June 30, 2018 — Renewed with confidence after a buzzer beater win the previous weekend, the Growlers faced yet another test, this time at home versus the defending AUDL Champion San Francisco FlameThrowers. The winner would control the series tie breaker in the tight West Division playoff race.
San Diego received the opening pull and took quick control with a hold and two breaks, with Will Griffin assisting to Sam Fontaine for the first break, then Wes Groth finding Ryan Lacy on the second. After trading four scores, Dom Leggio unleashed a full field flick huck to Steven Milardovich for the highlight worthy sky and offensive hold. San Francisco scored, but San Diego was not able to punch it in before the first quarter ended, ahead 7-5.
In the second quarter, the teams traded two scores each before the Growlers broke again, now up 10-7. Another offensive hold exchange, then a Kyle Rubin interception led to a Nate Bridges goal for a break, 12-8. More holds, then Travis Dunn hit Michael Tran for the break score after Max Hume forced the SF turnover. The Growlers added one more break and traded out with the FlameThrowers before halftime, up 16-11.
The offenses for both teams were clicking in the third with three holds apiece. The Growlers held on O once more, broke, then broke again when Scott Radlauer found Mark Slader to extend their lead to 22-14. After a long back and forth point with several turnovers, SF ended the quarter with a buzzer beater, 22-15.
The FlameThrowers’ last score likely fueled some momentum as they held on offense and notched two breaks, 22-18. Travis Dunn’s assist to Wes Groth on the next point temporarily stopped the bleeding, but SF followed with a hold and another break which prompted a San Diego timeout, 23-20. This proved to be a successful tactic as Sean Ham scored an important offensive goal. After trading, Steven Milardovich recorded his 6th defensive block of the game and Josh Kohl assisted to Dunn for a late break to seal the game and the Growlers went on to win 27-22! Click here to see the full game and click here for highlights!
The Growlers were led by their captains Travis Dunn at +9 (6 assists, 4 goals, 1 turnover) and Steven Milardovich at +8 (3 assists, 2 goals, 6 defensive blocks, 3 turnovers). Dom Leggio and Wes Groth also had great +6 performances.
With a Seattle win at the buzzer vs San Jose on Sunday, the Growlers suddenly find themselves all alone in second place in the West Division standings! If San Diego can defeat Los Angeles on Saturday, July 14 at Balboa Stadium at 6:30 pm, the Growlers will qualify for the playoffs! If not, then it gets complicated and tie-breaker scenarios may come into play. This is the wild, wild West indeed!