The San Diego Seals allowed the first three goals of the second half and never got closer than three goals the rest of the way in a 16-12 loss to the Saskatchewan Rush on Saturday evening in National Lacrosse League game at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
The Seals trailed 10-8 at halftime after allowing Mark Mathews’ goal with four seconds left in the second quarter when the defending NLL Cup champion Rush were employing an extra attacker on a delayed penalty.
Jeff Shattler scored twice and Ben McIntosh once in the opening seven minutes, 45 seconds of the third quarter to increase Saskatchewan’s lead to 13- 8. The Seals cut the deficit to 13-10 entering the fourth quarter on back-to-back goals by Turner Evans and Austin Staats.
Kyle Buchanan’s goal with 11:36 left to play again pulled the Seals within three, 14-11, but they allowed the next two goals and didn’t score again until Staats’ power-play goal with three seconds remaining.
“We thought we held in and played a solid first half,” Seals coach Patrick Merrill said after his team lost its second consecutive game to drop to 1-2. “We had some turnovers and breakdowns against a championship-caliber team. They’ll make you pay for your mistakes and they did.
“We couldn’t stop their run in the second half and that was the difference in the game.”
The Seals were outshot 63-49. Seals goaltender Frank Scigliano (1-2) made 47 saves. Evan Kirk (1-1) made 37 for the Rush.
Staats led the Seals with four goals while Buchanan, Evans and Garrett Billings each scored twice. Dan Dawson and Adrian Sorichetti, two of the four Seals who played for Saskatchewan last season, both scored in the second quarter.
McIntosh led the Rush with five goals, Shattler added four, Matthews two and Matthew Dinsdale, Curtis Knight, Jordi Jones-Smith, Ryan Keenan and Connor Robinson one each.
Billings opened the scoring 2:38 into the game, scored in the second quarter to tie the score 7-7 and had four assists in his first NLL game since 2017. The 32-year-old is the NLL’s all-time leader in assists per game, averaging 3.99.
The Seals will play their first game at Pechanga Arena San Diego next Saturday against the Rochester Knighthawks.
— City News Service
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