Neither goaltender would give an inch, but in the end, only one can win.
Christian Del Bianco led his Calgary Roughnecks to a 9-5 victory over the visiting Frank Scigliano and the San Diego Seals Friday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The Roughnecks improved to 2-1 on the season, while the Seals fell to 1-1.
Del Bianco finished the evening with 46 saves on 51 shots, good for a .902 save percentage, and more importantly the Roughnecks’ second win of the season.
“In the fourth quarter when the game is on the line, it’s either you rise or you crumble, and obviously I want to rise,” said Del Bianco.
“At the end of the day, if we win 17-16 or 2-1, it doesn’t really change things for me as long as we’re getting the win.”
Scigliano was equally as impressive in the opposite goal, stopping 49 of the whopping 58 shots he faced in his return to Calgary.
Roughnecks head coach Curt Malawsky said it was “neat” to see Scigliano and Del Bianco facing off against each other after spending several years working together.
“It was great to see the respect and the admiration they have for each other. They’ve really built a true friendship and a true bond,” said Malawsky.
“I said before we played these guys that Scigliano is a world-class goaltender, and he proved it tonight. He was exceptional.”
After Rhys Duch opened the scoring for the home squad early in the first quarter, the Seals returned fire with goals by Brandon Clelland and Cam Holding to take a 2-1 lead. The two clubs would trade goals late in the second quarter, with the Seals taking a 3-2 lead into the break.
The same pattern continued throughout the third quarter before the Roughnecks took their first lead of the game early in the fourth quarter off a rocket of a shot from Duch to make it 5-4. The Seals would tie it shortly after on a goal from Turner Evans, before the Roughnecks rattled off four unanswered goals, including Dane Dobbie’s game-winner, to close out the fourth quarter and seal the win.
Once again, the Roughnecks played a disciplined lacrosse game, finding themselves shorthanded just four times in the game.
Malawsky said it takes a great deal of mental strength to stay out of the sin bin in lacrosse, and his team continues to do so.
“It’s not easy, but you just need to have that mental toughness and stick with it,” said Malawsky.
“Discipline is mental fortitude and our guys had mental fortitude tonight.”
Once again, it was Duch coming up big for his new club, finishing with five points (three goals, two assists) on the evening.
Duch said he’s now starting to find his groove after struggling with his confidence level in his most recent foot injury.
“I’ve been playing with zero confidence in my foot for a long time. It’s tough to mentally wrap your head around an injury that lasts that long,” said Duch
“Most importantly, it’s about getting confidence in my foot, and I’m getting it and the team’s helping me find success with the plays and the procedures that we’re going with.”
While he certainly made a valiant effort, Scigliano was unable to leave with the win in his first game fielding shots from his former team.
After spending seven seasons with the Roughnecks, Scigliano said he did his best not to focus on where the game was being played, and just tried to focus on the task at hand.
“I tried not to think too much about it during the week. I’m a pretty emotional guy, so I tried not to let my emotions get the best of me,” said Scigliano.
“I have a lot of buddies on that squad, obviously, but come game-day they’re the opponent.”
Scigliano was selected in the sixth round of the 2018 expansion draft to be the starting net-minder for the Seals.
He said he has a great team playing in front of him and is looking forward to seeing what they can accomplish in their inaugural season.
“We have a great squad, and it’s been grade-A being down in San Diego,” said Scigliano.
“They’re a grade-A organization and I have nothing but good things to say of my time so far.”