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Seals Look To Stay Hot In West Division Battle vs. Rush

The Western Division’s top teams are set to face off at Pechanga Arena San Diego, as the division-leading San Diego Seals (7-4) play host to the second place Saskatchewan Rush (6-5) on Friday night. San Diego’s 13-11 win over the visiting Philadelphia Wings and Saskatchewan’s loss to the Buffalo Bandits last week propelled the Seals into the sole lead of the Western Division. The Rush have an opportunity to even the playing field with a win on Friday night. Rookie forward Austin Staats and wily veteran Dan Dawson are the heart of San Diego’s offense. The duo has combined for 98 points on the year, with Staats leading the team in goals (27) and Dawson ranking second on the team in assists (31). Staats handles the ball the most of any Seals player and puts a lot of shots on goal as a result. He has 51 more shots on goal and 78 more total shots than any of his teammates, and both figures lead all first-year NLL players by a considerable margin. Dawson, on their other hand, takes a much more efficient approach to shooting the ball and often opts for the assist rather the net. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound right-hander has accrued one of the highest shots made percentages on the team at 0.207. Opposite of Staats and Dawson, Saskatchewan’s Kyle Rubisch and Mike Messenger lead the team on the defensive end. Rubisch and Messenger have recorded 25 and 21 forced turnovers, respectively, ranking third and fifth in the NLL so far this season. The Rush’s last line of defense, 31-year-old veteran goalie Evan Kirk ranks seventh among primary NLL goalies in save percentage (0.765) and ninth in total saves (316). He also ranks seventh in goals allowed to total saves ratio (0.307). San Diego’s Frank Scigliano, a seven-year Calgary Roughnecks goalie before joining the Seals this offseason, is a on career-high pace this season. He currently ranks second in goals allowed to total saves ratio (0.260), second in save percentage (0.794) and fourth in total saves (466). Saskatchewan leftie forward Mark Matthews, a 100-point scorer in each of the past four NLL seasons, will have Scigliano and the Seals in his crosshairs Friday night. The 29-year-old veteran leads the team with 63 points (26G, 36A) through 11 games. Matthews & Co. are scheduled to face off against the Seals at 7:00 p.m. PT on Friday night. The game will be broadcasted live on B/R Live.