Justin Ivey, Co-Editor and NLL Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©
Home turf didn’t make a difference in Game 1 for the San Diego Seals, and they faced a win or go home situation in the Loud House Saturday night when they visited the Colorado Mammoth for Game 2. Regulation proved to be so evenly matched that the two needed overtime to decide the winner. The Seals had a one goal lead late in the fourth quarter, but home crowd hero Eli McLaughlin (6G, 1A) scored the equalizer with just a minute left. After a furious last minute, the game went to overtime. It took just under two and a half minutes to decide the winner, a period that felt like eternity for those watching. The Seals found their hero in veteran Dane Dobbie (4G, 2A) who scored the game winner to force a Game 3 next weekend back in San Diego. Final Score: San Diego-11, Colorado-10.
McLauglin opened the scoring in the first quarter, slipping a screen and catching the feed from Dylan Kinnear (1G, 2A) before beating Seals netminder Frank Scigliano (42 SV) up close. Austin Staats (5G) would tie the game just under a minute and a half later when he found himself open in the middle, and then he gave the Seals their first lead of the game when he beat Mammoth netminder Dillon Ward (41 SV) on a powerplay opportunity with a dart from outside. Nearly six minutes of scoreless lacrosse followed before Dobbie made it a three-goal unanswered run with his first of the game coming with 3:01 remaining in the opening quarter. McLaughlin again was the benefactor of a perfect feed, and he notched his second of the quarter from the crease again with 2:48 remaining. At the end of the first quarter, San Diego led Colorado 3-2.
Goals were tough to come by in the second quarter as both defenses buttoned down. Dobbie scored the first two of the frame, but there were almost nine minutes between those goals. The first came just 1:47 in as Dane bullied his way to the crease and the second was scored 10:39 in as he rolled across the top and released an underhand bounce bomb. With under five minutes remaining, the Seals had built a three-goal lead behind a strong defensive effort. McLaughlin stopped the run, again. His first half hat trick was completed when he scored with a laser from up top through traffic with 3:28 remaining in the half. At the half, San Diego led Colorado 5-3.
Coming out of the locker room, the Mammoth were playing with urgency. Kinnear went horizontal across the crease to get Colorado within one just 1:36 in. Brett McIntyre (1G, 1A) scored with a no look shot from the middle to tie the game 5:28 in. The Seals couldn’t seem to get a good offensive set through the stout Colorado defense. Tyson Gibson (1G, 2A) put the Mammoth ahead exactly halfway through the quarter, and Joey Cupido (1G) extended the lead to two goals just over a minute later with a transition marker. In the first 8:31 of the second half, the Mammoth had turned their two-goal deficit into a two-goal lead. Staats and Dobbie weren’t having it. Staats scored his hat trick goal with 5:40 remaining to bring the Seals back to within one. “Playoff Dobbie” found Staats with 2:16 remaining to score the tying goal. Dobbie looked like he had absolutely no space as he bulled towards the center of the defense. Three defenders enveloped him just about eight feet from the goal, including one draped around his neck. He calmly flicked the ball low behind his back to the wide open Staats who easily found an open corner of the net. At the end of the third quarter, Colorado and San Diego were tied 7-7.
McLaughlin continued his career night in the fourth quarter, scoring the final frame’s first two goals. 2:56 in he was able to notch his fourth on a power play opportunity, and 6:12 in he got his fifth, catching a high pass from Gibson in his office in front of the crease. He quickly brought it down and finished in close with just about five seconds left on the shot clock. Zack Greer (2G) answered for the Seals under a minute later before Staats tied the game again with 6:46 left in the fourth. His top shelf shot from outside had so much velocity it bounced out of the net after hitting the twine in the top corner. An anxious couple minutes followed before Greer gave San Diego the lead with 3:06 on the game clock. The fans in the Loud House did not sit for the remainder of regulation. Towels were flying, hands were banging on the glass, and decibel levels were reported over 100. McLaughlin heard them and with just 59.5 seconds remaining, he scored his sixth of the game to tie it 10-10. He caught a feed on the crease that came from Gibson who was cradling behind the net. His quick finish erupted the crowd. Neither team could break through with a possession in the final minute. At the end of the fourth quarter, San Diego and Colorado were tied 10-10.
Sudden death overtime. A goal from Colorado would send the Seals home for the season and a goal from the Seals would lead to a Game 3. It took just under two and a half minutes, an eternity for overtime, for the winner to be decided. “Playoff Dobbie” put the team on his back. After gathering a loose ball in the back corner, we spun and willed his way towards the net. Another defender came, but it didn’t matter. Dobbie got to the crease, and while falling forward released a behind the back off balance shot to beat the unsuspecting Ward. Final Score: San Diego-11, Colorado-10.
The San Diego Seals will host the Colorado Mammoth in the decisive Game 3 Saturday, May 28 at 10:00 PM EST.