Thunderbirds best Wings in crucial matchup

Mar 25, 2023

PHILADELPHIA, PA (March 25, 2023) -- The Halifax Thunderbirds (7-7) came out on top of the Philadelphia Wings (6-8) on Saturday night, winning 14-10 in a battle for the fourth seed at the Wells Fargo Center. 

Eric Fannell's three-goal outing helped the Thunderbirds jump out to a first-half lead, while Cody Jamieson (2G, 4A), Randy Staats (1G, 4A) and Ryan Benesch (2G, 2A) pitched in with big nights. 

The first quarter started off with the Wings grabbing an early lead. Mitch Jones got his first of the night just 26 seconds into the contest. However, the Thunderbirds had a big answer. Fannell got the Birds on the board, and he was followed by goals from Benesch, Clarke Petterson. Fannell added his second of the opening frame to make it 4-1 after one quarter. 

With his goal in the first quarter, Benesch also became the seventh player in National Lacrosse League history to hit the 1,200-career-point plateau. 

Halifax continued to push the pace in the second quarter, with the defence and Warren Hill coming up with big stops while the offence continued to go to work. 

Sam LeClair pulled Philadelphia within a pair in the opening minute of the second, but a three-goal run from the Thunderbirds pushed the lead to 7-2. Staats got his first before Ryan Terefenko followed up off the ensuing draw with a quick strike in transition. Fannell completed his hat trick with another transition marker. 

Ben McInrosh and Taite Cattoni got goals to end the half, but a Jamieson tally sent the Birds into the half with an 8-4 advantage. 

Coming out for the second half, the hosts cut into the lead, going on a run of their own. McIntosh scored a pair and Blaze Riorden got on the board with his first, getting the Wings to within a goal. Chris Boushy and Jones traded goals before Benesch potted his second to give Halifax a 10-8 lead heading into the final 15 minutes of regulation. 

Philadelphia kept pushing to knot the game, but the Thunderbirds found an answer every time. Jones and Jamieson each scored to start the fourth. McIntosh once again cut the Halifax lead to 11-10, but Hill would shut things down from that point on, putting an exclamation point on his 38-save performance. 

The Thunderbirds got insurance in the form of goals from Austin Shanks and Dawson Theede, and Terefenko buried an empty-netter with just over 1:30 to play to seal the victory. 

With their second straight victory, the Thunderbirds move to 7-7 on the year while also maintaining the fourth seed in the East Division. The team will have an opportunity to make it three straight wins at home on Apr 2 when they take on the Georgia Swarm at Scotiabank Centre. Opening face-off is set for 2:00 p.m. AT.

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