Saturday night’s game between Calgary and San Diego turned into a slugfest between two NLL heavyweights. In the Roughnecks corner, reigning MVP Dane Dobbie struck for a whopping seven goals, including a first half sock trick. The Seals answered with their 2019 Rookie of the Year Austin Staats who went off for five goals and three assists. With the game hanging in the balance, a couple of late rulings by the referees helped the visiting San Diego Seals walk away with a 13-12 decision. The win moves San Diego’s record to 5-6 and puts them one spot out of second place in the west.
After losing five of their first six games, San Diego’s hopes of making the playoffs hung in the balance.
“From here on out we got to make sure we keep winning. That’s an awesome team over there and that’s a playoff type game, so it was good we pulled it out,” said Wes Berg post game. “Dane was hot really early so we knew we had to get to him and take some time away from him. Audi, (Austin Staats), same thing, he’s such a pure goal scorer. Both of them are so tough to stop.”
In his first home game since winning the NLL Championship, Dane Dobbie looked like a man possessed. In the span of 10 minutes, Dobbie scored four times staking Calgary to a 5-3 first quarter lead. Penalty trouble for Calgary allowed San Diego to turn the tables in the second frame. Power play goals from Greer, Jackson and a late marker from Staats help propel the Seals to a 9-8 halftime lead.
The second half got underway with Frank Scigliano taking the place of Nick Damude in the Seals’ crease. Scigliano faced 27 Roughnecks’ shots, surrendering just four goals to his old team. His former understudy, Christian Del Bianco, was equally as good surrendering an identical four second half goals.
With San Diego clinging to a 13-12 lead late in the fourth quarter, Calgary appeared to score the tying goal with 0:27 ticks left on the clock. When the goal was reviewed, it was determined that the net had become dislodged during play and that Tyler Pace’s shot had not gone through where the goal posts would normally have been and therefore the goal was disallowed.
“What they didn’t get right is that, 100% right on, is that the goalie knocked the net off and when the goalie intentionally knocks the net off like that then it should be a delay of game penalty,” commented head coach Curt Malawsky afterwards.
To make matters worse for the Roughnecks, a last-ditch effort by Curtis Dickson was met with a nasty high stick from Brodie Merrill that broke Dickson’s nose. However, no call was made and the Seals escaped with a crucial victory that ties up the season series, possibly setting up a huge third and decisive game on April 25th.
Saturday night’s game also marked the return of Wes Berg to the Scotiabank Saddledome. After missing an entire season in a year-long contract dispute with the Roughnecks, Berg went off for eight points against his former team.
“It’s great to be back,” said Berg. “It’s always exciting to come back and play here. My friends and family are here; I got about 30 or 40 cousins that came to the game and my brother is out here so it’s always fun to be back here and play.”
Berg’s eight points tied Staats for top performer, while Casey Jackson and Jeremy Noble each had five point nights. Assistant captain Cam Holding scooped up 12 loose balls moving his season total to 91.
Dane Dobbie led the Roughnecks with seven goals on 21 shots while Tyler Pace and Zach Herreweyers each had two goals. Zach Currier led all players with 13 loose balls pushing his season totals to 98 LB’s in just nine games.
Next Saturday the Seals (5-6) will take on the Rochester Knighthawks (2-8) at Pechanga Arena in San Diego. Meanwhile, Calgary (4-5) will travel to Toronto for an afternoon game against the Rock (7-3).