Thunderbirds dominant in victory over Rush

Feb 25, 2024

(SASKATOON, SK) February 24, 2024 – The Halifax Thunderbirds got back to winning ways, beating the Saskatchewan Rush 19-6 at SaskTel Centre on Saturday night.

Clarke Petterson and Austin Shanks finished with eight- and seven-point nights, respectively, to lead the Thunderbirds. Randy Staats (3G, 3A) was also extremely productive in his return to the Halifax lineup. 

Ryan Benesch (4G, 2A), Cody Jamieson (4A), and Dawson Theede (2G, 1A) also had productive nights in the victory. 

Halifax also got great outings from Ryan Terefenko (1G, 17LB) and Jake Withers, who went 26-for-30 on face-offs. 

Warren Hill earned his sixth win of the campaign with a 38-save effort. 

Halifax came out of the gates with a flurry, scoring the opening three goals of the game. Shanks got the opening goal off an outside shot on his birthday, and he was followed up by Petterson and Staats. 

Mike Messenger got the Rush’s first goal with a transition effort, but the Thunderbirds closed the first quarter on another run. Staats bagged his second goal of the night on a far-side bouncer, and Petterson added another with an end-to-end goal off a forced turnover on the defensive end. Benesch capped the frame off with a low shot that beat Frank Scigliano on the Power Play. 

Halifax carried a 6-1 advantage into the second, and they’d keep it rolling to end the half. Benesch and Ryan Terefenko got a pair for the Birds, but their tallies were answered by goals from Zach Manns and Clark Walter. But another three-goal Halifax run swung the momentum in the Thunderbirds’ favour. Benesch completed the hat trick after scooping up a loose ball on the crease and depositing it in the back of the net. 

Johnny Pearson got his first of the season when he found himself in alone in transition after scooping up a loose ball. Colton Armstrong added to the transition effort with another big goal to make it an eight-goal game. 

A Walter goal with two minutes left made it 11-4 Thunderbirds going into the half. 

The Third quarter saw Halifax take control of the game. Benesch ripped a low-to-high shot past Scigliano from distance, Petterson got a quick-stick goal on the power play, and Theede added his first off a bouncer five-hole to push the lead to 10. Shanks added another off a twister from distance and Hossack scored on an empty net after Saskatchewan pulled their goalie on the power play. 

Hill and Halifax’s defence were able to turn away the Rush’s attack as well, sending the Thunderbirds into the final frame up 16-4. 

From there, the team salted away the game. Saskatchewan got two goals to open the fourth, but Staats, Theede, and Aaron Woods put things on ice, sealing the 19-6 road victory. 

With the win, the Thunderbirds move to 7-4 for the year. The team is right back in action next week when they welcome the Georgia Swarm to Scotiabank Centre. Opening face-off is at 8:00 p.m. AT.

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