Game Preview - Halifax vs Buffalo
Mar 1, 2023
Following a week off, the Halifax Thunderbirds are back home to take on the Buffalo Bandits at Scotiabank Centre on Friday night. Opening face-off is set for 7:30 p.m. AT.
Scouting the Thunderbirds
The Thunderbirds got several big outings in their previous game against New York. Ryan Benesch (17G, 29A) led the way with seven points while Randy Staats (17G, 36A) and Clarke Petterson (17G, 35A) each had six-point nights.
Those three make up the Thunderbirds’ top three scorers, while captain Cody Jamieson (14G, 25A) and Eric Fannell (18G, 16A) round out the top five. Chris Boushy (22G, 10A) leads the team in goals and Austin Shanks (10G, 24A) will bring some added punch to the lineup following a one-game absence.
Once again for Halifax, Jake Withers and the face-off teams will play a big factor in the outcome of this matchup. Against a formidable draw man in Max Adler last time out, Withers went 28 of 35 at the stripe (80%). Withers still sits above the 80-percent clip for the season and has 145 loose balls. Ryan Terefenko (4G, 8A) also has 120 loosies in what is turning into the best year of his career to date.
Warren Hill is set to occupy the cage again in this game. The Thunderbirds’ starter holds an 11.51 GAA and .760 SV% through 10 games this year.
Scouting the Bandits
In the previous meeting between these two teams, Buffalo got two double-digit point outings from Dhane Smith and Josh Byrne, who combined 23 in the victory.
Byrne (25G, 26A) will be returning to the lineup following a stint on the injured reserve. He’ll link up with Smith (24G, 58 A) who leads the league in scoring through the first half of the season. He’s on pace to smash the record for points in a single season (137), which he also holds.
The Bandits will also get a shot in the arm offensively with the return of Chase Fraser, who was signed and activated last week. He’ll team up with Smith, Kyle Buchanan (12G, 30 A), and Tehoka Nanticoke (18G, 15A).
Ian MacKay (14G, 12A) currently sits fifth in team scoring, and the transition ace is in the midst of a career year. He provides the Bandits with a Swiss Army Knife, as he can sting teams in transition while also being able to stay and play a shift on offence.
The Bandits continue to be backstopped by Matt Vinc, who is also on track to be up for hardware this season. The veteran netminder holds an 8-2 record with a 10.54 goals-against average and a .800 save percentage.
Fans can catch the Thunderbirds in action on Friday night on TSN. American fans can also see the game on ESPN+
- Ryan Benesch needs three goals to reach 500 for his career
- David Brock needs two points to reach 100 for his career
- Tyson Bell needs one game played to reach 100 for his career
- Clarke Petterson needs eight loose ball recoveries to reach 200 for his career
- Jake Withers needs two loose ball recoveries to surpass Steve Toll for third all-time in franchise history