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 San Diego Seals

Seals Set to Open the 2024 NLL Playoffs Saturday Night at Home

April 22, 2024 - National Lacrosse League (NLL)
San Diego Seals News Release


High-flying San Diego Seals set to open the 2024 National Lacrosse League Playoffs Saturday night at Pechanga Arena vs. Panther City Lacrosse Club

The San Diego Seals, who finished the regular season 13-5, will open the 2024 National Lacrosse League Playoffs this Saturday night (April 27) as the No. 2 seed against the No. 7 seed Panther City Lacrosse Club at Pechanga Arena. Faceoff is 7 p.m. PT and tickets are available here.

For San Diego, they've had their sites set on the postseason ever since last season's shocking defeat to Colorado (13-12) in the West Conference opening round. This season, the NLL did away with separating teams by conference and instead moved to a single-table unified standings in which teams were ranked top-to-bottom regardless of geography.

The playoffs now feature the No. 1 seed (Toronto) vs. No 8 (Rochester); No. 2 (Seals) vs. No. 7 (Panther City); No. 3 (Albany) vs. No. 6 (Halifax), and No. 4 (Buffalo) vs. No. 5 (Georgia) in the quarterfinals, with a bracket-style advance through to the NLL Finals. The quarterfinal round is single elimination, while the semi-finals and finals will continue to be best-of-three series.

Saturday's game will mark the third time this season that the Seals and Panther City have squared off with the Seals winning each of the first two contests, 10-9 in overtime in Ft. Worth on March 1 and 14-10 in San Diego on April 15. In that last game, the Seals overcame a 10-9 fourth-quarter deficit by scoring five unanswered goals over the final 4:57.

All-time, the Seals are 4-1 against Panther City and in the series, the Seals have outscored Panther City by a total of 88-65.

The Seals embark on the playoffs having won seven of their last nine to close out the regular season, including a commanding 16-9 win over Vancouver last Friday night at Pechanga Arena. The Seals were 8-1 at Pechanga Arena during the regular season. Panther City lost its regular season finale to Calgary (9-11) but prior to had won two straight.

Broadcast Information: Saturday night's game will not be broadcast on local television in San Diego, however it will be streamed to a global audience on ESPN+.

Head Coach Patrick Merrill: Patrick Merrill has now guided the Seals to the playoffs in four consecutive seasons. His regular-season won-loss ledger stands at 53-31 (.631) since joining the Seals in 2018. Merrill has guided the Seals to the playoffs in each of the four full seasons he's been at the helm, including a berth in the 2022 West Conference Finals.

Players to Watch

- Wes Berg finished the regular season with 108 points, second-most in a season in team history, behind the 109 he scored during the 2022-23 season. His 108 points were sixth-most in the NLL. Berg's 67 assists led the team and were tied for seventh in the NLL, while his 41 goals were second on the team and tied for 12th in the League.

- Austin Staats finished the regular season with a team-record 50 goals, which were fourth-most NLL.

- Combined with 52 assists, Staats scored 102 points on the season, 11th-most in the NLL.

- Staats and Berg are the only players in team history to score more than 100 points in a season.

- Trevor Baptiste, the renowned faceoff specialist, finished the season third in the League in faceoff wins with a team-record 308. His 71% faceoff win percentage ranked third in the League among players with at least 250 faceoffs taken. Baptiste also set a team single-season record for loose balls secured (177), a figure which ranked 3rd in the NLL.

- Goalkeeper Chris Origlieri finished the season with the National Lacrosse League's second-lowest goals against average (9.79) among starting netminders. He played the third-most minutes in the League, a team-record 1,059:57; he recorded the NLL's fifth-highest save percentage among starters (79%), also a team record, and he finished the year ninth in the League with 661 saves on the season. "Rigs'" 13 wins as the Seals' starting goaltender were also a team record.

- Defenseman Kyle Rubisch led the Seals and ranked 7th in the NLL this season with a team-record 29 takeaways.

Follow the Seals on Social Media: For the latest info on the Seals, visit https://www.sealslax.com/ and follow the team on social media at @SealsLax on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook.

