The San Diego Seals will play host to the Saskatchewan Rush this Sunday for what looks to be a quality divisional match up. The game is set for 1:00 PT at Pechanga Arena.
Both teams are coming off of wins. The Seals just notched their first on December 29th in a signature overtime victory in Vancouver, bringing them up to 1-3 on the season and just two games back from the West Division-leading Mammoth.
The Rush are currently sitting at 2-1 after a decisive win over the Riptide in late December that improved their road record to 2-0. The only loss Saskatchewan sustained this year came in an 8-12 home opener at the hands of the 3-0 East Division-best New England Blackwolves. The Rush will look to build on their road momentum and try to put themselves in the division leader conversation on Sunday.
The Seals hope to settle into a groove, even without forwards Casey Jackson (37 goals, 26 assists in 2019) and Austin Staats (32 goals, 29 assists in 2019), who have not yet been activated from injured reserve. Coach Patrick Merrill spoke to it thusly, “Casey and Austin, when they do return, are for sure going to give a huge boost to our offense. But we think we have enough to be winning games right now and putting up more numbers than we have.”
Hustle plays like the highlight tape game-winning jumper from captain Brodie Merrill have compensated for some of their lost production but the Seals will need to believe in those words come Sunday if they want to give the hometown crowd a W. San Diego appears to match up well versus this Saskatchewan team with the current roster. The Rush are scoring an average of just 10 points per game and the Seals are hovering right around that same mark. If San Diego can play sound defense, and score at the same rate they have been this season, they will have a great opportunity to earn their first home win.
Saskatchewan has played one fewer game than San Diego, but as a winning team they’ve managed to keep a positive point differential with 28 goals for and 24 against on the season. San Diego, with the additional game, has been able to match that offensive pace with 38 points but has also allowed 52 goals against- the third most in the league behind New York and Vancouver, who have a combined record of 1-9.
The numbers reflect what every fan knows, solid defensive play is essential to stacking wins in the NLL. This week the Seals brought rookie defenseman Mark Glicini back up to the active roster after going with transition player Mikie Schlosser for the last two games. Glicini may provide a much needed defensive boost for the offensively compromised team.
Face off is at 1:00 PST/4:00 EST at Pechanga Arena in beautiful San Diego, California. The game can be streamed on B/R Live.