Justin Ivey, NLL Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©
The New England Black Wolves (7-3), fresh off a win over New York Friday night, defeated the Halifax Thunderbirds (7-4) on Sunday. “Getting double wins over the weekend is difficult…you almost breath a sigh of relief at the end when you come out because you feel good, you have accomplished what you wanted to do,” said Black Wolves Head Coach Glenn Clark. The loss for Halifax is their second of the weekend after dropping the contest to Buffalo last night, and after a league best 6-0 start, have now gone 1-4 over the last five. The Black Wolves played a complete game of lacrosse, and possibly their best game of the season, against a Thunderbirds team that played their second game away from home in less than 24 hours. New England rookie Andrew Kew (3G, 4A) led the charge early and Callum Crawford (5G, 3A) made sure the lead didn’t diminish despite the best efforts of Halifax veteran Cody Jamieson (4G, 2A). Final Score: Halifax-10, New England-16.
Halifax scored the first and last goal of the first quarter, but in between New England put up a four-goal run. Jake Withers (1G) won the opening draw and zig zagged his way to the net for the first score just nine seconds in. The young Black Wolves answered, making sure the team wasn’t plagued yet again by a slow start and a multi-goal early deficit. Kew scored the first and third, a streaking Jackson Nishimura (1G) scored the second in transition, and veteran Joe Resetarits (2G, 1A) made it 4-1 with 1:42 remaining. Kew, when asked about his big night, said, “I was playing with a lot more confidence tonight…mostly because our offense was swinging the ball so well…other guys working and banging in the middle to get everyone open, swinging the ball side to side and I think that’s why we were all effective tonight.” The five on five defense for New England was solid in front of starting goaltender Doug Jamieson (41SV, 2A) who made eight saves in the first. The second Halifax goal came with 1:01 remaining as Trevor Smyth (1G) was able to breakout in transition and score on the break. At the end of the first quarter, New England led Halifax 4-2.
Offenses continued to be hot in the second. Jamieson scored the opening goal on the power play to get Halifax within one, but New England again answered with a four-goal run started by Kew. This time, the veterans brought the lead back. Crawford notched his first of the game followed by goals from Reilly O’Connor (1G, 1A) and Resetarits. With 6:41 remaining, New England was ahead 8-3. Halifax came right back. In the following three minutes, they scored three goals. An Austin Shanks (1G, 3A) goal was bookended by two from Jamieson, completing his first half hat trick on the power play with 3:52 remaining. Suddenly, Halifax was only down two but with under two minutes remaining in the half, Jordan Durston (1G) scored his lone goal of the game from outside. At the half, New England led Halifax 9-6.
Scoring slowed down in the third, but tensions raised. A few players had to be separated and twice matching penalties were assessed. Crawford opened the scoring with his second of the game 3:05 in and just over four minutes later Jamieson answered. Each team scored on a power play opportunity in the back half of the quarter to keep the scoring even. Crawford completed his hat trick before Clarke Petterson (2G, 2A) found the net with 23 seconds remaining. At the end of the third quarter, New England led Halifax 11-8.
Ryan Benesch (1G, 2A) finally found an opening to score his lone goal of the game less than a minute into the fourth and again the Thunderbirds were within two. New England, who had been keeping pressure on in transition all night, scored two more on the break to distance themselves. Adam Bomberry (1G) scored on a beautiful diving effort before John LaFontaine (1G, 2A) took it the length of the floor himself. Petterson answered just 20 seconds later and in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter, the teams had matched their goal totals from the third. As New England slowed to burn time, the Halifax offense couldn’t break through. Crawford scored with 3:59 remaining to stretch the lead to 14-10 and added an empty netter just over two minutes later. Colton Watkinson (1G) added another transition goal 27 seconds after and the Black Wolves ran out the clock to the cheers of the 5,500 fans in attendance. Final Score: Halifax-10, New England-16.
The New England Black Wolves (7-3) travel to play the Philadelphia Wings (7-5) Saturday, March 7 at 1:00 PM EST.
The Halifax Thunderbirds (7-4) host the Buffalo Bandits (7-3) on Sunday, March 8 at 2:00 PM EST.