Bandits Show How Complete A Team They Are With Weekend Sweep Over Thunderbirds

Gary Groob
Lax Philly – A Division of Edge of Philly Sports Network

The Buffalo Bandits (12-1) visited the Halifax Thunderbirds (8-5) Sunday afternoon, in a return match from their first battle Saturday in Buffalo.  In the first game, the Thunderbirds fell 16-11 to the Bandits at the KeyBank Centre, who officially clinched a playoff spot with the victory.

Buffalo’s mentality would be to stay hungry and not take the game in Nova Scotia lightly.  Halifax was trying to snap a three-game losing streak and stay ahead of the rest of the east division, who are all bunching up in the middle.

The goalie match-up had Warren Hill for the Thunderbirds once again, against Matt Vinc in net for the Bandits.

Throughout this game, each time the Bandits looked to run away with the game, Halifax came back with a run of their own, showing the character that this team has.  Unfortunately for the Thunderbirds, they just couldn’t solve Matt Vinc enough, falling  16-11 to the Bandits for the second straight day, completing the weekend sweep.

To the game…

The Bandits got on the board quickly when Nick Weiss (1g,0a) converted a Matt Vinc pass in transition just 0:27 seconds into the game. 

Halifax came right back when Cody Jamieson (1g,3a) put a fake on Vinc, then scored far side off a Shawn Evans pass to even the score just 0:27 seconds later and the stage was set for this game.

Tehoka Nanticoke (1g,0a) made three solid fakes to get Warren Hill to bite on before putting it past him, giving the Bandits the lead once more at 3:12, followed by Chase Fraser (4g,0a) converting a Chris Cloutier pass shorthanded at 4:21.  Josh Byrne (2g,3a) increased the Bandits lead further when he was left alone at the top of the crease scoring off a Chris Cloutier pass at 8:58.

Halifax got back on track scoring a shorthanded goal themselves.  Brad Gillies (2g,0a) converted a Jake Withers pass at 12:50 to narrow the lead to just two goals.

After one quarter, Buffalo 4 Halifax 2.

Second Quarter:

Dhane Smith (5g,2a) opened the second quarter scoring on the power play off a Josh Byrne pass at 1:04, followed by Connor Fields (1g,3a) converting a Kyle Buchanan pass at 1:28 to make this a 6-2 game.

Halifax coach Mike Accursi had seen enough at this point, pulling Warren Hill in favor of Aaron Bold to try and spark his team.

The Thunderbirds responded when Brandon Robinson (1g,2a) scored unassisted at 2:48, to spark life inside the Scotiabank Centre. 

Nonkon Thompson took a five minute roughing penalty, and on the ensuing power play Buffalo’s Dhane Smith converted a Josh Byrne pass at 10:00, followed by Chase Fraser with his second of the night on the power play from the outside off a Dhane Smith pass at 11:47.

The Thunderbirds called a timeout with only a handful of seconds left in the half.  When they came back from the break Clarke Petterson (3g,1a) scored off a Cody Jamieson pass with just 0:3.6 seconds left.

At the half, Buffalo 8 Halifax 4

Third Quarter:

Josh Byrne opened the third quarter scoring scoring unassisted at 0:39 seconds, but the Thunderbirds stormed back when Dawson Theede (2g,0a) fired a laser past Matt Vinc off a Cody Jamieson pass on the power play at 1:33.

Dhane Smith scored his 300th career NLL goal, which bounced over the shoulder of Aaron Bold 0:23 seconds later, but Shawn Evans (1g,2a) answered back for the Thunderbirds converting a Brandon Robinson feed at 2:33.  Dhane Smith scored his fourth of the night on the power play off a Connor Fields pass at 3:52. 

Clarke Petterson scored his second of the game with a slow trickler, off an Austin Shanks pass at 5:45, to narrow the Bandits lead to 11-7, but Matt Spanger (1g,0a) scored five hole on Aaron Bold off a Kevin Brownell pass at 7:14, followed by Chase Fraser dunking the ball in from behind the net to increase the lead to 13-7 at 8:03.

