NLL Saturday Recap: Merrill Breaks Loose Ball Record, Dobbie Comes up Big in First Game Back

(Photo Courtesy of NLL/Calgary Roughnecks)

It was another exciting Saturday across the NLL landscape, and things got started a bit earlier as the San Diego Seals and Vancouver Warriors went to battle at 2PM ET. And that exciting 15-10 contest was just the tip of the iceberg. 

Saturday night saw the defending champion Calgary Roughnecks roll into Georgia and take down the Swarm in an overtime thriller. Also, the New England Black Wolves steamrolled through the Rochester Knighthawks and the Saskatchewan Rush took down the Philadelphia Wings in a battle of division leaders. 

San Diego 15, Vancouver 10

Vancouver came out of the gates firing, taking a 4-0 lead just eight minutes into the contest. Wes Berg finally got San Diego’s offense going late in the first. A late-quarter power play goal from Keegan Bal put the Warriors ahead 5-1 heading into the second. In the second, both teams were able to find the back of the net early. But after Vancouver got up 7-2 something sparked in San Diego and went on one of the most impressive comeback runs this season. 

The Seals went on a 10-goal run that stretched into the third quarter and put them ahead 12-7. San Diego was simply dominating in all facets of the game. With San Diego leading 13-8 entering the fourth they had all the momentum, despite Vancouver being able to get a little something going at the end of the third. The fourth saw San Diego continue to build on their lead, using a two-goal run in the middle of the quarter to put this one at bay. Vancouver scored the first and last goal of the quarter.

However, the real story of the fourth quarter was Brodie Merrill passing Jim Veltman on the NLL’s All-Time Ground Balls list. Merrill has now chased down more loos balls than anyone in NLL history, 2,518. 

Riley Loewen led Vancouver with a hat trick, while Logan Schuss had four points (2G/2A). Casey Jackson led San Diego with six points (5G/1A) in the victory, while Jeremy Nobel had seven points (1G/6A) and Austin Staats had six points (2G/4A). 

Calgary 18, Georgia 17

In a game that saw 2019 MV Dane Dobbie return a suspension that was handed down to him following the Calgary Roughnecks season-opening loss to the Vancouver Warriors, the Roughnecks took down the Georgia Swarm, 18-17, in overtime on the road. 

Curtis Dickson, Dane Dobbie, Dickson. That is how the first goals of the game went, pushing Calgary 3-0 early in the quarter. However, the Swarm were able fight back, cutting the Calgary lead to 9-3 at the half, maintaining within striking distance of Calgary’s a three-goal lead. Things heated up on both sides in the third quarter, with each team taking punches from the other. 

Despite a five-goal Georgia run that spanned from late in the third through early in the fourth and tied things up at 11-11. The fourth quarter saw 15 combined goals as each team kept answering each other. The back-and-forth nature of the game continued throughout most of the fourth quarter. However, a Lyle Thompson scored an overtime forcing goal with just under a minute to play in regulation. Dane Dobbie put one past Kevin Orleman to secure the win, capping off his return game on a high note. 

A well-balanced Swarm offense was led by Zed Williams (5G/1A) and Randy Staats (4G/4A). Shayne Jackson also tallied nine points (2G/7A). Calgary was led by Dane Dobbie (6G/1A), Curtis Dickson with ten points (5G/5A), and Rhys Duch had eight points (4G/4A). 

Christian Del-Bianco made 47 shots off of 64 shots on goal for Calgary, while Mike Poulin and Kevin Orleman each got minutes on the floor. Orleman played the majority of the game, making 17 saves off of seven shots on goal. 

Saskatchewan 15, Philadelphia 10

In a matchup that pegged the top teams in the West and East division against each other, the Saskatchewan Rush were able to almost coast the entire contest. 

After getting down 2-3 early in the first, the Rush bounced back late in the first and went on a five-goal run that helped them get ahead 7-3, the Rush still held a three-goal, 8-5, lead heading into the third. While the Wings with multiple multi-goal runs, the Rush continued to put all the pieces together in the second half. Saskatchewan closed out the fourth and final period of play with two consecutive goals from Chris Corbiel and Robert Church to seal the deal. 

Ben McIntosh (3G/3A), Jeff Shatter (3G/2A), and Mark Matthews (1G/8A) helped lead the way for Saskatchewan. Kevin Crowley had two assists for Philadelphia and Blaze Riorden (2G/2A) for the Rush. Evan Kirk made 42 saves off of 52 shots on goal for Saskatchewan and Brandon Miller, who got the majority of minutes for Philadelphia, made 21 saves off of 28 shots on goal for the Rush. 

New England 18, Rochester 7

Right out of the gates the Black Wolves got hot. This game truly was a wire-to-wire victory for the Black Wolves. One huge run in the first and second quarters seemed to suck the life out of the Rochester defense, giving New England the 7-4 heading into halftime.

Again in the third and again in the fourth, the New England Black Wolves caught fire and went on a few momentum changing runs. In the fourth, the Black Wolves scored five straight, including thee from Callum Crawford, to seal the deal in the blowout victory. 

Callum Crawford led the way for New England with 12 points (4G/8A), while Reilly O’Connor tallied six points (3G/2A). Rochester saw Holden Cattoni lead the way with a hat trick. 

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