NLL: Dickson joins 500 club, Seals lock up home quarterfinal game  

San Diego Seals @ Las Vegas Desert Dogs. Photo: Candice Ward

The late game of the Week 19 slate came to you from Las Vegas, Nevada Saturday night. The Desert Dogs hosted the first place San Diego Seals, and hoped to cause some chaos in the Western Conference. Las Vegas needed to win out and had to get some losses from the teams ahead of them. San Diego could clinch home field throughout with a win and few other losses, or clinch a first round home playoff game with just an outright win.

San Diego used multiple scoring runs throughout this game to beat the Desert Dogs 14-10. The first round of the playoffs will go through San Diego. To the action we go.

The Seals wasted no time getting out in front as Austin Staats opened the scoring just 25 seconds in. Staats received a pass and threw a sick pump-fake before burying the shot. Just about a minute later, Dane Dobbie notched his first of the game. I know I spoke about San Diego’s runs, and that was the truth. However, Las Vegas rattled off five-straight in the first quarter. Scorers were Zack Greer twice, one on the power play, Connor Kirst twice, and Erik Turner. Sin City was buzzing. Jake Govett stopped the Dogs’ momentum with a goal in the final minute to make it 5-3 Las Vegas after one.

Comparatively speaking, the second quarter was far more calm than the first. Las Vegas captain Rob Hellyer notched his first of the game at the 7:53 mark of the quarter. That’d be the last goal they scored until the 1:41 mark. Landon Kells took a hit in goal and immediately went down clutching his left leg. But like the trooper he is, decided to continue on in goal once he was back on his feet. However, he limped off the floor two minutes later and was replaced by Joel Watson, who hasn’t seen action in awhile.

San Diego proceeded to go on a four-goal run to take the lead. Scorers were Wesley Berg twice, once on the power play; Curtis Dickson on the power play; and Tre Leclaire. Marshal King stopped the Seals’ momentum with a power play goal of his own. 7-7 going into the half.

“They play a little more tight in this arena, they play more narrow and really pack it in,” said Berg at halftime. “We just have to keep the ball moving, moving some bodies in the middle and open it up.”

The beginning of the third was a lot like the beginning of the second. It took a little while for the scoring to pick up, but there was no shortage of back-and-forth and strong defense. Kells went right back in net to start the game and appeared to be a-okay.

Staats got his second of the game at the 8:20 mark of the frame on a penalty shot. It’s evident that Staats loves to fake a million times while taking penalty shots, and this one was no different. San Diego rattled off two more after that, one by Berg, giving him a hat trick and the other from Kevin Crowley. Sam Firth got his first of the game with under a minute left to cut the deficit. 10-8 Seals going into the fourth.

Las Vegas continued their momentum to begin the fourth as Greer got his hat trick. That momentum came to a screeching halt once again as San Diego went on another four-goal run. As you can probably figure out, that would be deadly to Las Vegas. Scorers for the Seals were Staats, giving him a hat trick; Curtis Dickson twice, giving him a hat trick; and Jesse Gamble. A few notes on a couple of those goals; Staats’ was an unreal effort as he powered through three Las Vegas defenders on his way to the net. Dickson’s second goal of that run was on the powerplay and was number 500 in his career. Superman is now the eighth player to ever reach that milestone and the second consecutive Seal to make that illustrious group as well. Jacob Ruest made the scoreboard look a little better with his first in the final seconds, but that’d be all she wrote. Your final from Michelob Ultra Arena, 14-10 San Diego.

Players of the game for Las Vegas were Greer (3+1), Kirst (2+2), and Hellyer (1+3). Kells made 33 saves on 42 shots in 52:06 of game time. Joel Watson, in his relief, made seven saves on 11 shots.

As for San Diego, well, pick a player. Once again, the Seals scored a ton of goals and spread the wealth. Dickson (3+5), Berg (3+3), Staats (3+1), and Dobbie (1+5), all had monster games. Frank Scigliano was sparkling once again. Frankie made 36 saves on 45 shots. Christopher Origlieri came in for just 30 seconds of game time and allowed one goal on one shot.

“I think we’d like to have the first half back in terms of transition,” said the Seals’ Danny Logan after the game. “I’ve been trying to just keep my head down and learn from the leaders on this team. It’s just been a team effort and we’re just trying to put ourselves in a spot to be successful.”

Las Vegas (5-10) isn’t technically out of it yet, but their chances are looking slim. They will look to win out and cross their fingers that a bunch of teams lose. They travel to Calgary (11-5) for a monster Western Conference collision this Friday at 9 p.m. on TSN. As for San Diego (12-3), the first round goes through them and they look to lock up home field throughout. They travel to Colorado (8-7) for another huge conference game this Friday at 9 p.m. on ESPNU. Get your popcorn ready.