Game Preview - Halifax vs New York
Feb 19, 2023
The Halifax Thunderbirds return to the friendly confines of Scotiabank Centre, as they welcome the New York Riptide to The Nest for a Sunday matinee. Opening face-off is set for 2:00 p.m. AT.
This will be the second of three meetings between the Thunderbirds and Riptide. The teams will wrap up the season series in April in Halifax.
In the first meeting of the year, the Thunderbirds set a Halifax franchise record by scoring 20 goals in a lopsided victory on Long Island. In the first half of play, Halifax hopped out to a 13-6 advantage, helping them to cruise to a win on the road.
Ryan Benesch and Randy Staats combined for 17 points while Drew Hutchison captured his first career win, turning away 29 shots to help his team to the victory.
The Thunderbirds are 4-0 all-time against the Riptide and have the chance to make it five straight on Sunday afternoon.
Scouting the Thunderbirds
The Thunderbirds’ offence found success in the dying minutes of the team’s last game against Rochester. However, the comeback fell just short despite a five-goal run in the final three minutes of regulation.
Austin Shanks was Halifax’s offensive leader last weekend, finishing with a game-high five assists and seven points. He sits fifth on the team in scoring with 10 goals and 34 points in eight outings.
Randy Staats (14G, 33A), Clarke Petterson (15G, 31A), Ryan Benesch (15G, 24A), and Cody Jamieson (11G, 24A) round out the team’s top five scorers. Eric Fannell (18G, 15A) also keeps racking up big performances. He’s on pace to exceed his previous career high of 40 points set last season.
Despite a tough game a week ago, the Thunderbirds’ defence has had strong showings this year. Graeme Hossack is tied for the league lead in caused turnovers, Ryan Terefenko sits fourth in the league with 109 loose balls, and Jake Withers has kept up his dominance at the face-off stripe.
In net, Warren Hill was lifted last game for Drew Hutchison in the late goings. The Halifax starter has an 11.59 goals-against average and a .770 save percentage to this point in the year.
Scouting the Riptide
Since the last meeting with Halifax, New York has made a flurry of roster moves, specifically on the offensive side of the ball. The team moved Callum Crawford and Jake Fox in separate deals while adding Brett Hickey, Tyler Digby, and most recently Mike Burke.
However, Hickey was placed on Season-Ending Injured Reserve earlier this week
Jeff Teat continues to develop his game, and the Riptide’s leading scorer sits second in the league with 65 points in eight games. Reilly O’Connor (8G, 26A), and Larson Sundown (12G, 6A) have been able to work on the left side to provide Teat with scoring options off the increased defensive attention.
Connor Kearnan (14G, 21 A) leads the righties, but he’s had help from the aforementioned additions.
Goaltending continues to be a question for the Riptide. Starter Steven Orleman holds a 2-5 record with a staggering 15.28 GAA and a .730 save percentage. In the previous meeting between these two teams, Orleman was chased by the Thunderbirds, and Gowah Abrams finished out the game that got out of hand late.
Fans can catch the Thunderbirds at home on the TSN App in Canada and ESPN+ in the United States.