Rush Earn Win Over Seals, Get Eliminated from Playoffs Anyway

The Saskatchewan Rush host the San Diego Seals at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, April 23, 2022 (Photo credit: Saskatchewan Rush/NLL)

On Saturday night, the Saskatchewan Rush came back from a three-goal deficit at halftime to beat the San Diego Seals 17-14. The win improved Saskatchewan’s record to 7-10, putting them in a tie with the expansion Panther City Lacrosse Club, while the Seals (9-8) dropped their sixth straight game, after taking the league by storm early in the season.

After trading goals early in the game, the Seals went on a three-goal run late in the quarter and added a fourth to their streak early in the second quarter. A flurry of goals exchanged over the next three minutes brought the score to 7-4 in favour of the Seals, after which both defences were able to silence their opponents for the remainder of the first half.

A fight between Eli Gobrecht and Ryan Dilks broke out right off the opening faceoff of the third quarter and seemed to spark both teams—the quarter saw 12 goals scored, with the Rush finally tying the game at the 14:11 mark, only to have the Seals retake the lead with only three seconds left on the clock.

Saskatchewan opened the fourth quarter with a four-goal run of their own, quickly jumping out to a lead that they would not relinquish the rest of the way.

Mark Matthews led all players on the night with nine points (one goal, eight assists) while Robert Church scored four times for the Rush. The Seals were paced by Jeremy Noble and Austin Staats, who earned four goals and four assists each.

In spite of the win, the Rush were eliminated from the postseason—because of the playoff format this year (the top three teams in the West and top four in the East make it, plus one wildcard team, with the next best record overall), either the Albany Attack, Philadelphia Wings, or Georgia Swarm will take the final playoff spot

The win sets up a battle for fourth place in the West Division Saturday night between the Rush and PCLC. With both teams out fo the playoff picture, the Saskatchewan-Panther City matchup is for pride and draft position.

It also means that this will be the first time the Rush miss the playoffs since they moved to Saskatchewan in 2016; the last time the franchise missed the postseason was 2011 when they were still in Edmonton.

Meanwhile, the Seals try to break their losing streak against the slumping Vancouver Warriors, also on Saturday night.