The San Diego Seals were 17-12 winners over the Colorado Mammoth in their labor-delayed debut Saturday evening in Denver, with forward Austin Staats, the first choice in the National Lacrosse League entry draft, scoring five goals and assisting on four others.
The Seals took the lead for good on Turner Evans’ goal eight minutes, 35 seconds before halftime. Consecutive goals by Connor Kearnan, Casey Jackson and Brodie Merrill increased the Seals lead to 8-4 with 3:09 left in the first half. Mammoth transition player Joey Cupido scored the first half’s final goal with 48 seconds to play, cutting the deficit to 8-5.
Colorado scored four consecutive goals to pull within one, 10-9, with 9:14 left in the third, but the Seals scored the next four goals, two by Staats and one each by Evans and Tor Reinholdt to take a 14-9 lead with 2:20 to play in the quarter.
Mammoth forward Eli McLaughlin scored the final goal of the third quarter, cutting the lead to 14-10 before a crowd at the Pepsi Center announced at 13,407.
Staats and Kearnan scored the first two goals of the fourth quarter. McLaughlin scored with 6:42 left, pulling to within five, 16-11, but Colorado could not get any closer.
“I felt that we were a determined group tonight,” Seals coach-general manager Patrick Merrill said. “It was a special night for them and they rose to the occasion.”
The Seals were outshot, 56-51. Seals goaltender Frank Scigliano made 44 saves. Dillion Ward made 21 saves and allowed 13 goals for the Mammoth (0-1) in the opening 39:18. He was relieved by Steve Fryer 5:42 into the third quarter. Fryer made 13 saves and allowed three goals in 20:41.
The Seals scored on power their power-play opportunities. Colorado scored on its only power-play opportunity.
Defenseman Garrett McIntosh scored the Seals first goal, 6:56 into the first quarter.
Kyle Buchanan, Evans, Jackson and Kearnan each scored twice for the Seals. Connor Holding, McIntosh, Merrill and Reinholdt each scored once for the Seals.
The Seals will play twice more on the road — Friday at Calgary and Jan. 5 at Saskatchewan — before their first game at Pechanga Arena San Diego on Jan. 12 against the Rochester Knighthawks.
The Seals had been scheduled to play their home opener Dec. 8 but the NLL canceled the first two weekends of play on Nov. 15 after it was unable to reach an agreement with its players’ union on a new collective bargaining agreement. The new agreement was announced Nov. 24 and the Seals began training camp Nov. 30.
Indoor lacrosse is played on hockey rinks covered by a green dieter turf carpet that is laid down over the hockey ice.
Each team has five runners — forwards, transition players and defensemen and a goaltender — on the floor during the game, with players rotating on and off the floor in shifts, similar to hockey. The game consists of four 15-minute quarters. A game tied at the end of regulation is decided in sudden-death overtime.
— City News Service
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