Kevin M. Neibauer
LaxPhilly– A Division of the Edge of Philly Sports Network
The Philadelphia Wings (9-10) ventured across the country to battle the San Diego Seals (11-8) in opening round playoff action. The 6,726 fans at the Pechanga Arena were treated to heart stopping action all evening, with their hometown Seals holding on for the 9-8 victory.
Both squads showed much promise with explosive offenses, and solid defenses to start the 2022 campaign. Both teams also had long stretches where they struggled. The Wings had to squeak into the playoffs with an overtime victory over Georgia on the last day of the season. The Seals didn’t know if they would finish first, second, or third in their division until the last night as well.
The goalie match-up had Zach Higgins in net for Philadelphia against Frank Scigliano for the Seals.
To the game…
The Seals opened the scoring on the power play when Wes Berg (2g,1a) scored with assists from Dane Dobbie and Austin Staats at 3:30. Dobbie (2g,2a) then scored himself at 5:03 and the Seals looked to be swimming freely.
The Wings showed their character with a strong comeback. Steph Charbonneau (1g) buried a transition set up from netminder Zach Higgins at 11:37, then Kiel Matisz (2g) netted a power play tally just over a minute later tying the score at 2.
With just 1:02 left in the quarter, Wes Berg scored his second of the game to give the Seals the lead after one quarter.
After one quarter, Seals 3 Wings 2.
San Diego kept the pressure up to start the second quarter. Eli Gobrecht set up Patrick Shoemay (2g,0a) for his first of two on the night after just 0:40 seconds. Philly countered with a Matt Rambo (3g) power play goal, with assists going to Kevin Crowley and Ben McIntosh.
The teams exchanged goals once more before the half was over. Jeremy Noble (1g,3a) converted a Dane Dobbie pass at 10:41, but Kyle Jackson (2g) answered for Philadelphia at 14:41, leaving the Seals up by one at the half.
At the half, San Diego 5 Philadelphia 4.
The Wings opened the third quarter scoring when Crowley, and McIntosh went to work setting up Matt Rambo with his second of the game at the 6:12 mark, tying the game 5-5.
Austin Staats (2g,3a) hit rope at 10:26 with a beautiful individual effort, and again just 0:23 seconds later also with a highlight reel goal.
Kyle Matisz converted a Kevin Crowley pass on the power play at 11:38, but Patrick Shoemay’s second goal of the game answered that just 1:17 later. Rambo then tickled the twine with 0:28 seconds left in the quarter to close out the third.
After three quarters, Seals 8 Wings 7.
To the Fourth:
The intensity was electric inside Pechanga, with both teams having many chances on either side. Both netminders were doing everything short of standing on their heads, keeping their team in the game.
Dane Dobbie scored his second of the game firing a laser over Zach Higgins shoulder at 6:58 to increase the lead by two, but Kyle Jackson scored at 10:32 and we had a one goal game again.
The action was frantic the rest of the way, with both teams seasons on the line, but a play by Broadie Merrill with just seconds left in the game, sealed the victory for San Diego.
Final Score, San Diego 8 Philadelphia 7.
• San Diego moves on to face the Colorado Mammoth in a best of three challenge.
• Shots on Goal had a 49-43 Seals edge.
• San Diego won the loose ball battle 69-60.
• Goaltenders were a big part of the story with San Diego’s Frank Scigliano making 37 saves and Philly’s Zach Higgins stopping 40.
• Philadelphia’s Trevor Baptiste was almost unbeatable on faceoffs, going 17 of 21.
• Baptiste scooped 13 loose balls with Eli Gobrecht snatching 10. Philly’s Alex Pace and the Seals Brodie Merrill each had 9.
Seals Holds On to Move On
Kevin has followed and promoted the game of lacrosse since May 19, 1974.
The same day the Philadelphia Flyers won the Cup, the Philadelphia Wings were introduced to Neibauer and Philadelphia.
Kevin has covered many sports, including baseball, football, basketball, and.. lacrosse. A former licensed football referee and baseball umpire, Kevin brings a unique insight to his game coverage.
A published writer in JustHockey Magazine, Kevin covered the American Hockey League as well as a monthly story on a pugilist where Kevin used the pen name, The Rink Rat. Neibauer turned his attentions to lacrosse for a few years and does his part, whether podcasting or writing to grow the game. Kevin branched out to his roots and currently provides insight for all Philadelphia teams for Edge of Philly as well as his full-time duties with LaxPhilly.