(HALIFAX, NS) February 9, 2024 – The Halifax Thunderbirds took home their third consecutive victory, beating the Las Vegas Desert Dogs 12-10 at Scotiabank Arena.
Clarke Petterson and Aaron Woods led the way for Halifax on the night, each chipping in with six-point efforts. Ryan Benesch (1G, 4A), Cody Jamieson (2G, 2A), and Austin Shanks (4A) also had strong offensive nights.
Warren Hill was outstanding once again between the pipes for the Thunderbirds, turning away 43 Vegas shots to earn his fifth win on the campaign.
The game opened with a goal from second-year man Wake:Riat Bowhunter, who bounced a shot through the legs of Landon Kells to get Halifax the first marker of the night. But in the early goings, Vegas found an answer for each Thunderbirds goal. Sean Westley fired back with a tally of his own to knot the game before Woods and Benesch traded a pair of goals with rookie Dylan Watson to make it 3-3 with under five minutes to play in the opening frame.
But Petterson’s first of the night put the Thunderbirds into the lead again, as the righty caught the Desert Dogs’ penalty kill napping and buried a shot from the outside to put the hosts back ahead 4-3. Woods added his second of the half off a great passing play from David Brock and Benesch that ended in the rookie’s stick off a back-door pass. He made no mistake, burying the shot to make it 5-3, a lead the Thunderbirds held into the second quarter.
The Thunderbirds started to flex their muscles to open the second and began to take the game over, pushing their run to six straight. Jamieson opened the frame with a ridiculous between-the-legs finish, and Petterson followed up by completing his hat trick with a two-goal run. Brock capped it off with a transition goal off a face-off to make it 9-3 for Halifax with seven minutes remaining in the half.
Westley answered back by completing his first career hat trick to pull Vegas closer after 30 minutes. Halifax carried a 9-5 lead into the break.
The third quarter was a low-scoring one with only three goals scored, but unfortunately for the Thunderbirds, they saw the visitors continue to creep back into the game. Connor Kirst and Hellyer put up goals during the third, and Halifax’s offence was held quiet for the majority of the quarter. But Bowhunter was able to get the defence to bite on a shot fake before setting up Jamieson on the back post for a tap-in to give the Thunderbirds their first goal of the second half at the 1:11 mark of the third.
Staring down their third straight win, Halifax was looking to maintain their 11-7 advantage for the final 15 minutes and come out victorious.
It would be Dawson Theede who came through in the critical moments of the game, burying back-to-back goals of his own to make it 13-7. Vegas made a small run at the end of game, with two from Casey Jackson -- one on the Power Play -- and a third goal to cap the run from Jack Hannah with the goalie pulled. But that's as close as they would get.
Hill and the Thunderbirds’ defence was able to shut the door and help the team leave with the victory.
The Thunderbirds have moved to 5-3 for the year with the win. They’re staring down a big upcoming weekend, as they welcome the Buffalo Bandits to Scotiabank Centre on Feb 16 for Marvel Super Hero Day before heading on the road to face the Calgary Roughnecks at Scotiabank Saddledome on Feb 18.