Thunderbirds beat FireWolves with big fourth-quarter effort

Jan 8, 2023

ALBANY, N.Y. (January 7, 2023) – The Halifax Thunderbirds (3-1) got back in the win column on Saturday night, beating the Albany FireWolves (1-2) 14-11 at MVP Arena. 

The contest opened up as a low-scoring affair, with the first goal not coming until the 4:29 min. mark. Charlie Kitchen opened the scoring, but his marker was quickly followed by a pair from Chris Boushy. The hosts answered back with goals from Hiana Thompson, Connor Kelly, and Ethan Walker. 

Albany held a 4-2 lead after one quarter, but Halifax continued to work to cut into the lead. The Thunderbirds potted four of the first five goals in the second to hop in front. Randy Staats’ tally was followed up by Eric Fannell, Ryan Benesch, and Boushy. 

Connor Kelly knotted things back up with a power play goal. Austin Shanks and captain Cody Jamieson retaliated for the Thunderbirds, giving the team a two-goal lead late in the second. But a last-second goal from Patrick Kaschalk made it an 8-7 game at the half. 

Coming out of the locker room, the two teams settled in defensively. Kieran McArdle and Thompson put the FireWolves back ahead, but Fannel scored his second of the evening with three seconds left in the third. The two teams entered the fourth with nine goals apiece. 

In the deciding frame, the teams traded a pair of goals. Nick Chaykowsky and Connor Kelly’s goals were countered by Fannell and Boushy. Staats gave Halifax the lead once again with 6:46 min. remaining in regulation, and from there, the Thunderbirds began to pull away. Clarke Petterson added his lone goal, while Fannell capped off a massive night with his fourth to put things on ice with under two minutes to play. 

Staats was the offensive leader once again for the Thunderbirds, finishing the night with nine points (2G, 7A). Fannell had six points (4G, 2A), while four other Halifax forwards finished with four-point nights. Warren Hill finished the night with 43 saves, good for a .796 Sv%.

It was a big night for milestones, as well. With his four points, Benesch surpassed Gary Gait for seventh all-time in points scored. Jake Withers also surpassed 1,200 face-off wins in the win, becoming just the 11th player in league history to reach the mark. 

Fannell surpassed 100 career points, while Graeme Hossack hit the 800 loose ball plateau with nine in the game. 

The FireWolves were led in scoring by Kelly’s five points (4G, 1A), followed by McArdle with four (1G, 3A). Goalie Justin Geddie got the nod and the loss, finishing with 61 saves.

The Thunderbirds sit at 3-1 on the year with the victory. The team returns to The Nest on Jan. 13 for another showdown with the FireWolves. Opening face-off is slated for 7:30 p.m. AT.

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