It was the matchup that Calgary fans had been waiting for since August 16th when news broke that Dane Dobbie had signed with the San Diego Seals. The franchise’s leading scorer, NLL MVP, two-time NLL Champion and the former captain made his return to the Scotiabank Saddledome and he made it a night to remember. What can only be described as a gritty, dominating performance, a bloodied and battered Dane Dobbie netted seven goals en route to a 17-12 victory for the visiting Seals.
Right from the opening whistle, all eyes were on #44. An early altercation between Dobbie and Zach Currier led to offsetting penalties. From the second tier, you could hear Dobbie giving it to Currier in the penalty box. It was obvious that the Calgary defense wasn’t going to take it easy on their former captain. However, Calgary got a little overzealous and began a steady march to the penalty box with seven first-half penalties. With under a minute left in the first, Dobbie took a cross-floor pass and buried his first goal of the night on the power play giving the visitors a 4-1 lead.
San Diego continued their run into the second quarter as they poured in six more goals to Calgary’s one. With each goal, each penalty and each celebration, you could feel the Dane Train gaining momentum as he fed off the emotion. At halftime, San Diego held a commanding 10-2 lead.
One thing about a Curt Malawsky-led team is that you know they’ll be a resilient group and Calgary proved that in the second half. Curtis Dickson led by example and potted five goals as the Riggers outscored the Seals 10-7 in the final two frames.
But, this night was all about Dane Dobbie. Nothing better sums up who Dane is as a player more than the fourth quarter. Already with five goals and his team holding the lead, Dobbie got caught in a pile-up and badly broke his nose. Minutes later, he was back on the bench sporting a giant bandage and blood all over his jersey. Not only did he rejoin the action, but Dobbie scored two more goals including a penalty shot marker.
In the post-game interview, Calgary’s head coach had this to say: “We’re going to play him tough and he’s going to play us tough. I’ve got nothing but good things to say. He’s an MVP-type player. When we were making a push, who scores the big goal? Dane. When there’s a chance to put the game away, who scores the goal? Dane. We know what Dane’s all about and we love him. I’m sure he was nervous, but he played exceptional.”
Somewhat overshadowed in this game was the return of Austin Staats. The talented lefty from Six Nations returned to the lineup from a knee injury and scored twice. Casey Jackson added four goals while former Roughneck Wes Berg torched his old club with three goals and five assists.
Aside from Curtis Dickson’s five goals, the Calgary offense got another solid performance from Jesse King who tallied six assists. Tyler Pace added three goals and three assists while Dan Taylor added two goals and three assists.
After Christmas break, the NLL gets the week started early with a rare Thursday night game as the Roughnecks (1-2) play host to the Halifax Thunderbirds (3-0). San Diego (2-1) will travel to Saskatchewan on New Year’s Eve to play the Rush (1-2).