In a hard-fought battle for first place in the NLL West Division, the San Diego Seals held on to take a 13-12 win over the Saskatchewan Rush on Friday night. The Seals (8-4) extended their lead in the division and continue to show themselves to be more than just another expansion team. The Rush dropped to 6-6 on the season and remain in second place.
Although the Seals scored first, Saskatchewan responded with two quick goals of their own to take the lead. The Seals answered back with a three-goal run of their own to round out the first quarter, jumping out to the 4-2 lead.
The Rush closed the gap again early in the second quarter, but San Diego went on another three-goal run to regain the momentum and build their lead. Two goals in the final minute of the half by the Rush narrowed the gap to just two and another goal to open the third quarter made it a one-goal game, as the defending champions began to look like they might take over the game.
However, the Seals went on yet another three-goal run in response, rebuilding their lead and swinging the momentum back to the home team. Saskatchewan’s Jeff Shattler and Ben McIntosh took the game over for the next six minutes of the quarter, with each notching two goals to tie the game.
A power play goal from San Diego’s Dan Dawson with just four seconds left on the clock in the third pushed the Seals back into the lead—a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the way.
After a nine-goal exchange in the third quarter, both offenses peppered the opposition with shots in the fourth, but the two goalies rose to the occasion, combining for 29 saves, versus only four goals allowed in the home stretch.
San Diego’s Frankie Scigliano ended up with 39 saves for the win, including several huge stops in the closing minutes of the game. Meanwhile, Adam Shute stopped 43 shots for the Rush and showed himself to be a worthy substitute for Evan Kirk, who is on injured reserve for an indefinite period of time following a serious lower body injury last week against the Buffalo Bandits.
The Seals next action is next Saturday when they visit the Calgary Roughnecks, who are currently tied with the Rush for second place in the division. Also on Saturday, the Rush will host the last-place Vancouver Warriors.