Thunderbirds fall to Rock

Jan 12, 2024

(HALIFAX, NS) January 12, 2024 -- The Halifax Thunderbirds dropped a close game at Scotiabank Centre on Friday night, losing 11-9 to the Toronto Rock.

Randy Staats and Clarke Petterson each finished with four points apiece, with Staats netting a hat trick. 

Jake Withers and Ryan Terefenko combined for six points in transition, with Withers adding on 21 loose balls and five caused turnovers while going 18 of 24 on face-offs. 

Warren Hill turned away 29 Toronto shots but was saddled with his third loss on the year. 

Toronto hopped out to an early lead, taking control in the first with a 5-1 frame. Mitch De Snoo opened the scoring with a transition goal, but he was answered by a Ryan Benesch marker in the early goings. But from the 12-minute mark of the frame, Toronto had four unanswered. Challen Rogers put the visitors back into the lead before a pair from Corey Small and a goal from Dan Craig to give the Rock the edge. 

The second quarter was a slower pace, but Halifax started to cut into the deficit. Ryan Terefenko got a much-needed transition goal, and Staats scored his first of the night just under two minutes later to make it 5-3. Small completed his hat trick at the 4:17 mark to send the game into the locker room with Toronto leading 6-3. 

Staats began to put his stamp on the game for Halifax in the third quarter, scoring back-to-back goals for the Birds -- a Dan Lintner goal split the two. Terefenko buried his second transition goal at 7:44 of the third. The Rock pushed their lead to three to end the frame, with Craig and Mark Matthews scoring two straight. 

The Rock run got up to three, with Small getting another to open the fourth quarter. Halifax made their run to end the contest. Jake Withers won a face-off, split a double team, and then switched hands for a beautiful goal in transition. That was followed by another quick strike off the ensuing draw. Clarke Petterson got a feed in the offensive zone and made no mistake, cutting the Toronto lead to two. At 8:17 of the fourth, Thunderbirds captain Cody Jamieson picked up a loose ball and beat Nick Rose to the open cage for a beautiful dunk goal.

The Thunderbirds were within one with eight minutes left in regulation. But a Challen Rogers goal four minutes later was the insurance goal Toronto needed to seal the 11-9 victory. 

Now sitting at 2-3 on the year, the Thunderbirds will try and snap their current slide when they return home for a showdown with the Rochester Knighthawks. Opening face-off is slated for 7:00 p.m. AT. 

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