The San Diego Seals defeated the visiting Saskatchewan Rush, 13-12, Friday night at San Diego Pechanga Arena, picking up their fourth consecutive win and maintaining their sole lead in the West Division.
Rush forward Robert Church pushed one past goalie Frank Scigliano to get within one goal of San Diego with just over six minutes to play, but captain Brodie Merrill and the Seals’ defense didn’t let another Saskatchewan shot find the back of the net after Church’s goal to seal the win.
“It was a close game,” Merrill said. “There’s not much of a margin for error when you play Saskatchewan. You have to be tight and focus on the details every shift. Any kind of lapse you have they’re going to make you pay. We had an early lead and we knew they were going to have their push, and we held off.”
Scigliano, who logged 12 fourth-quarter saves and 39 in total on the night, poured praise onto Merrill and Co. following the win.
“I credit the defense,” Scigliano said. “They give me the opportunity to see the ball. We’re playing our systems well. We’re taking good shots and I credit a lot of the success to them.”
Veteran forwards Kyle Buchanan and Dan Dawson led the Seals on the offensive end, combining for six goals and seven assists. Buchanan led the team in goals with four, three of which coming in the first half.
Seals’ Garrett Billings was masterful with how he facilitated the offense and created open shots, logging an impressive nine assists and a goal of his own early in the fourth quarter. He picked up an assist on four of San Diego’s last five goals of the game.
Rush forward Ben McIntosh recorded three goals and three assists as the team’s top offensive weapon on the night, but his efforts weren’t enough when paired with an underwhelming performance by Mark Matthews. Though he entered the contest as the team’s top goal scorer, Matthews found the net just once from eight shots against San Diego.
The first-place Seals will take their momentum to Scotiabank Saddledome next weekend to square off against the 6-7 Calgary Roughnecks on Saturday March 30 at 6:00 p.m. PT. The. Game will be broadcasted live on B/R Live.