will head to the Scotiabank Saddledome to face their Western Division rivals the Calgary Roughnecks (4-7) game time 9:00 p.m. EST. Fans in the USA can catch the action on ESPN+. This is the first of two “Games of the Week” for fans in Canada and they can see the action on TSN.ca or the TSN app. This is also an Alterna Cup series game. At this point in the season, Calgary holds a record of 2-1 and Vancouver holds a record of 2-3 in the Alterna Cup Standings.
Then Vancouver will play host to the Albany Firewolves (6-8) at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, BC on Saturday April 2, 2022 game time 10:00 p.m. EST. Fans in the USA can catch the action on ESPN+. Fans in Canada can see the game on TSN.ca or the TSN app.
The San Diego Seals (9-3) will head north of the border to face the Toronto Rock (8-4) at First Ontario Centre in Hamilton, Ontario on Saturday April 2, 2022 game time 7:00 p.m. EST. Fans in the USA can see the game on ESPN+. This is the second “Game of the Week” for fans in Canada and they can see the action on TSN.ca or the TSN app.
Di Miller, NLL Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©