Thunderbirds drop OT heartbreaker to Wings

Dec 29, 2023

(HALIFAX, NS) December 29, 2023 – The Halifax dropped their final game of 2023 to the Philadelphia Wings, coming out on the wrong side of a 16-15 overtime decision at Scotiabank Centre. 

Ryan Benesch led the Thunderbirds with six goals and eight points. Randy Staats and Cody Jamieson also had six-point nights each. Austin Shanks (2G, 3A), Clarke Petterson (2G, 2A), and Dawson Theede (2G, 2A) also had productive nights. 

Jake Withers had another massive night, finishing with a pair of assists to go along with a 31-for-34 night at the stripe (91%), 23 loose balls and three caused turnovers. 

Halifax opened the first half strong, scoring 10 goals. Petterson opened things up with back-to-back goals, with Tanner Buck and Staats swapping markers to make it 3-1 Thunderbirds after one. 

Things started to open up in the second quarter, Benesch got his first of the game to answer a Mitch Jones goal, but Philly scored two straight in transition to tie the game at four. But Halifax had a run of their own, with four straight to jump back out in front. Trevor Smyth got a massive goal shorthanded in transition before Benesch, Shanks, and Theede piled on to make it 8-4 for the hosts. 

The teams finished the half with two more goals apiece. Jones and Alex Pace scored for the Wings while Benesch completed his first-half hat trick and Staats got a buzzer-beater. Halifax took a 10-6 lead into halftime. 

Philadelphia began to swing the momentum in the third with a 5-2 frame. Buck and Sam LeClair got a pair in the first five minutes, and despite an answer from Benesch, Joe Resetarits got his first of the night shortly after. Theeded potted his second, but he was also answered by a two-goal run from Jones and Ben McIntosh to end the third, making it 12-11 heading into the final quarter. 

The score continued to fluctuate in the fourth as both teams traded runs. Jones and Shanks each opened the fourth with goals, and after a Taite Cattoni marker tied the game at 13 with 12:49 to play. But a personal two-goal run by Benesch gto him the sock trick and a two-goal advantage for his team. 

With under four minutes to go, Philadelphia found the net twice. McIntosh and LeClair helped the visitors tie it at 15 in the late goings. Halifax had a chance in the final seconds, but a shot that found the back of the net came after the final buzzer. 

The two teams went to overtime. Each got two chances to end the game, and despite great chances, the goaltenders were up to the task. 

But with some quick passing, Jack Jasinski found himself open on a back cut, and he buried a crease dive to seal the win for Philadelphia in overtime. 

Halifax moves to 2-1 on the year with the loss. They’ll be right back in action next week, as they travel to Albany for a showdown with the FireWolves.

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