NLL: Seals move on to West Final after win over Philly

Philadelphia Wings vs San Diego Seals, NLL quarterfinals. (Photo credit: Everything San Diego)

The place to be Saturday night was San Diego. With the palm trees swaying in California, the San Diego Seals held strong and clipped the Philadelphia Wings 9-8 in playoff action late Saturday night in an action filled game that was playoff worthy.

San Diego started strong with Wes Berg finding the back of the net. Dane Dobbie then landed one before Berg scored again. Steph Charbonneau scored a transition beauty for Philadelphia on an assist from Zach Higgins. At the end of the first quarter, San Diego was up 3-2. Both Higgins and Frankie Scigliano were dialled in.

The second quarter continued the solid effort in the net. Right away, Patrick Shoemay found the back of the net and scored his first goal of the season. The crowd seemed momentarily stunned, and then roared even louder—causing an already enthusiastic crowd to get even rowdier. Matt Rambo tried to quiet the crowd by scoring his first of the night, but it did little to quell the spirit of the Seals.

Both teams scored twice in the second. The Seals were up one going into halftime. Any halftime speeches really did not seem to make a difference for the Wings. They matched San Diego 3-3 in the third and 1-1 in the fourth, but the Seals held them off. The game really seemed to be in the hands of the Seals from the beginning of the game through the end.

Kevin Crowley was stripped by Brodie Merrill at the end of the game and that ultimately sealed Philadelphia’s fate.

In fact, the Seals were joyful when Brodie stripped Kevin. The fans went crazy. Nick Ossello on the colour commentary declared, “when I grow up, I want to be Brodie Merrill.”

Merrill was also called “the loose ball king” and they said “he launched the ball into space.”

As any true lacrosse lover knows, all too often it is the offensive guy who gets all the credit. For the Seals, it went to Brodie and his goalie.

After the game, Shoemay spoke about playing with Frank Scigliano who had 44 saves on the night: “Frankie is the backbone of the team. He’s the best goalie I’ve ever played with. He’s a leader on and off the field.” The Seals will rely on his leadership as they advance to the second round of playoffs for the first time in their organization’s history.

Going home will be Zach Higgins and the rest of his Philadelphia squad. Despite another fantastic game by Higgins (enough to earn him the second star,) it was not enough. The Wings could not pull ahead of a solid San Diego team that is loaded with superstars on the field and on the coaching staff.

San Diego will rely on those superstars to take charge as the face Colorado next weekend.