Seals blow lead, now face elimination

Credit: SD Seals

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San Diego Seals

In a devastating collapse, the San Diego Seals threw away a three-goal halftime lead and lost 14-12.

While they tied the game twice in the fourth, they just could not stop the Colorado Mammoth’s attack. San Diego allowed the fewest goals per game in the NLL regular season, but the 14 that Colorado scored proved devastating. The Seals got plenty of offense from their superstar Dane Dobbie, who scored four times, but he could not drag San Diego to a much-needed win. The Seals now face elimination as they head to Colorado, trailing 1-0 in the three-game series. 

The game started extremely frantically, as the Mammoth took the lead with the first shot of the game. Zed Williams fired it past Frank Scigliano, giving Colorado a perfect start. The lead did not last long, as Austin Staats tied the game just over a minute later before regular season points leader Wesley Berg gave the Seals the lead just past the three-minute mark.

It was a feisty game, and a penalty for elbowing on Colorado antagonized San Diego, leading to offsetting roughing penalties. However, due to the elbowing penalty, the Seals were on the power play. Casey Jackson took advantage, scoring to double the advantage. Jackson’s goal was set up by Dane Dobbie and Austin Staats, who each pieced together a pair of beautiful behind-the-back passes to open up space for Jackson. Colorado tied the game with two goals in thirty seconds, the first coming from Williams before Connor Robinson tied the game. However, rookie Tre Leclaire put the Seals back in front, before assisting Jackson’s second goal of the night. San Diego scored five of their 11 shots in the period, shooting extremely sharply.

The Mammoth, who looked rattled for much of the first period, dominated the early portion of the second. They struck twice in the first three minutes as Robinson put together an early hat trick. The Seals eventually found their footing, as Jeremy Noble snagged a rebound before scoring to break the deadlock. Tre Leclaire picked up a penalty, but the Seals stayed hot, scoring a short-handed goal. Patrick Shoemay picked up a pass from Dane Dobbie to score his third goal of the postseason. Shoemay, a rookie, did not score in the regular season, but he’s come up huge for the Seals so far in the playoffs.

Williams did take advantage of the penalty to finish off his hat trick, but San Diego remained out front. Veteran scorer Dane Dobbie scored two goals in the final three and a half minutes of the half, extending the lead. Dobbie, who won NLL MVP in 2018-2019, just took over at the end of the half, controlling the game.

While the end of the first half was all Seals, the Mammoth flipped the script in the second half. Colorado scored five straight, turning a three-goal deficit into a two-goal advantage. Eli McLaughlin got it started for the Mammoth before Joey Cupido brought the game within one just forty seconds later. McLauglin scored again on a power play which saw the Mammoth pick up two rebounds, as the Seals just couldn’t get possession. With the game tied, Robinson scored his fourth of the night, before Williams matched him with his fourth, completing the five goal run. Mac O’Keefe fired in a long shot to stop the bleeding, but the Seals still headed to the fourth down a goal after being in control for most of the first half.

After relentless pressure, the Seals drew level via Dane Dobbie’s fourth goal of the night. Dobbie ended a nine-minute scoreless streak for the game, but just a few minutes later, Colorado pulled back ahead. Tre Leclaire’s second goal of the night tied the game at 12, bringing the energy back into Pechanga Arena, but a minute and a half later the Mammoth led by two. Williams scored his fifth of the night, which eventually proved to be the winner. As San Diego pushed for the win, tempers overflowed as Dane Dobbie picked up a penalty for roughing with a minute left. Dobbie was serenaded as he walked into the box, but the Seals superstar looked crestfallen with the results.

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San Diego’s usually reliable defense was nowhere to be found, as the Mammoth scored at least three goals in every period. Zed Williams scored four goals, while Connor Robinson scored five to lead the Mammoth. 

They’ll look to force Game 3 next weekend, as they’ll take on the Mammoth in Denver.

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