The Seals defense just couldn’t stop the rampant Albany offense, who were on fire, and the Firewolves got just enough stops from their defense.
The San Diego offense that had answered every single Firewolves punch with one of their own for the first three periods were unable to come up with enough answers in the final quarter, as the Firewolves withstood the rampant Seals attacks in the final moments. Wesley Berg and Austin Staats each had four goal games for the Seals, but thats wasn’t enough as the Seals lost, 13-12, snapping a six-game winning streak.
The game started quickly, with the Seals striking less than two minutes into the game. Cameron Holding scored on a counterattack that was started by Seals goalkeeper Frank Scigliano, but Albany answered on their very next possession. Joe Resetarits, who is third in goals and fourth in points for the National Lacrosse League (NLL), added his 26th goal to even the scoring. Resetarits ended up posting two goals and three assists on the night, but most of his production came in the second quarter. Both teams had a goal ruled out in the final five minutes of the first quarter, San Diego’s for shooting while behind the goal, and Albany’s for having a foot inside the crease as the shot was released. While the quarter ended tied, the Seals outshot the Firewolves, 16-8, but strong goaltending by Doug Jamieson kept the game deadlocked.
After the first quarter proved to be a defensive slugfest, the second quarter quickly became an offensive shootout.
The two teams combined for 13 goals in the period, four of which came from Seals forward Wesley Berg. Austin Staats put the Seals into the lead with his first goal of the night less than a minute into the period. Albany answered back a minute and a half later on Charlie Kitchen’s goal, but the tie game lasted just 14 seconds before Zack Greer restored the Seals’ advantage.
Unfortunately for the Seals, the Albany shooters went rampant, scoring on three consecutive possessions, with eventual first star Jacob Reust and Resetarits scoring, along with Riley O’Conner. The Seals quickly tied the game up, as Wesley Berg scored twice in two minutes, but Reust and Andrew Kew quickly extended the lead back to two, this time at 7-5. The Seals’ offense heated up in the final minutes, though, as Austin Staats brought the Seals within one with a devilish behind the back shot, and then Wesley Berg finished his four-goal night with a pair of power-play goals to give the Seals the lead heading into the break after a thrilling quarter of lacrosse.
Staats extended the Seals lead and finished his hat trick with a goal early in the second half, but Albany battled back. The Seals committed their first penalty of the game, a dead ball foul, and the Firewolves took advantage. The Seals had the best penalty kill in the entire NLL, but they were no match for Reust on his way to a four-goal performance. Andrew Kew drew the Firewolves level, and then Ryan Benesch gave Albany the lead for the first time since the midpoint of the second quarter. Things appeared to get even worse for the Seals, as Drew Belgrave was called for a tripping penalty. But Staats fought through two Firewolves before firing it into the net to tie the game with a short-handed goal, just twenty seconds before the period ended.
It was anyone’s game headed into the fourth quarter, but the Firewolves came out much better. They scored under a minute into the period, added a second just 32 seconds later, allowing Kew to complete his hat trick, and put the Seals into a big hole. Tre Leclaire grabbed a rebound and slotted it home to halve the deficit, but the Albany advantage was restored moments later with Reust’s fourth goal. Jeremy Noble did score with 3:33 to play, which gave the Seals hope, and despite pulling Scigliano for the extra attacker, the time ran out, and the Firewolves just held on.
The Seals still maintain their spot atop the Western Conference and will get right back to it at home on Friday night against the Calgary Roughnecks.