Seals Game Recaps

Game 1 vs. Calgary: The Seals opened the 2023-24 season with a 12-9 victory over the Calgary Roughnecks before an opening night crowd of 6,700 that included NFL Super Bowl Champion quarterback Drew Brees and rock music icon Bret Michaels. The Seals trailed or were tied for most of the game. Calgary scored first and the Seals did not grab their first lead of the game until the 3:15 mark of the third quarter when Tre LeClaire's goal gave San Diego an 8-7 advantage. The teams went into the fourth period tied 9-9 but the Seals outscored the Roughnecks, 3-0 over the final 15 minutes. Wes Berg scored what proved to be the game-winning goal at the 13:53 mark of the final period before veteran Dane Dobbie added two more at the 9:37 and 3:27 marks to seal the victory. Austin Staats had a big night for the Seals with a team-leading four goals along with two assists. Curtis Dickson netted two goals and had a team-high four assists, while Berg had a goal and assisted on three others. Second-year goaltender Chris Origlieri played the entire game in net and made 35 saves en route to earning his first victory of the season. NOTEABLE: Defenseman Kyle Rubisch played in his 200th career game and at halftime, the Seals retired the No. 17 jersey that belonged to former team captain Brodie Merrill.

Game 2 at Buffalo: The Seals fell to the reigning NLL Champion Buffalo Bandits, 12-9, at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo. The game was tight early on with the teams separated by no more than two goals until Buffalo went on a five-goal run in the third period to turn a 7-5 deficit into a 10-7 advantage that included a pair of power play goals. The Seals closed to within 10-8 on a later third-period goal by Dane Dobbie, but the Bandits outscored the Seals 3 to 2 in the final 15 minutes to secure the win. Wes Berg led the Seals with three goals, while Curtis Dickson and Austin Staats each netted a pair. Dobbie and Dickson both had a team-high four assists. Faceoff specialist Trevor Baptiste came away with a game-high 19 loose balls while goalkeeper Chris Origlieri made 34 saves.

Game 3 vs Rochester: The Seals defeated the Rochester Knighthawks, 17-14, at Pechanga Arena to improve to 2-1 on the season. It was the Seals' highest offensive output of the season as the team got three goals apiece from team captain Wes Berg, Curtis Dickson and Austin Staats. Berg and Dane Dobbie had a team-high six assists for the Seals in the process of handing Rochester (3-1) its first loss of the season. Rochester scored the game's first goal one minute in and it was the only time San Diego would trail during the night. Staats tied the game just 1:17 later and the game was tied 4-4 at the end of the first quarter. The Seals outscored Rochester 10-6 over the second and third quarters to take a 14-10 lead into the fourth. Dobbie's third goal of the night with 3:20 remaining in the fourth quarter gave the Seals a 17-12 lead to put the game out of reach. NOTEABLE: Berg's six assists put him over 300 for his career (302) and with nine points he finished the night with a total of 500 for his career.

Game 4 at Las Vegas: Despite a furious comeback, the Seals fell to the Desert Dogs, 10-8, at the Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas. The Seals trailed 6-3 heading into the fourth quarter and rallied with five goals in the final period, but it wasn't enough as Las Vegas scored twice in the final 3:45 to put the game away. Wes Berg scored his 200th career goal as part of a team leading four goal night that included three goals in the fourth period. Kyle Jackson added three goals for San Diego.

Game 5 at Colorado: The Seals picked up their first road win of the season, defeating the Mammoth, 12-8, at Denver's Ball Arena. Nine different Seals scored in the win, led by Austin Staats, who scored a team-high three goals. San Diego dominated throughout, leading 4-1 after one period, 8-4 at halftime and 11-6 after three quarters. Goalie Chris Origlieri made 43 saves while allowing a season-low eight goals in the win. Wes Berg led the Seals with six assists.

Game 6 at Albany: The Seals rode a big fourth quarter to defeat the Albany FireWolves, 14-7, at the MVP Arena in Albany. It was Albany's first loss of the season after starting the year 6-0. San Diego scored six goals in the final 5:24 to blow the game open after Albany had climbed to within 9-7. Curtis Dickson and Austin Staats both scored a team-high four goals with one of Dickson's and two of Staats' coming during the furious final 5:24. The Seals got off to a fast start against the FireWolves with a pair of early goals from Dickson at the 14:11 and 12:17 marks of the first quarter. San Diego increased its lead to 7-2 at the half, outscoring Albany 5-2 in the second period. Staats scored the first two of his four goals in the second period, while Mac O'Keefe, Kyle Jackson and Wes Berg each scored a goal apiece. Albany came roaring out of the locker room at halftime and scored four straight goals in the third quarter to climb within one at 7-6 before Dickson gave the Seals some breathing room with a goal with just four seconds remaining to give San Diego an 8-6 lead heading into the fourth and final quarter. Goalkeeper Chris Origlieri picked up his second win in a row allowing a season-low seven goals while making 44 saves against the FireWolves.

