Thunderbirds fall just short against Swarm

Mar 1, 2024

(HALIFAX, NS) March 1, 2024 – The Halifax Thunderbirds' late comeback effort came up just short as they lost 12-11 to the Georgia Swarm at Scotiabank Centre on Friday night.

Clarke Petterson had a team-high six-point night while Austin Shanks and Dawson Theede each finished with four points. 

Warren Hill was able to turn away 42 shots but was saddled with his fifth loss of the season.

For the majority of the game, it was an uphill battle for the Thunderbirds, with goals being hard to come by in the first half. 

Halifax was outscored 3-1 in the first quarter, with Clarke Petterson's transition marker being the lone goal to stand for the Thunderbirds -- an opening goal from Ryan Benesch was called back after a challenge by Georgia. 

Shayne Jackson opened the scoring for the visitors. Jeff Henrick and Lyle Thompson added a pair to give the Swarm a two-goal lead through 15 minutes. 

The Thunderbirds looked to get back into the game heading into half, but Georgia had an answer to their efforts. Staats scored on a ridiculous behind-the-back goal, but Jackson buried a goal off the ensuing draw. Theede and Benesch scored in the middle portion of the frame, but a three-goal quarter from Thompson sent the Swarm into half with a 7-4 advantage. 

In the third quarter, Shanks and Staats opened with goals to make it a one-goal game. But the Thunderbirds got themselves into penalty trouble. Three consecutive penalty kills saw Halifax concede two goals to Andrew Kew, pushing the deficit back to three with a quarter to play. 

Georgia put the Thunderbirds on the ropes with another three-goal run, with Zach Miller, Brendan Bomberry, and Seth Oakes all getting their first goals of the night. 

But Halifax flipped the script the remainder of the fourth, trying to chip into the six-goal gap. 

Theede converted on a power play with 8:55 to play, and under a minute later, Petterson scored on a crease dive off a two-man game with Austin Shanks. Benesch followed up with his second of the game, ripping a low shot past Brett Dobson to make it 12-9 with 4:53 to play. And just 10 seconds later, Shanks brought The Nest to its feet with a running shot. 

With under two minutes to play, Georgia went to the box, giving Halifax a chance to pull closer, but Dobson and the Swarm defence held strong to keep the Halifax offence off the board.

Graeme Hossack was able to add a goal to get the Birds within one with five seconds left, but Halifax couldn't find the tying goal in the dying seconds. 

Halifax moves to 7-5 with the loss. They'll be back on the road next weekend when they head West for a meeting with the San Diego Seals. Face-off is set for 11:00 p.m. AT.

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