Thunderbirds overwhelm Riptide to stay undefeated

Dec 16, 2023

(LONG ISLAND, NY) December 16, 2023 -- The Halifax Thunderbirds walked out of Nassau Coliseum with a victory on Saturday night, defeating the New York Riptide 14-6. 

Randy Staats returned to the Halifax lineup in a big way, finishing the evening with a team-best six points while captain Cody Jamieson had four goals and five points of his own.

Clarke Petterson (1G, 4A) and Austin Shanks (4A) each chipped in solid performances, as did Ryan Benesch (1G, 2A), Dawson Theede (2G, 1A), and Cole Kirst (3A). 

Warren Hill also secured his second victory on the season with another 33-save performance. 

The game opened peculiarly, with the Riptide getting on the board in the opening minute with a hidden-ball trick. But Halifax had a quick response with goals from Staats, Graeme Hossack, and Jamieson. A Kiel Matsz power-play response pulled the game back to within a goal, but Tyson Bell put home a diving effort off a rebound and Benesch followed up with 10 seconds left in the quarter to make it 5-2 for the visitors after one. 

Similar to the opening game of the season, an eventful first was followed up by a more methodical second as the two teams settled into the game. But with 3:47 left in the half, Ryan Terfenko got his first of the season in transition. That was answered under a minute later by a transition goal by Jeff Teat. But in the final minute of the second quarter, it was Staats finding twine again, this time tucking a shot underneath the crossbar off a feed into the middle from Petterson.

Halifax was able to get possession off the draw and call a timeout. Out of that, they were able to find Jamieson, who buried a bouncer with a second left to send his team into the half with an 8-3 advantage. 

Those final two goals were scored on a power play after rookie defender Callum Jones was assessed a five-minute major for high-sticking Jake Withers. The two then got into a fight, each being given a game misconduct with just under four minutes left in the second. 

Coming out of halftime, Jamieson started right where he left off, with another power-play goal just 30 seconds into the third. Reilly O’Connor got his first of the night but was answered by Staats. But then, New York started to gain some momentum back off their only multi-goal run of the game. Matisz completed his hat trick with back-to-back goals to make it 10-6 Halifax.

But the Birds’ offence started to get shots to fall past Cameron Dunkerley after that. Dawson Theede put the moves on Kevin Brownell en route to a beautiful finish in tight before Petterson scored off a spin and shot. 

Halifax had 15 minutes to close out a game they led 12-6 after three. The defence and Hill came up massive in the final frame, blanking the Riptide, while Theede and Jamieson added insurance markers to seal the deal.

Two Thunderbirds also hit career milestones on the night. Staats' first goal of the night helped him surpass the 500-point mark for his career. Meanwhile, Ryan Benesch surpassed Shawn Williams for eighth all-time in NLL history for assists with his helper on Jamieson's marker to end the first half. 

With the victory, the Thunderbirds move to 2-0 on the season. They’ll have a week off for the holidays before returning to The Nest to take on the Philadelphia Wings on Dec 29. 

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