The San Diego Seals concluded their inaugural regular season with their most one-sided defeat, an 18-7 loss to the Buffalo Bandits Saturday evening in a game with no bearing on the standings.
The Seals needed both a victory and a loss by Saskatchewan earlier Saturday, but the Rush assured themselves of the Western Division title and top seed in the division for the playoffs with a 13-8 victory over the Colorado Mammoth in Saskatoon.
The Seals finished the season 10-8 and second in the National Lacrosse League’s five-team Western Division. They will begin the playoffs by playing host to the third-seeded Calgary Roughnecks May 6 in a Western Division semifinal.
Calgary was also 10-8 in the regular season, including a 2-1 record against the Seals, with the home team winning every game.
The winner will face the winner of the Saskatchewan-Colorado semifinal in the Western Division final. The Seals would play at Saskatchewan but would play host to the Mammoth. The Western Division final will be played between May 10 and 13.
The Seals never led against Buffalo and were tied once, 1-1. The Bandits, who were assured of the Eastern Division championship before the start of the game, then scored the next four goals to lead 5-1 with two minutes, 29 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Seals one goal in the first quarter was a season low.
The Seals scored the first three goals of the second quarter, cutting the deficit to 5-4 9:20 before halftime. The Bandits scored the final four goals of the first half for a 9-4 halftime lead.
Buffalo increased its lead to 11-4 with the first two goals of the second half. Joe Walters scored his second goal of the game for the Seals with 5:16 left in the third quarter, but the Bandits scored the next five goals for a 16-5 lead with 11:32 left in the fourth quarter.
“We were bad at every facet of the game,” said Seals forward Dan Dawson, who had two goals and an assist. “I thought defensively we were trying to do a little too much. On offense, we were short and weren’t giving them the rest they deserve. We needed to be better.”
The Seals led in shots, 61-57, and scored on three of their five power- play opportunities before a crowd at Pechanga Arena San Diego announced at 8,357. Buffalo scored on all three of its power-play opportunities.
Jordan Durston and Chase Fraser each scored three goals for the Bandits (14-4). Josh Byrne, Chris Cloutier, Shawn Evans and Corey Small each scored twice and Mitch de Snoo, Ian MacKay, Dhane Smith and Nick Weiss once each.
Seals goaltender Frank Scigliano (10-7) made 29 saves and allowed 13 goals in 40:34. Backup Tyler Carlson made 10 and allowed five goals.
Bandits goaltender Matt Vinc (14-2) made 29 saves and allowed five goals in 41:13. Backup Zach Higgins made 25 saves and allowed two goals.
Turner Evans, Connor Kelly and Garrett McIntosh also scored for the Seals.
“In order to win games in this league, you have to be mentally prepared and you have to be motivated to play with a lot of heart,” Seals coach Patrick Merrill said. “If you don’t, games like this happen.”
— City News Service