Game 7 at Philadelphia: The Seals survived a furious comeback at Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center and held off the host Wings, 12-11, to capture their third straight victory and improve to 5-2 on the season. The Seals got off to a lightning fast start and took a 5-1 lead with a five-goal first period that included a pair of scores by Curtis Dickson along with individual goals by Wes Berg, Kyle Jackson and Tre Leclaire. Dickson, Leclaire and Austin Staats each scored a team-high three goals apiece in the contest. The teams traded goals in the second period with each side scoring twice. San Diego's two goals came courtesy of Berg and Staats and the Seals led 7-3 at the break. Philadelphia had a strong third quarter, outscoring San Diego 3-1, including a pair of power play goals, to climb within 8-6 heading to the fourth and final period. The fourth quarter was a furious one that featured plenty of drama as the Seals and Wings combined for nine goals. Just 39 seconds into the fourth quarter, Philadelphia's Chad Tutton was called for a five-minute major penalty for body checking Dickson. Staats took advantage of the delayed call from the officials and with an extra man on the turf, he scored to put the Seals up 9-6. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was then tacked on to Tutton's body checking penalty, giving the Seals a seven-minute power play. San Diego took full advantage with Leclaire scoring a pair of goals a man up before Staats added his third of the night at even strength to put the Seals up 12-7 with 10:23 remaining in the contest. Despite trailing by five goals, Philadelphia refused to go away and the Wings scored four unanswered goals, including a goal with just 51 seconds remaining, to climb within 12-11, but the Seals buckled down in the final seconds and held on for the win. Goalkeeper Chris Origlieri made 41 saves in earning his third straight victory while Leclaire paced the Seals with five assists.

Game 8 vs. Colorado: The Seals picked up their fourth straight win, handing the Colorado Mammoth a 16-7 shellacking in San Diego. Colorado got off to a fast start, jumping out to a 3-0 lead 10 minutes into the contest before the Seals responded with three unanswered goals in the final 2:33 of the opening quarter, including a pair of goals from Austin Staats, to tie the game at 3-3 after one period. The teams traded goals early in the second with Colorado taking a 5-4 lead 3:07 into the period before the Seals went on an absolute tear, scoring the game's next 11 goals to turn a 5-4 deficit into a 15-5 advantage. Staats scored four goals during the stretch to finish the night with a career-high six goals. Curtis Dickson chipped in during the run with an impressive four goals, while Dane Dobbie and Wes Berg each added a pair. Dobbie added another late in the contest and finished with four scores on the night as the Seals closed out the Mammoth, 16-7. Dickson had seven assists in the game to finish with a team-high 10 points while goalie Chris Origlieri made 29 saves and matched his season low with just seven goals allowed on the night.

Game 9 at New York: The Seals went on the road and saw their four-game win streak come to a halt as the New York Riptide used a big second half effort to come away with a 10-8 victory in front of their home fans at the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island. The game was a tale of two halves. New York scored the game's first goal 5:55 into the contest but it was all Seals early on as the San Diego side scored seven of the game's next eight goals to claim a 7-2 lead at intermission. Five different Seals scored during that stretch with Austin Staats and Curtis Dickson both scoring twice, while Dane Dobbie, Wes Berg and Tre Leclaire each scored once. The second half was a completely different story. New York outscored the Seals 3-1 in the third quarter to climb within 8-5 after three periods but the fourth and final quarter was all New York as the Riptide shut out the Seals while netting five goals of their own. It included a pair of scores from Jeff Teat, who finished the night with a game-high four goals for the Riptide. Staats had a team-high three goals for the Seals in the losing effort.

Game 10 vs. Georgia: Wes Berg scored a season-high six goals, including the game-winner in overtime, as the Seals defeated Georgia, 12-11. The game was close early. Jake Govett scored the first goal of the night for the Seals, but Georgia scored four of the next six and led 4-3 after one period. The Swarm extended its lead to 5-3 in the second before Berg scored his first two of the night to send the teams to the locker room tied 5-5 at intermission. Georgia came out firing in the third quarter, scoring three unanswered goals to take an 8-5 lead before the Seals responded with a pair of goals of their own, including a power-play goal by Berg and an even strength goal by Austin Staats to climb within 8-7. Georgia answered with a pair of goals of its own to jump back out front, 10-7, before the Seals rattled off four straight, including a pair by Berg, to take their first lead since early in the contest, 11-10 with 6:08 remaining. Unable to extend their lead, the Seals surrendered a late goal to the Swarm to tie the game at 11-11 and send it into overtime, setting up Berg's heroics. The teams traded possessions early in the OT period before Berg found a crease on a shot from the top of the circle 4:12 into the overtime session as the Seals claimed the 12-11 victory to improve to 7-3 on the season.

