Shawn Slaght, All Lacrosse All The Time – A Division of the Edge of Philly Sports Network
The Saskatchewan Rush fell 12-11 on home floor on Saturday night to drop the season series with the San Diego Seals.
It was the rubber match heading into the matchup with each team winning one game apiece, but with was the boys from the west coast that came out on top to take the season series 2-1.
Although he finished the game with only two goals and three assists, it was a historic night for Dane Dobbie. His behind-the-back shorthanded goal in the first quarter was number 500 of his career. He is only the seventh player in league history to reach that benchmark.
Even though the Rush came up short, it was a huge night for Clark Walter. The Port Coquitlam product scored a career-high five goals and added an assist. Walter was drafted by the Rush in the third round, 43rd overall, in the 2020 draft and had been bounced on and off the practice roster throughout his career.
Seals jump out to a quick lead
San Diego would get a quick start to this game, starting things off with a four-goal run. Tre Leclaire opened the scoring off a feed from Cam Holding 4:09 into the first quarter.
Shortly after that, history would be made. Dobbie would let a shot go from behind his back that beat Alex Buque to become only the seventh player in NLL history to reach the 500-goal mark.
Patrick Shoemay would then case a turnover around midfield and dished it to Leclaire on transition to make it 3-0. Austin Staats would round out the run with a goal with 5:31 on the clock.
Robert Church finally got the Rush on the board with only five seconds left in the quarter to make it 4-1 at the first break.
Defenses take over in the second
It was a defensive battle in the second quarter as both teams were only able to muster up one goal a piece.
Wes Berg opened the scoring 10 seconds into the quarter as he dived across the crease for the marker. Church replied 3:54 later, taking a touch pass from Mark Matthews and burying into past Frankie Scigliano, who got the start for the Seals.
Seals go up big in the third
San Diego opened the second half scoring at 11:22 with Jesse Gamble finding the back of the net on transition. It had been a long time coming as it was Gamble’s first goal since May 6, 2017.
Walter scored on the run at the 7:11 mark to get Saskatchewan back within three, but the Seals would go on a three-goal run in a span of 1:25.
Mac O’Keefe got the run started at 3:51 followed by “The Big Cat” Kevin Crowley 42 seconds later. Curtis Dickson scored at 2:26 to make it 9-3 for San Diego.
Church completed his hat trick with 1:57, but Berg would reply 37 seconds later to make it 10-4 heading into the fourth quarter.
Rush comeback falls short
Saskatchewan put up a fight in the fourth quarter, outscoring San Diego 7-2 in the final frame. However, it wasn’t enough for the home squad to complete the comeback as the Seals would take the season series.
Church scored 38 seconds into the fourth quarter. At that point, Church had scored four of Saskatchewan’s five goals.
Dobbie’s powerplay marker at 12:24 would make it 11-5, but Walter would find the back of the net at 9:03 to keep the Rush within five.
Shoemay picked up his first goal on the season on transition with an assist from Brodie Merrill 38 seconds later to restore the Seals’ six-goal cushion.
Cue the comeback attempt as the Rush would finish the game with five goals in a span of over six minutes.
Mike Messenger sent a message at 6:44 to make it 12-7. Just over two minutes later, Walter would score again for his first career hat trick in the NLL. He’d strike again 29 seconds later to make it 12-9.
Dan Lintner got the Rush within two goals with 48 seconds left on the clock leaving us with an exciting finish. Walter scored his fifth goal with 35.3 seconds left in the game to make it 12-11.
San Diego won the ensuing faceoff and immediately called a timeout. Coming out of the timeout, the Rush double-teamed the ball carrier and caused a turnover. Saskatchewan got the ball down the field and Church had a glorious chance to tie the game with about eight seconds left but couldn’t bury it. You can watch the whole sequence below:
With the 12-11 win, the Seals now team the season series with the Rush 2-1.
Rush head coach Jimmy Quinlan commented about his team’s performance on Saturday night.
Walter spoke to the media following a six-point game.
Robert Church, 4g 3a
Clark Walter, 5g 1a
Ryan Keenan, 6a
San Diego Seals
Wes Berg, 2g 4a
Dane Dobbie, 2g 3a
Patrick Shoemay, 1g 2a
Tre Leclaire, 2g 1a
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Shawn Slaght has been a sports reporter across the Canadian prairies for over 10 years and has experience covering everything from junior hockey to World Cup skiing to all levels of lacrosse. He is the Saskatchewan correspondent for All Lacrosse All The Time.