Halifax Gets Thunderstruck by the Rush in OT 2/16/2020

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Matteo Nobile, Correspondent Halifax Thunderbirds
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Featured Image Photo Credit:  Trevor MacMillan

On February 15th the Halifax Thunderbirds (6-2) hosted the Saskatchewan Rush (5-2) at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  With just under 9,000 fans in attendance from all over the Maritimes they hoped to help Halifax get back on their winning streak after falling to the Toronto Rock on January 31st. Despite an excellent fourth-quarter push by the Thunderbirds, Halifax was unable to close the game out in overtime as they would lose their second game of the season. Final score OT: Saskatchewan 16—Halifax 15.

The first quarter was all Rush as they ended the quarter up 4-0. With back to back goals by Ben McIntosh (4G) to open the game and his second coming on the power-play. Ryan Keenan (3G, 2A) kept things rolling and notched another for the Rush; and Matthew Dinsdale (1G, 1A) would close it out scoring his only goal of the night with just under three minutes remaining. The Rush would hold the lead 4-0 after the first 15 minutes of play.

Graeme Hossack (1G) finally got the Thunderbirds on the board scoring the first goal of the second quarter 18 minutes into the contest.  Hossack’s goal was followed by another run for the Rush this one totaled three unanswered goals. Keenan would get his second of the night with Mark Matthews (1G, 5A) getting the assist. Ryan Dilks (1G) scored an unassisted tally for the Rush; followed by a shorthanded goal from Chris Corbeil (1G, 3A). Austin Shanks (5G, 2A) would tally two back to back power-play goals for the T’Birds to stop the run with the second coming just 16 seconds after the first. At the end of the first half, the Rush still held the lead 7-3.

Saskatchewan would open the half with five unanswered goals. Justin Robinson (1G) would get the first of the five-goal run followed by another goal from Keenan. After the Keenan goal, the Thunderbirds put in Pete Dubenski for his first action this season. His welcome party included a three goal run from Saskatchewan. Robert Church (3G, 3A) was able to find the back of the net with back to back goals; and McIntosh notched his hat-trick on the night with an assist from Matthews. Halifax Forward Ryan Benesch (3G, 7A) would capitalize on the power-play to end the Rush’s scoring run. The goal from Benesch sparked the Thunderbirds offence with a goal from Cody Jamieson (3G, 6A); and they’d bookended it with another for Benesch all coming within a minute of each other. Matthews answered back, stopping the Halifax run but Benesch would get the last goal of the quarter to notch his hat-trick with only four seconds remaining on the clock. At the end of the third quarter, the Rush were still in the lead 13-7.

Photo Credit: Trevor MacMillan

It was a much different fourth as the T’Birds had settled down after some sloppy play in the first three.  They would outscore the Rush 8-3 in the frame. The Rush would open it up at the 1:00 minute mark with one from McIntosh, but the T’Birds would answer back quickly with a goal from Scott Campbell (2G) only 10 seconds later.  They’d control the next 11 minutes keeping the Rush out of the net.  Shanks would keep the Thunderbirds offence rolling with back to back goals and his second one coming off of the power-play. Clark Petterson (1G, 2A) found the back of the net for another power-play tally to cut the Rush lead to just three 13-10; and Campbell would log his second of the quarter. Church would halt the run at 11:44 responding with the assist coming from Keenan putting the lead back to four. With just over three minutes remaining in regulation, the Thunderbirds decided to go with an empty net to get the extra attacker on the floor. Playing 6 on 5 Jamieson and Benesch (assist) were able to capitalize and scoring back to back goals to get them to within one. With just under 30 seconds left, Shanks got the pass from Jamieson to tie it up at 15’s with 25.6 left on the clock.  With the ensuing face-off and the ever dominant Jake Withers to face off, Halifax felt good about their chances for the possession and the win.  Shanks grabbed the loosie and fired a shot as the clock expired that beat Kirk but not the crossbar, sending the game into overtime.  Score at the end of four:  Halifax 15—Saskatchewan 15.

Into overtime the teams went.  Halifax got the first possession and Jamieson took the shot on the doorstep.  Unfortunately, the referees said the shot was a second late and the shot clock had expired therefore “no goal”.  This would not be the only goal taken off the board during the extra frame.  It took a total of three overtime goals to finally determine the winner.  Chris Corbeil found an open Mike Messenger (1G, 1A) and he made the dive for the final goal at 6:16 into the frame.  Final Score OT: Rush 16—Thunderbirds 15.

Saskatchewan:  49 SOG; 20 SOFF; 99 LB; 13-35 FO; 2-4 PP; 14 PIM
Halifax:  67 SOG; 31 SOFF; 104 LB; 22-35 FO; 6-7 PP; 8 PIM

Saskatchewan  Evan Kirk:  67 SOG; 52 Saves; 15 GA; .766 Sv%%
Halifax  Warren Hill:  32 SOG; 23 Saves; 9 GA; .719 Sv%
Halifax  Pete Dubenski:  17 SOG; 10 Saves; 7 GA; .588 Sv%


The Halifax Thunderbirds (6-2) will host the Toronto Rock (6-2) on Friday February 21, game time 6:00 p.m. EST.  This game is extremely important for both teams as this is a North Division match up.  If Halifax wins, they move back into first.  If Toronto wins, they will take a two game lead in the North.

The Saskatchewan Rush (5-2) will head east to face the Philadelphia Wings (6-3) on Friday February 22, game time 7:00 p.m. EST.  The Wings are currently in first place in the East Division and the Rush are currently in first place in the West.  This will be the only time these two teams will meet during the regular season in 2020.

Matteo Nobile, Correspondent Halifax Thunderbirds
Lacrosse is Awesome©