Brad Gillies scored his second of the night in transition, over the shoulder of Matt Vinc at 9:01 unassisted, followed by Clarke Petterson scoring his third of the night off a Stephen Keogh pass at 13:09.  Austin Shanks (1g,1a) continued the Thunderbirds run with a far side bounce shot off a Scott Campbell pass just 0:18 seconds later, and Halifax was back in the game.

After three quarters, Buffalo 13 Halifax 10.

Fourth Quarter:

Dawson Theede put a squeaker past Matt Vinc with a behind the back shot off a Cody Jamieson pass at 1:56, but Chris Cloutier (1g,2a) finally stopped the Thunderbirds run, scoring off a Kyle Buchanan pass at 6:11.  Dhane Smith scored his fifth of the night off a Kevin Brownell pass at 10:51, increasing the lead to four goals with only a few minutes left.

Halifax continued to press, but spectacular goaltending by Matt Vinc kept this game in the Bandits control.

Chase Fraser put an exclamation point on the game scoring into the empty net at 14:33, to end the scoring on this day.

Final score, Buffalo 16 Halifax 11.

Three Stars:

  • First Star…………Dhane Smith
  • Second Star…….Matt Vinc
  • Third Star………..Clarke Petterson

Game Statistics:

  • Halifax outshot the Bandits 71-42
  • Jake Withers had a slight advantage over Max Adler on the faceoffs 16-15.
  • Buffalo went 4 for 6 on the power play, scoring a shorthanded goal as well.
  • Halifax went 1 for 5 on the power play, also scoring a shorthanded goal.
  • Halifax convincingly won the loose ball battle 103-67.

Top Scorers

Buffalo Bandits:

  • Dhane Smith 5g, 2a
  • Chase Fraser 4g, 1a
  • Josh Byrne 2g, 3a

Halifax Thunderbirds:

  • Clarke Petterson 3g, 1a
  • Cody Jamieson 1g, 3a
  • Dawson Theede 2g, 0a

Halifax plays their next game at home on Friday  April 1st against the Rochester Knighthawks at 9pm (ET)

Buffalo goes on the road to battle the Philadelphia Wings Thursday, March 31st at 7:30pm (ET)

Gary Groob
Gary Groob

Gary Groob has been involved with Lacrosse for the majority of his life, whether playing, coaching, or covering the sport for the media.

An avid fan, with a real drive about helping to “grow the game”, Gary became part of podcasts about the game in 2010. Through the podcasts, Mr. Groob was given an opportunity to write about lacrosse, and the rest as they say, is history.

Through many miles (flying and driving) Gary has made inroads with the National Lacrosse League, Major Series Lacrosse League, the Ontario Lacrosse Association, as well as the Arena Lacrosse League, covering the leagues, their teams, and players, working for, and in concert with all of them.

In the year 2020, Mr. Groob was made the media person for the Arena Lacrosse League, voted onto the board of directors of the Brampton Excelsiors Lacrosse Club, as well as being made administrator of the Lacrosse page “Global Lacrosse” with a membership of 9000 members in over 90 Countries. Gary was also made an administrator of Lacrosse History Past Present and Future in 2022.

Mr. Groob co-hosts a weekly Lacrosse show on Spanglish Sports World, and ZingoTV channel 250, as well as writes a weekly lacrosse column for La Portada Canada News (both in print, and online).

Gary also hosts a Lacrosse talk show and podcast for The Edge of Philly Sports Network, seen live Sunday nights at 9pm (ET), and archived on the Edge of Philly YouTube page, as well as Spotify.

Mr. Groob’s other sports interests include Hockey, Football, Boxing, Wrestling, and Baseball, competing competitively in Boxing and Wrestling for many years.