Eduardo Curros – Pacific Correspondent, All Lacrosse All The Time
The San Diego Seals held their home opener at Pechanga Arena Saturday night. Expectations are high for the Seals after another earlier than expected playoff exit last season. The Seals made some significant personnel changes in the off-season, specifically the acquisitions of faceoff guru Trevor Baptiste and four-time Defensive Player of the Year Kyle Rubisch.
Their opponents, the Calgary Roughnecks, underwent their own changes after the departure of Curt Malawsky and his coaching staff to Vancouver. Calgary was also looking to bounce back after squandering a five-goal lead in a Week 1 loss to Rochester. The Roughnecks once again led in the second half, but a Seals rally tied the score. San Diego then shut out Calgary in the final frame to win 12-9. Next up for the Seals is a trip to Buffalo to face the defending champion Bandits. Meanwhile, the Roughnecks look to regroup after falling to 0-2.
Roughnecks hold slim lead at half
Haiden Dickson opened the scoring for Calgary at 3:41, with assists from Tanner Cook and Jesse King. Austin Staats tied the game at 8:26. Jesse King scored a power play goal at 10:13, then goaltender Christian Del Bianco found Shane Simpson for a follow-up goal at 12:27 to give Calgary a 3-1 lead after one quarter.
San Diego started the second quarter by scoring two goals to tie the game. First, a power play goal from Austin Staats, assisted by Kyle Jackson at 2:13. Next, Tre LeClaire scored at 7:43, with a helper from Austin Staats. However, Tyler Pace scored with 41 seconds left to give the Roughnecks a 4-3 lead at halftime.
Seals rally to tie in third, win in fourth
Calgary expanded their lead with Jesse King and Thomas Hoggarth setting up Pace on the power play 27 seconds into the third quarter. Simpson’s second goal of the game at 4:15 made it 6-3. The next four goals began the Seals rally. Curtis Dickson scored at 4:57. Staats then added goals at 7:18 and 9:57. Kyle Jackson then gave San Diego their first lead of the game at 10:54, with help from Curtis Dickson and Dane Dobbie.
However, Tyler Pace replied with help from Jesse King and Tanner Cook at 11:21. Tre LeClaire put San Diego back on top 24 seconds later, and Curtis Dickson’s second goal at 12:51 from Wes Berg and LeClaire put the Seals up 9-7. Calgary countered with Pace’s fourth goal of the game at 13:15 and Haiden Dickson’s second goal at 13:36. The score was 9-9 entering the final quarter, where the Seals would shut Calgary out. Wes Berg gave San Diego the lead for good 1:07 into the quarter. Dane Dobbie added a pair at 5:23 and 11:33 to close out the 12-9 win.
Baptiste won 20 of 27 draws in his Seals debut. Staats finished with four goals and two assists, while Curtis Dickson has two goals and four assists. Christopher Origleri got the start in net for San Diego and made 34 saves in the win, including every Calgary shot in the fourth quarter. King had a goal and six assists for Calgary, while Tanner Cook had five assists. In another sign that the game is growing out west, notable celebrities at the game included former San Diego Charges quarterback Drew Brees and Bret Michaels, frontman for 80’s rock legends Poison.
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“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk was formally introduced to box lacrosse when he attended a New England Black Wolves game on a whim in 2016. Instantly hooked, he has since become an avid follower of the National Lacrosse League. Following the postponement of the 2019-2020 NLL season, he was offered the chance to share his wealth of statistical knowledge and unique insights with the lacrosse community at large. He cheerfully accepted, and currently serves as Edge of Philly’s correspondent for both the Albany FireWolves and New York Riptide.