UNIONDALE, N.Y. (December 17, 2022) – The Halifax Thunderbirds (2-0) continued their strong offensive form on Long Island Saturday night, beating the New York Riptide (0-2) 20-11.
It was a milestone night on several fronts for the Thunderbirds, who saw rookie goaltender Drew Hutchison take over between the pipes in his first career start.
The Riptide opened a contentious quarter up with a pair. In his first game of the season, Austin Shanks made a pass to Ryan Benesch alone on the doorstep, where he buried the rock. A wraparound power-play goal put the Riptide back up by two, but a five-goal run from the Thunderbirds capped by a Randy Staats power-play goal put them up 6-3 after 15 minutes.
Chris Boushy kicked off the second quarter with a goal that survived a coach’s challenge. Benesch’s hat trick came a little over a minute later, followed by Staats’ second of the game chasing Riptide netminder Steve Orleman from the cage.
Reilly O’Connor finally stopped the Thunderbirds’ eight-goal streak off the two-man game. Boushy crashed the cage for his hat trick, and Benesch netted his fourth goal off a feed from captain Cody Jamieson to put the Thunderbirds up 11-4. A pair from the Riptide was answered by a pair from Staats, restoring the seven-goal lead, 13-6.
Coming out of the locker room, the Thunderbirds hit a bit of a lull in the third. They managed just a single goal to the Riptide’s four. But the lone goal came out of the stick of Benesch, who potted his fifth of the night to give Halifax a 14-10 advantage with 15 minutes to play.
From there, Hutchison and the defence were able to shut the door, conceding just a single goal in the final frame. The offence came to life to close things out, with Boushy, Clarke Petterson, Ryan Terefenko, Jamieson, and Eric Fannell capping off a massive night with six markers down the stretch.
Benesch led the way offensively for the Thunderbirds, finishing with nine points (5G,4A). Staats (4G, 4A), Jamieson (2G, 5A), and Petterson (2G, 4A) also chipped in with big offensive nights.
On top of his huge outing, Benesch moved further up the NLL record book, surpassing Shawn Williams for eighth all-time in career points.
Shanks and Boushy also set records in the first half, hitting the 200- and 100-point plateaus, respectively.
The Thunderbirds head for another bye week before continuing their three-game road trip. They travel to KeyBank Center to take on the Buffalo Bandits (1-1) on Friday, Dec. 30. Face-off is set for 8:30 p.m. AT. Fans can catch the game live on TSN Direct.