Halifax Back On Track With Convincing Win Over Knighthawks

After opening the season with three straight wins, the Rochester Knighthawks (3-3) were looking to avoid their third straight loss as they opened a two-game road swing north of the border against the Halifax Thunderbirds (3-3) at Scotiabank Centre.

The Thunderbirds, who are also amid a three-game slide, have bested Rochester in four of the previous five meetings between the two teams, including all three get togethers at the Bird’s Nest.  This matchup, the first of two this season between the two, promises to be an offensive battle showcasing the NLL’s top two scoring teams. The Knighthawks, come into the weekend averaging a league-best 14.00 goals per game while their 70 goals scored ranks fifth in the NLL. Halifax sits at a close second, averaging 13.00 goals per game through its first five games of the season.

The goalie match-up had Riley Hutchcraft in net for the Knighthawks facing Warren Hill of the Thunderbirds.

In a game that Halifax led from wire to wire, the Thunderbirds looked more like the team of the last few years.  Jake Withers set the tone early winning a faceoff, driving to the net and passing to Clarke Petterson for a goal 0:07 seconds in.  Halifax controlled the pace throughout the first half, with Warren Hill having answers for the Knighthawks when they did create offense.

Up 8-4 after the first half, Halifax increased the lead to 10-4 by the midway point of the third.  Although the Knighthawks brought the game within three in the fourth quarter, goals from Ryan Benesch and Clarke Petterson sealed the 13-8 victory.

To The Game:

Before the fans even settled on their seats, Halifax already had them on their feet early.  Jake Withers won the faceoff, drove to the net and passed to Clarke Petterson for an in close goal just 0:07 seconds in.   Ryan Benesch then added to the lead converting a Max Wilson feed at 3:00.

Matt Gilray got the Knighthawks on the board in transition off a Joe Post feed at 3:26, but Colton Armstrong answered back for the Thunderbirds off a Graeme Hossack pass at 4:49.

Connor Fields blasted a Ryan Lanchbury pass at 12:40, but Ryan Benesch ‘s second of the night restored the two goal lead

After one quarter, Halifax 4 Rochester 2.

Second Quarter:

Halifax picked up where they left off in the first with Ryan Benesch scoring his third of the game off a Dawson Theede pass at 6:15, followed by Randy Staats converting a Clarke Petterson pass at 7:29.

Ethan O’Connor scored in transition for Rochester off a Brad Gillies feed at 9:26, but was answered by Randy Staats’ second of the night off a Wake:Riat Bowhunter pass at 10:06.

Ryan Smith kept the Knighthawks in the game scoring in transition off a long lead pass from Riley Hutchcraft at 11:42, but Ryan Benesch’s fourth of the night on the power-play had the Thunderbirds up by four at the half.

At halftime, Halifax 8 Rochester 4.

Third Quarter:

Clarke Petterson opened the second half scoring converting a Cody Jamieson pass at 2:04, followed by Austin Shanks scoring on the power-play off a Clarke Petterson pass at 7:38.

Ryan Smith scored his second of the night on the power-play off a Matt Gilray pass at 11:36, but again Halifax answered with Clarke Petterson scoring on the power-play off a Cody Jamieson feed with just 0:02 seconds left in the quarter.

After three quarters, Halifax 11 Rochester 5.

Fourth Quarter:

The Knighthawks, playing more desperately, took over the play in the fourth scoring three times.  Ben MacDonnell scored off an Ethan O’Connor pass on transition at 1:00, followed by Connor Fields scoring off a Kyle Waters pass at 4:25.  Fields added another when he blasted a Ryland Rees feed at 11:44.

Ryan Benesch scored his fifth of the night on the power-play off a Randy Staats pass at 12:16, followed by Austin Shanks converting a Dawson Theede pass at 14:33.

Final score, Halifax 13 Rochester 8.

The Three Stars:

1. Ryan Benesch
2. Randy Staats
3. Connor Fields

Game Stats:

  • Shots on goal favored the Thunderbirds 55-49.
  • The faceoff battle was won by Halifax 16-9.
  • The loose ball battle went to Rochester 74-69.
  • Rochester went 1 for 5 on the power-play, while the Thunderbirds went 4 for 6.

Top Scorers:

Rochester Knighthawks:

  • Connor Fields 3g, 0a
  • Ryan Smith 2g, 0a
  • Ryan Lanchbury 0g, 2a

Halifax Thunderbirds:

  • Ryan Benesch 5g, 0a
  • Randy Staats 2g, 3a
  • Clarke Petterson 3g, 2a

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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.