Pechanga Arena SD — The San Diego Seals faced the Buffalo Bandits on Saturday, April 27th at Pechanga Arena and lost by a lopsided 18-7 score before 8,357. Buffalo is the oldest franchise in the NLL, while San Diego is finishing their first season in the league.

There was some good news during the contest, the Seals (10-8) found out that they will be hosting Calgary in the Western Semi-Final game at Pechanga Arena San Diego on May 6.

As for Buffalo (14-4) they will finish with the best record in the Eastern Con-ference and will have home-turf advantage all the way through the playoffs.

“In order to win games in this league, you have to be mentally prepared and you have to play with heart.” Head Coach Patrick Merrill said after the game. “If you don’t games like this happen. Whatever we have to learn, we have to do it quick because we have a huge opportunity at home against Calgary.”

The Bandits broke the seal on the scoreboard when Jordan Durston scored from Corey Smith and Chris Cloutier’s passes a little more than four minutes into the game. Garrett McIntosh came back just 26 seconds later to tie the game up. That didn’t last long as Cloutier gave the lead back to Buffalo just about 30 seconds later. It would be a lead that the Bandits would not surrender again.

Buffalo scored the next four goals to finish the first quarter up 5-1.

The Seals would score the first three goals in the second quarter, all three of which included one player — Garrett Billings. Joe Walters, playing in only his second game in the Purple and Black, put on in the net 140 seconds into the quarter. Casey Jackson and Billings assisted on the goal. Turner Evans and “Dangerous” Dan Dawson scored the other two goals, both of which were on the power play. The only assist on both power play goals was from Billings. At this point it was 5-4 Buffalo.

However, Buffalo would go on to score the next six goals to put the game out of reach. The Bandits had even scoring as only Durston and Chase Fraser netted a hat tricks in the contest. Four players would score twice and 13 of the 19 active players registered points.

During the second onslaught, in the third quarter, Frank Scigliano was pulled after allowing 13 goals on 42 shots. Backup Tyler Carlson finished the final 19 and half minutes of the game.

On what would be Buffalo’s next goal, it was originally ruled a save by Carl-son. However, the Bandits would challenge the call. It turned out that the ball was in the back of the net prior to Carlson playing the ball.

With five and change gone in the fourth quarter, Dawson scored his second goal of the night. However, even with an 11-goal lead, Buffalo decided to challenge the goal saying that Dawson was in the crease when the shot was released. Upon looking at the video, the referees concluded that there was insufficient evidence of that and allowed the goal to stand. “They are a competitive group,” Dawson said after the game. “They just wanted to send a message that they were going to compete all the way to the final buzzer.”

The next game as mentioned above will be on Monday, May 6 at 7:00 pm.

When asked about what to expect from the playoffs, Coach Merrill said, “If you thought the regular season was fast, physical and intense, playoffs are a whole another level in this league.”

Game Notes: Several of the NLL category champions were decided in this game, just a couple were: Dhane Smith of Buffalo came into the game with 65 assists, trailing only Dane Dobbie of Calgary. Dobbie had 68 assists, Smith finished the regular season with 70. Also finishing in the top five were Smith’s teammate Shawn Evans with 66, Garrett Billings 65 and Mark Matthews of Saskatchewan with 64…One of the other categories was Power Play assists. Entering the game, Smith was leading with 20. He ended with two such assists, also had two giving him 21…Leading at the end of one quarter was an important stat. Buffalo (10-1 and San Diego (9-1) had only lost once each…When trailing after one quarter, San Diego was 0-4 coming into the game…With Saskatchewan defeating Colorado (13-8), the Rush are the top seed in the West. They will host Colorado in the Western Semifinal, the Seals will host Calgary in the other Semi… San Diego won the season series 2-1 over Calgary, this will be a one-game series…With the win, Buffalo sets a new franchise record for most wins in a single-season (14)…Kevin Brownell had a chance to hit his 100th career point, however he came up three points shy…Buffalo would set four different season-high’s in the game, Goals (19), Largest margin of victory (11), Most shots taken – Game (72), Most shots allowed – Game (84).

1st Quarter Recap: Shots: BUF — 16, SD — 7.
4:10 — BUF: Durston (13) (Small 37, Cloutier 26) 1-0 BUF
4:46 — SD: McIntosh (3) (Sorichetti 5, Scigliano 3) 1-1
5:14 — BUF: Cloutier (18) (Evans 61, Prioto 14) 2-1 BUF
9:39 — BUF: Fraser (27) (Evans 62) 3-1 BUF
10:32 — BUF: Durston (14, 2nd) (Evans 63, D. Smith 66) 4-1 BUF
12:31 — BUF: Evans (27) (D. Smith 67, Byrne 29) 5-1 BUF

2nd Quarter Recap: Shots: BUF — (14/30), SD — (15/22).
2:20 — SD: Walters (1) (Jackson 25, Billings 63) 5-2 BUF
3:21 — BUF PEN: Spanger (Illegal Substitution) 2:00
3:42 — SD: Evans (19) (Billings 64, Dawson 59) PP 5-3 BUF
3:42 — BUF PEN: de Snoo (Unsportsmanlike Conduct) 2:00
5:40 — SD: D. Dawson (28) (Billings) PP 5-4 BUF
6:24 — BUF PEN: Gilray (Check from behind) 2:00
8:01 — BUF: Byrne (12) (Brownell 9) SH 6-4 BUF
9:41 — BUF: Small (35) (Weiss 8) 7-4 BUF
12:05 — BUF: Byrne (13, 2nd) (Evans 64, Fraser 13) 8-4 BUF
12:57 — BUF: MacKay (11) (Vinc 1) 9-4 BUF

3rd Quarter Recap: Shorts: BUF — (15/45), SD — (15/37).
0:38 — Belgrave (Illegal Body Check) 2:00
1:57 — BUF: D. Smith (32) (Durston 32, Small 38) PP 10-4 BUF
4:55 — SD PEN: Clelland (Illegal Substitution) 2:00
7:25 — BUF: Durston (15, 3rd) (Byrne 29, D. Smith 68) PP 11-4 BUF
9:44 — SD: Walters (2, 2nd) (Sorichetti 6, Kelly 8) 11-5 BUF
9:52 — SD PEN: McIntosh (Checking from behind) 2:00
10:07 — BUF: Small (36, 2nd) (Evans 65, D. Smith 68) PP 12-5 BUF
11:34 — BUF: Fraser (28, 2nd) (Cloutier 27, Brownell 10) 13-5 BUF
12:13 — BUF: Weiss (5) (Unassisted) 14-5
13:49 — BUF PEN: Priolo (Check from behind) 2:00

4th Quarter Recap: Shorts: BUF — (12/57), SD — (24/61).
2:52 — BUF: de Snoo (5) (Small 39) 15-5 BUF
3:28 — BUF: Cloutier (19, 2nd) (D. Smith 69) 16-5 BUF
4:02 — BUF PEN: Small (Check from behind) 2:00
5:23 — SD: D. Dawson (29, 2nd) (Jackson 26, Merrill 11) PP 16-6 BUF
9:31 — BUF: Evans (28, 2nd) (Fraser 15, MacKay 21) 17-6 BUF
10:37 — BUF: Fraser (29, 3rd) (Evans 66) 18-6 BUF
12:40 — SD: Kelly () (D. Dawson) 18-7 BUF

Power Play: BUF — 3-4, SD 3-5.
San Diego Sports Domination Player of the Game: Shawn Evans (2g, 6a).

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