NLL: Fourth quarter surge gives Roughnecks 9-5 win over Seals

Christian Del Bianco makes a save. (Photo credit: Cliff McCaig)

After battling each other to a 5-5 tie for the first 50 minutes of the game, a late four-goal run by the host Calgary Roughnecks put them over the top for a hard-fought 9-5 win over the San Diego Seals on Friday night, in front of 12,696 fans in the Scotiabank Saddledome.

The Roughnecks improve to 2-1 on the season and are in sole possession of first place in the West Division while the expansion Seals drop to 1-1 and second place.

Goaltending was the story of the night as Calgary’s Christian Del Bianco faced former teammate Frankie Scigliano for the first time since Scigliano was signed by the Seals in the offseason.

Del Bianco took First Star of the Game honours for his outstanding performance, turning aside 46 of 51 shots while Scigliano earned the Third Star of the night by making 49 saves in the loss.

Both teams held one-goal leads on three separate occasions each before the Roughnecks were finally able to solve their former starting goalie late in the fourth quarter and extend the lead for good.

Ultimately, the Seals got themselves into too much penalty trouble over the course of the game—they were shorthanded seven times, giving up two goals along the way—and this hurt any offensive momentum they might have been able to build. This was particularly a problem in the first quarter—where they were shorthanded four times—and the third quarter where the only penalty went against San Diego. In both of those quarters, the Roughnecks capitalized with powerplay goals.

The Roughnecks offense was led by Dane Dobbie, with two goals and three assists, while Rhys Duch’s rebound from a poor 2018 season continues as he earned three goals and two assists.

Dan Dawson (1 G, 1 A), Connor Kearnan (2 A) and Austin Staats (2 A) contributed two points each to the losing cause.

Next up for Calgary, they travel to Denver to take on the Colorado Mammoth on Jan. 6. Meanwhile, the Seals visit the Saskatchewan Rush on Jan. 5.