The San Diego Seals won their inaugural game in Colorado and now face a much tougher challenge…winning game two. That is not a compliment to the Calgary Roughnecks it is a reality of the nature of sport. You always hear championship teams say winning the first Cup is much easier than winning the second. Deny it as athletes will, winning that first game or first championship is satisfying. For their opponents though it is placing a bullseye on them to remove that satisfaction.

A powerplay that is still missing Curtis Dickson and Wesley Berg cannot be given multiple opportunities to score. After three consecutive saves by Frank Scigliano and three consecutive rebounds by the Roughnecks, shot number four opens the scoring. I cannot wait until Dickson and Berg come back and join Dane Dobbie and Rhys Duch on the powerplay unit.

The Seals possession after Christian Del Bianco robbed super rookie Austin Staats, they hit the scoreboard. A textbook “touchdown pass” by Scigliano to Brandon Clelland for the breakaway and the nice finish.

After back-to-back saves by Scigliano on the opening possession of the Roughnecks second powerplay, the Seals penalty killers became the story. Spending a minute in the opposing zone and forcing a clock violation on defence. The main takeaway from the Roughnecks third powerplay was the not one but two Seals 2-on-1 scoring opportunities. Del Bianco has completely shaken off his rough start to start the season.

Casey Jackson has enough room in front of Del Bianco to do the stupid “floss dance” as the Necks put two men on Staats. Unfortunately the goal scored is disallowed as Jackson stepped in the crease. Adrian Sorichetti with his second penalty of the game for being over-exuberant. The Roughnecks fire their 19th shot in the dying seconds of the opening quarter. The Seals open the second quarter still shorthanded but turn a faceoff win into a goal and a 2-1 lead. The abysmal Necks powerplay prematurely ends when Zach Currier takes a penalty.

Another Seals penalty gave a handful of seconds of rare 4-on-3 play. The Necks got a good shot away during those dozen seconds but another big save was made by Scigliano. During the 4-on-4 play, the best chance went to the Seals with the goalpost earning a love tap by Del Bianco. The Seals first full powerplay started strongly with a couple of shots.

Tyler Pace with a great shift on the penalty kill causing an eight second violation as the Seals could not get it past center. Moments after the successful penalty kill Chris Boushy scores for Roughies to make it 2-2. The tie game only lasted 1:16 as Dangerous Dan Dawson put San Diego back out front.

The Roughnecks powerplay finishes the first half 1-for-7. If the hockey fan in you thinks that bad consider the following. The Pittsburgh Penguins led the NHL last year in powerplay percentage at 26.1%. Last season Georgia had the NLL’s worst powerplay at 34.25%. A 3-2 game at the half in lacrosse does not scream exciting but it has been an entertaining game. Scigliano with 29 saves in half, he only faced 25 shots at this point in the Seals opener. Del Bianco has had a post and crossbar assist him in keeping pace with his counterpart. For new fans in San Diego, please note a combined 5 goal half truly is an exception to the rule.

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Dobbie with the gorgeous behind the back pass to Dan Taylor to tie the game at 3.

In transition Johnny Pearson with the hockey equivalent of a toe drag move to go around Greg Harnett for an in-close shot on Del Bianco which trickles wide. Next possession the Seals again attack on transition forcing another Del Bianco save. Then, for what seems like the first time in the game, the Roughnecks had a good transition opportunity with a Currier partial break.

The “slap pass” to Jackson behind the net led to a classic “air Gait” goal. Gary Gait scored so many goals for flying through the crease from behind the net they named the move after it. Put “air Gait” in your search engine, lots of video footage mainly but be warned it’s mostly from field lacrosse.

The Roughnecks first powerplay of second half is a clinic in settling for the shot. The first four shots by the Necks were done with nobody moving. When Dobbie finally did score on the man advantage it was when he rolled off of a pick.

Reece Callies tries to dive and swat the ball back to avoid an over-and-back call. With the swing on miss Cam Holding goes in all alone on Del Bianco and is robbed.

Through the quarters we are tied at four but San Diego has been the better team. Hard to believe the Roughnecks have not won a faceoff yet. Where’s Geoff Snider when you need him? The +13 on shot clock in favour of the necks is heavily skewed by 8-2 advantage in powerplays.

4th quarter starts with another Seals faceoff win, another breakaway and another save by Del Bianco. Scigliano is going to be the goalie that gets talked about because of the volume of shots he has faced but Del Bianco thus far has been the Riggers first star. Duch gives the Necks their first lead of the game 47:13 into the game. It is the first time in 68:23 the Seals have trailed in a game.

Seals tie the game on the powerplay on a goal that drew an audible “wow” from me. Watch that replay and appreciate the beauty this rough game can conjure up.

In transition Dobbie gets down the floor a half step ahead of Quinn MacKay. The shot ends up in Scigliano’s armpit who then falls into the net. The call on the floor was a goal, after review the referee agreed with my assessment and Calgary take a 6-5 lead. Even more exciting is the fact the Riggers finally won a faceoff.

The Necks choosing a bad time to lose some of their discipline as the Seals go on their second powerplay of the quarter. After dueling scoring opportunities, Mitch Wilde scores a shorthanded goal to make it 7-5. Boushey scores the 8th Roughnecks goal and first one that Scigliano would that back. Duch finishes his hat-trick with another shot the Seals goalie would like back. Game taking a different complexion now that the Necks are winning face offs.

The Seals powerplay with 2:27 remaining in the game becomes nothing more than a textbook display of the opposing team ragging the ball and killing the clock. It was also nice to see the respect the Roughnecks have for their former longtime goalie as when they had the last possession of the game they did not attempt to score. In a salute to Dolly Parton the Necks win 9-5.

The Not-so Technical San Diego Seals Vs Calgary Roughnecks Game Report

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