Game 11 at Panther City: Austin Staats' goal on a beautiful behind-the-back pass from veteran Dane Dobbie 3:22 into overtime gave the Seals a 10-9 win over the Panther City Lacrosse Club at the Dickies Arena in Ft. Worth, Texas. The game-winner was Staats' third goal of the night. The Seals had to rally from behind to get the game into overtime. Down 7-4 late in the third period, the Seals took advantage of a five-minute major power play after Panther City's Brent Mitchell was penalized for a cross-check. Wes Berg and Staats scored 20 seconds apart before Dobbie scored his first of the night 6:57 into the fourth period to tie the game at 7-7. For Dobbie, it was his 528th career goal, moving him past Colin Doyle and into sole possession of sixth place on the NLL's all-time scoring list. Panther City's Callum Crawford broke the 7-7 tie with a goal with 6:37 remaining in the fourth, but the Seals responded with goals from Kyle Jackson and Staats to take their first lead of the game, 9-8. Unfortunately, San Diego couldn't hang onto the lead as Panther City's Ryan Sheridan scored with 3:10 left in the fourth to tie the game at 9-9 and send it into overtime, setting up Staats' and Dobbie's game-winning heroics.

Game 12 vs. Toronto: The Toronto Rock scored three goals in the final 1:59 to defeat the Seals, 15-13, at Pechanga Arena. It was San Diego's first loss of the season at Pechanga Arena. During a chippy first quarter, the Seals exploded for six goals. They fell behind 3-1 early before outscoring Toronto 5-2 to close out the period and take a 6-5 lead. The six-goal outburst included a pair each by Jacob Dunbar and Wes Berg, in addition to goals by season scoring leader Austin Staats and Tre Leclaire. The second quarter had more offensive fireworks as the teams combined for eight goals, four by each side. For the Seals it was two more by Staats and a pair from veteran Dane Dobbie. It was a completely different story in the third quarter as the teams went scoreless for the first 9:28 until Marley Angus scored for Toronto to tie the game, 10-10. A pivotal moment in the game came just 23 seconds later when Toronto's Sheldon Burns was called for a five-minute major after cross-checking Jake Govett, but the Seals were only able to capitalize with one goal, Dobbie's third of the night, and the Seals led 11-10 after three quarters. Both teams' offenses warmed back up in the fourth. Toronto scored two quick goals to go up 12-11, but the Seals answered with a power-play goal by Leclaire and Staats' fourth of the night to reclaim the lead, 13-12. The score remained as such for the next 7:50 until Toronto tied the game with a goal at the 1:59 mark and took the lead 53 seconds later. The Rock added an empty-netter for the final goal of the night as they closed out the win.

Game 13 vs. Halifax: In a penalty-filled game, the Seals defeated the Halifax Thunderbirds, 12-8, at Pechanga Arena. The Seals fell behind early, 3-1, and trailed 4-3 after one quarter but they caught up to the Thunderbirds and tied the game 2:25 into the second on a Tre Leclaire power play goal off a pass from Dane Dobbie. They then took their first lead of the game just 1:09 later on another power play goal, this one from Austin Staats off a pass from Wes Berg and added another a short time later to go up 6-4 on a Jacob Dunbar goal off a feed from Staats. Halifax scored to narrow the deficit to 6-5 before Staats added another at the 5:14 mark of the second and the Seals took a 7-5 lead into the locker room at the break. Fifty-two seconds into the third quarter, the Seals extended their lead to 8-5 on another power play goal, this one from Dunbar off a pass from Dobbie. Late in the third, a slew of Halifax penalties gave the Seals a two-man advantage and San Diego capitalized with a power play goal from Staats, his third of the night and 49 seconds later, Berg scored on a feed from Leclaire and the Seals led 10-6 after three periods. The Seals added two more goals in the final period, Staats' fourth of the night and an empty-netter from Dobbie for the final points of the night. The teams combined for 18 penalties, 14 of which were committed by the Thunderbirds.

Game 14 at Calgary: The Seals came out flying and then had to hang on to capture their 10th win of the season, 7-6, over Calgary at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The Seals got off to a fast start and scored the game's first four goals and led 6-2 at the half. Wes Berg and Austin Staats each scored a pair in the first half while Tre Leclaire and Kyle Jackson also tallied goals. The second half was a completely different story. Calgary scored three unanswered goals early in the third period to close to within 6-5, but San Diego buckled down defensively and the score remained as such until Leclaire's second goal of the night with just seven seconds left in the third quarter gave San Diego a 7-5 edge. The fourth and final quarter was all about defense. San Diego was unable to find the back of the net and gave up a late goal to Calgary's Tanner Cook with 3:14 remaining in the game, but again the Seals' settled down defensively and kept the Roughnecks off the scoreboard in the final minutes to come away with the 7-6 win. The six goals allowed by the Seals was a season low. Curtis Dickson had a team-high three assists to become the NLL's 16th player to reach 1,000 career points.

