Thunderbirds battle to overtime victory over Wings

Feb 2, 2024

(PHILADELPHIA, PA) February 2, 2024 – The Halifax Thunderbirds took home their second consecutive victory in dramatic fashion, beating the Philadelphia Wings 15-14 in overtime at Wells Fargo Center on Friday night. 

Dawson Theede had the best offensive night of his NLL career, finishing the game with a hat trick and seven points. Clarke Petterson (3G, 3A), Aaron Woods (2G, 4A), Cody Jamieson (3G, 2A), and Austin Shanks (5A) all had very productive nights. Jamieson capped off his night with the game-winner in overtime.

Ryan Benesch had a four-point night including a pair of goals while Wake:Riat Bowhunter and Graeme Hossack each had three assists apiece. 

Warren Hill continued his steady play, earning his fourth win on the season with a 32-save performance. 

Despite the high-scoring nature of this contest, the teams opened the game relatively quietly, with just 11 combined goals scored in the first half. 

Halifax opened the scoring with a goal from Benesch – who surpassed Brandon Miller for 10th all-time in NLL games played with his 262nd career appearance. Philadelphia came back with two of their own to end the opening frame. Joe Resetarits knotted the game up and Blaze Riorden pushed his team ahead with a goal on the crease to make it 2-1 for the hosts through 15 minutes. 

But Halifax continued to fight back. Aaron Woods made good on his NLL debut, skipping a shot past Zach Higgins to tie things back up before Jake Withers continued his strong year in transition with a goal 4:05 into the second. McIntosh made it 3-3 shortly after, but Petterson, Theede, and Colton Armstrong rallied off three straight goals to give the Birds a 6-3 advantage in the late goings of the second. But Resetarits and Scott Dominey cut into the deficit with back-to-back markers to end the half, making it a 6-5 game in favour of Halifax going into halftime. 

A massive run out of the half put Halifax well ahead in the early stages of the third quarter. Jamieson potted two consecutive goals, with the second coming in transition, and Theede and Petterson added another three to give the visitors a five-goal run in the opening 4:30 of the second half. 

While the Thunderbirds looked to be carrying all the momentum at that point in the contest, the pendulum swung the other way to end the third. Philadelphia scored four consecutive, with Taggart Clark, Mitch Jones, Marcus Minichiello, and Sam LeClair finding the back of the net. 

With just 15 minutes to decide things, the teams continued to trade chances and goals. Woods cleaned up a rebound with a jumping effort on the crease to push the Halifax lead to three. Goals from McIntosh and Clark made it a one-goal game again. Petterson had a tremendous effort ending in a behind-the-back goal in traffic to make it 13-11 with nearly 15 minutes left in regulation.

Philadelphia made their run in the final 10 minutes of play. Taite Cattoni scored, and a diving effort from McIntosh on the crease tied things up after a previous goal of his was called back on review. 

Riorden struck again to put his team ahead, ripping a bouncer home. Halifax pushed for the tying goal in the final minutes, with Higgins turning away some solid chances. But a two-man game between Theede hit Benesch in stride for a huge goal with 1:22 left in the fourth. On the Thunderbirds’ next offensive touch, Petterson was buried from behind, drawing a penalty with a minute to play. While the team was not able to find the game-winner to end regulation, they did carry that man advantage over into the extra frame. 

Tied at 14 going into Overtime, Withers was able to secure the opening draw of the extra frame, and with the offence set up, the captain called game. Jamieson got a pass from Petterson and ripped a short-side twister past Higgins to walk off the Wings.

With the victory, the Thunderbirds move to 4-3 for the season. They’ll return to The Nest in a week for the franchise's first-ever matchup with the Las Vegas Desert Dogs on Feb 9. Opening face-off is set for 7:30 p.m. AT.

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