April 23, 2016 — After notching their first win of the season against LA on Apr 16th, the San Diego Growlers traveled north to Oakland to take on the first place San Francisco FlameThrowers.
The Growlers started the game on offense but did have enough patience in the redzone, and after making two defensive blocks, SF scored the first break point on a long upwind huck to Greg Cohen. San Diego quickly got back on track to tie the game at 1-1, but SF struck back on another nice deep throw into the wind, 2-1. Both teams traded scores again, then another errant throw by the Growlers led to an easy break, 4-2. Multiple offensive points were traded until San Diego had a chance to tie the game at 6’s, but a critical turnover on the end zone led to the SF offense going the length of the field to take the lead by two, 7-5. The Growlers seemed to score a first quarter buzzer beater on the next point, but it was waived off and score stood.
The FlameThrowers came out hot in the second quarter, scoring their first offensive point and then rattling off 5 break points in a row before San Diego could recover, 13-6. The next point lasted over 4 minutes and ended with San Diego letting a golden opportunity slip through their hands for another potential buzzer beater. The wind was certainly a factor at Laney Stadium in the first half, and the home town team seemed better equipped to handle it and came up with several unbelievable grabs…ones the Growlers did not make.
At halftime, the Growlers stated goal was to cut the lead down to 4 points, and they started the 3rd quarter with a crisp offensive score, 13-7. Both teams traded two goals each, until San Diego capitalized on a SF turnover by going the length of the field on a smooth upwind deep throw from Chris Liu to Alec Benton, 15-10. Another SF turnover led to a downwind huck from Benton to Matt Parisi to trim the lead to four, 15-11. The Flamethrowers scored the next offensive point, and then a very questionable travel call led to a SF break point and they extended their lead to 17-11 (and never looked back). By the time the 3rd quarter ended, the score was 23-11.
SF started the 4th quarter much like they ended the third, by holding on offense and then breaking once again on defense to go up 25-11. The Growlers hung tough, but it was not their day, and they eventually absorbed a final score defeat of 31-14.
The Growlers were led by Josh Nickerson and his +4 performance (2 goals, 1 assist, 1 defensive block), and rookie Chris Liu with a +3 game (2 goals, 1 assist).
San Diego will host the Seattle Cascades on April 30th at Balboa Stadium at 6:15 pm, in an attempt to pull themselves up from last place in the West division.