In an early contender for Game of the Year, the Vancouver Warriors fell in overtime to the San Diego Seals, 11–10.
The scoring was opened up right from the beginning, with Logan Schuss tallying first for the Warriors 20 seconds in. Keegan Bal followed up with a shot of the crossbar that was initially called a no-goal, but after a challenge by Coach Chris Gill, was overturned to give the Warriors a 2–0 lead in the first. The Seals then capitalized on a PowerPlay when Connor Fields scored his first of 4 goals on the night. Cam Holding followed, tying the game at 2.
“We have to keep working hard tonight. We need to stop their transition,” said Jordan McBride. The first quarter set the tempo for the rest of the game. Strong defense, superb goaltending, and a back and forth game on offense.
The Warriors started the 2nd down 2 men, and after killing their first penalty, Derek Lloyd came out of the box and ran the length of the field, notching his first career goal while shorthanded. After a Vancouver goal from Riley Loewen, the Seals went on a 3-goal streak, taking the lead.
The game continued in that manner, with each team scoring back and forth. Both goaltenders made incredible saves, keeping their defenses alive. At the end of the first half, the Seals held a 7–5 lead.
The keys for the second half for the Warriors were to “Play more consistent. We’ve given them some easy shots and they’re capitalizing,” said Vancouver head coach Chris Gill. In the second half, the game became even more tense.
The rivalry that ignited last season sparked up again for these Western conference teams. The defenses on each side hit hard, locked down the crease, and the goalies made fantastic saves from distance and on the doorstep to keep their teams alive.
Mitch Jones came on strong for the Warriors in the 3rd, scoring two back to back goals and tying the game at 7. Quick offense and dynamic ball movement allowed the Warriors to add a third consecutive goal, with Jordan McBride reclaiming the lead. Then, Graydon Bradley scored a goal in transition for San Diego, tying the game at 8 going into the 4th quarter.
Opening the 4th, Mitch Jones got his third goal of the night, but keeping with the theme of the game, the Seals answered almost immediately. Kyle Buchanan came in hot off the bench and tied the game back up at 9 just ten seconds after Jones’ goal.
Jordan McBride scored a goal on the doorstep to give the Warriors a one-goal lead, recording a hat trick for himself, as well. Connor Fields put in his 4th goal of the night for the Seals to tie the game at 10 with 8 minutes and 31 seconds left in regulation.
A few big hits and some penalties later, the defense’s held strong. Vancouver had a 4 on 3 advantage and couldn’t capitalize, then San Diego couldn’t score on their PowerPlay opportunity. Both goaltenders, Eric Penney for Vancouver and Frank Scigliano for San Diego, made exceptional stops and wouldn’t let the ball get past them. Locked at 10 goals apiece, the game went to overtime.
San Diego won the opening draw in overtime and called a quick timeout. After a set play and a great opportunity, Eric Penney made a huge save and the Warriors went on the attack. Carrying over his excellent regulation play, Scigliano came up with another big save.
A missed shot and a well-controlled rebound by Seals captain Brodie Merrill allowed a full-field fast break, and Merrill ended the game, sneaking a diving goal past Penney.
The Warriors fall to 1–2 on the season, but showed many positive aspects. The defense played well together, the offense had some breakout stars, and the goaltending was excellent.
The Warriors take on the Colorado Mammoth on Saturday, January 4th in Denver Colorado at 9:30pm ET/6:30pm PT. The game can be viewed on B/R Live.