NLL: Seals win over Mammoth puts them back on top in West Division

With help from Kyle Hartzell, Cam Holding steals the ball from Tim Edwards. (Photo credit: Jack Dempsey)

The San Diego Seals defeated the Colorado Mammoth 13-10 on Saturday night in a game of two very different halves. The win means San Diego is once again tied for first in their division. They held that spot earlier in the season before falling off slightly, but have fought their way back to the top, something relatively unheard of with an expansion team.

Head coach and general manager Patrick Merrill was pleased with the team’s performance.

“It was a very big win for us,” he said. “We felt like we were slow sometimes… They put us on our heels but we found a way to win.”

San Diego played a strong first half, going up 3-1 in the first with goals from Austin Staats, Kyle Buchanan and Garrett Billings. Cory Vitarelli scored the lone goal in the first quarter for Colorado.

The second quarter seemed much like the first. San Diego seemed to mark the Mammoth extinct. Two of San Diego’s four goals this quarter were scored by Casey Jackson. Buchanan added another goal, and Kyle Hartzell scored his first of the season. Eli McLaughlin contributed the lone goal for the Mammoth this quarter.

The third quarter had more Colorado than San Diego after what was presumably a tense Colorado locker room halftime discussion. Eli McLaughlin scored his second and third goals of the night and Kyle Killen scored two for the Mammoth. Dan Dawson, Turner Evans and Connor Kelly replied for the Seals.

Colorado continued their drive into the fourth quarter but it wasn’t enough to pull out the win. Ryan Lee scored one for Colorado. Jeff Wittig scored two, including one with an extra attacker as the Mammoth pressed. Garrett Billings added two more for San Diego and Cam Holding scored an empty net goal to finish the game.

Billings ended up with three goals and four assists for San Diego. Dan Dawson only contributed one goal for the Seals but added six assists as he continues to show that he is a viable threat on offense. Eli McLaughlin had three goals and three assists to lead Colorado.

San Diego’s strong offensive threat continues to show that this team doesn’t fit the “expansion team” mold at all. Nine different players scored for San Diego. The team also went two for two on power plays.

Merrill was happy with the full team effort on offence.

“We need to score goals by committee and not just rely on a couple of guys to get the job done. Everyone contributed tonight and that was a huge part of our success.”

San Diego will host Philadelphia on March 16th while Colorado plays Calgary the same night.

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