In the San Diego Seals‘ regular season finale against the Buffalo Bandits, the Seals lost 18-7, resulting in the Seals entering the playoffs as the #2 seed.
In the team’s regular season finale against the Buffalo Bandits, the San Diego Seals lost 18-7. A packed Pechanga Arena full of enthused lacrosse fans went home feeling down, but with the NLL playoffs beginning on Monday, May 6 there is room for optimism.
The Seals are set to play the Calgary Roughnecks in the western division semifinals game at 7:30 p.m on Monday at Pechanga. The Seals clinched the number two seed in the playoffs and home-field advantage on April 19.
Like the NBA, teams from the Eastern and Western conference make the postseason. Unlike the NBA, where eight teams from each conference make the playoffs, only four teams from each conference make the playoffs in box lacrosse.
On Saturday night, the Seals had an opportunity to clinch the number one seed out West. They had to beat the Bandits and the Colorado Mammoth had to beat the Saskatchewan Rush. Neither happened.
The season finale resulted in a dismal 11 point loss for the Seals. The team was held to a season low one goal in the first period and could not sustain any momentum.
San Diego cut the lead to 5-4 midway through the second quarter, but the Bandits quickly figured it out and expanded their lead 9-4 going into the break. The Seals were outshot 30 to 22 after two quarters.
Head Coach and general manager Patrick Merrill took note of his team’s lackluster play.
“In order to win games in this league you have to mentally prepare, you have to be motivated to play with a lot of heart and if you don’t these things happen.”
For the Bandits, Shawn Evans finished with six assists and two goals while his teammates Jordan Durston and Chase Fraser ended up each accomplishing the hat trick. Both finished with three goals.
San Diego found it difficult to get solid scoring opportunities in the game, turning the ball over and committing multiple shot clock violations. The Seals also committed five penalties and Buffalo took advantage of San Diego’s mistakes, going 3-3 on power plays.
Seals’ forward and captain Dan Dawson said this game will not linger on the team’s mind.
“We got to forget about this one. There was not one facet of the game where they didn’t control,” Dawson said. “When they control the game like that we can’t even compete with them.”
Dawson finished with 29 goals on the season he scored two and assisted on one against the Bandits on Saturday.
Even in a ruckus environment the Bandits found their offense early as Forwards Josh Byrne, Durston and Evans combined for five goals and four assists in the first half.
Merill has taken notice of the strong home crowd/fan base.
“It’s been a great ride so far [Playing in San Diego]” Merill said, “I wish we would’ve gave them a better game here tonight, but we plan to give them a better game next week [Against Calgary].”
The Seals are apart of the Nation Lacrosse League (NLL). The NLL has been around for 32 years and is the world’s only professional box lacrosse league. The Seals are an expansion team of the league, the NLL has 13 total teams.
The NLL ranks third in average attendance for professional indoor sports, behind the NHL and NBA.
The NLL rosters are made up of 21 players, six players including the goalie can be on the field during play. The game is made up of four 15 minute quarters, a 30 second shot clock, and a sudden death overtime. Body checks are allowed, but penalties are called for: high sticking, boarding, face masking, fighting, spearing, elbowing, holding, illegal cross-checking, slashing, and tripping.
Written by: Daniel Farr