Game 15 vs. Las Vegas: The Seals qualified for the 2024 NLL playoffs in dramatic fashion, rallying from a 5-1 first quarter deficit to defeat the Las Vegas Desert Dogs, 10-9, in overtime at Pechanga Arena. Tre Leclaire put the Seals into the postseason after taking a length of field pass from goaltender Chris Origlieri and scoring just 54 seconds into sudden death. It was Leclaire's team-leading third goal of the night. Dane Dobbie, Jacob Dunbar and Wes Berg each scored twice for the Seals. Berg also had six assists for a game-high eight points. The Seals chipped away at the early deficit, outscoring Las Vegas 3-1 in the second period and 3-2 in the third period before finally tying the game 2:04 into the fourth period on Berg's second goal of the night. Dobbie gave the Seals their first lead, 9-8, on a power play goal with 7:49 remaining in the fourth. Las Vegas scored 1:20 later to tie the game and send it to overtime, setting up Origlieri and Leclaire's heroics. With the win, the Seals improved to 11-4 on the season.

Game 16 vs. Panther City: The Seals overcame a 10-9 fourth-quarter deficit by scoring five unanswered goals over the final 4:57 to defeat the Panther City Lacrosse Club, 14-10, at Pechanga Arena. With the win, the Seals guaranteed themselves of hosting a postseason game at Pechanga Arena. In a back-and-forth game that was closely contested throughout, the Seals outscored Panther City 7-3 over the final 15 minutes to claim the victory. Trevor Baptiste scored his first two goals of the season in the decisive fourth quarter, while Chris Wardle, Austin Staats, Wes Berg, Dane Dobbie and Tre Leclaire each scored once. Staats scored a team-high four goals for the Seals while Berg netted three. With his four goals, Staats increased his season total to 47, setting a new team record. Dobbie previously held the team single-season mark with 45. And Baptiste became the 10th player in NLL history to surpass 1,500 career faceoff wins while also breaking Cam Holding's single-season team record for loose ball wins.

Game 17 at Saskatchewan: The Seals saw their four-game win streak come to a halt as they fell to the Saskatchewan Rush, 13-8, at the Sasktel Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. The Seals came out fast and scored the game's first two goals, but it was all Rush after that as Saskatchewan scored the game's next nine goals to stake out to a 9-2 lead. Chris Wardle's goal 4:19 into the third period halted the Saskatchewan run. The Seals trailed 11-5 after three periods and scored three unanswered goals early in the fourth, including two during a five-minute major penalty, to climb within 12-8, but Saskatchewan halted the run with a goal midway through the fourth and held on for the win.

Game 18 vs. Vancouver: The Seals got a much-needed momentum-boosting win heading into the 2024 NLL Playoffs, closing out the regular-season with a 16-9 win over the Vancouver Warriors at Pechanga Arena. Seven different players scored in the game for San Diego. The Seals came roaring out of the gate and outscored Vancouver 4-1 in the opening quarter. Wes Berg scored exactly one minute into the game and 2:15 later, Dane Dobbie scored to give the Seals a 2-0 lead, scoring on a power play goal from the right wing. After a Warriors goal, Kyle Jackson spun away from a Vancouver defender and scored from the top of the circle to put San Diego up 3-1. Curtis Dickson capped the first quarter scoring with a late goal to put the Seals up 4-1. Vancouver, which came into the game on a five-game win streak, returned the favor in the second, outscoring San Diego, 4-1 to open the period and tie the game 5-5. The Seals stopped the run, however, with three goals in the final 1:23 of the first half. Tre Leclaire scored first and 11 seconds later, Danny Logan came up with a steal and scored on a breakaway to put the seals up 7-5. Dickson's second goal of the night with 1.9 left to put San Diego up 8-5 at the break. San Diego carried the momentum into the third quarter with two quick goals. Dickson scored 1:31 in, his third of the night to put the Seals up 9-5, and 12 seconds later, Logan scored from the top of the circle to put the seals up 10-5. A pair of Vancouver goals trimmed the seals lead to 10-7, but Leclaire's goal with 2:38 left gave the Seals an 11-7 lead after three quarters. Season goal-scoring leader Austin Staats, Jackson and Berg all scored for the Seals in the fourth quarter for the final goals in the 16-9 win. Notable: Dickson (530 career goals) scored three goals to pass Colin Doyle (528) for seventh place on the National Lacrosse League's all-time list.


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