The San Francisco Dogfish lost to the Vancouver Nighthawks 26-15 at Thunderbird Stadium on Sunday. In a reverse of fortune from their loss to the Portland Stags last weekend, the Nighthawks took a solid lead early in the game and didn’t relinquish it.
The Nighthawks scored within the first two minutes of play and kept up a relentless pace until the clock ran down. The Dogfish, who famously came from behind for several of their victories in 2013, matched Vancouver’s pace too late to make up the deficit.
This game marked the second loss of the weekend for the Dogfish, who fell to the Seattle Rainmakers in overtime last night, 21-20.
Dogfish team captain Evan Boucher had a big game with four assists and two goals. James Pollard had three assists, including one to Boucher for San Francisco’s only point in the second quarter. First-year Fish Nick Weiss had two assists and one goal.
Vancouver spread much of the wealth throughout its roster, but Kevin Underhill and Brendan Wong had four connections for goals and, between the two of them, had nearly as many scoring connections with Gagan Chatha.
San Francisco, on the other hand, might have been spread too thin in their second game of a double-header weekend with eight men down. Aaron Caulfield, Chris Hart, Greg Husak, Matt Kissman and Jackson Stearns scored two goals each, making up the bulk of the Dogfish points this game. All of them also featured prominently in the team’s disc movement in both games this weekend.
“We’re a little bit sore, a little bit tired and we’re short on numbers, but we’re used to playing eight games on the weekend—having these two games really isn’t much,” said Pollard. “We just came out flat today.”
The Dogfish scored only four points in the first half, and three of those were in the first quarter. In their first two games of the season the Dogfish had been unable to consistently convert their defensive plays into goals, and that trend held true for the first part of this game.
Dogfish Head Coach Justin Safdie focused on the team’s opportunities rather than shortcomings. “We did a lot of good things, particularly in the first half on defense. I liked our intensity and thought that we were harassing them a fair amount and creating some turnovers. We struggled to convert on them, but there were some positives there.”
The Nighthawks set and maintained the course of the game until near the end of the third quarter when the Dogfish began to answer in kind. San Francisco scored six points in the third, with two of those coming in the last minute of the quarter.
Another succession of five points in the fourth quarter might have been enough for San Francisco in another game. But the Nighthawks had firmly established their lead early on and continued to score one more point each quarter than in the previous one, keeping the Dogfish at bay even when they finally seemed to hit their stride.
“It’s a tough loss today but I think we’re on the up, and I’m optimistic for the rest of the year,” said Pollard.
The Dogfish will host the Nighthawks in San Francisco for their second match-up of the season on Saturday, May 17 at 2 p.m. at Boxer Stadium. Buy your tickets here.