The Halifax Thunderbirds traveled to Long Island to face the New York Riptide at NYCB Live Saturday night. Coming off a bye week, the Thunderbirds were gifted an early present when forward Randy Staats was activated from Injured Reserve. The Riptide, who have never beaten Halifax since the team’s inception, were looking to rebound after an opening loss to Philadelphia. Staats kept the Thunderbirds perfect against New York, his 3 goals and 3 assists powering Halifax to a 14-6 win.

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Halifax unfazed by hidden ball trick

It took just 24 seconds for New York to get on the board. Following the opening faceoff, the Riptide used a hidden ball trick to allow Connor Kearnan (1g, 2a) an easy goal. Unfortunately for the Riptide, Halifax would score six of the next seven goals into the second quarter. A three-goal run saw markers from Staats (1:57), Graeme Hossack (2:48), and Cody Jamieson (4g, 1a; 8:45). Kiel Matisz (3g) broke the run with a power play goal at 10:57. The Thunderbirds promptly put together another three-goal run, with Tyson Bell (1g, 1a; 12:13) and Ryan Benesch (1g, 2a; 14:50 power play) making it 5-2 after one quarter of play.

The second quarter was comparatively quiet until Ryan Terefenko (11:13) made it 6-2. Just seconds later, Riptide rookie defenseman Callum Jones, the #3 overall pick in 2023 making his NLL debut, got into a heated scrap with Halifax faceoff wizard Jake Withers. Both players were ejected from the game. Jeff Teat (1g, 1a) got one back for New York at 11:42, but Staats (14:43 power play) and Jamieson (14:58 power play) extended the Halifax lead to 8-3 going into halftime.

Halifax pulls away in second half

Jamieson scored 30 seconds into the third quarter to complete the Thunderbirds’ third three-goal run of the game. Reilly O’Connor (1g, 1a; 2:08) got one back for New York, but Staats’ hat trick goal (4:11) made it 10-4. Matisz went back-to-back (4:57 power play; 6:43) to cut the deficit to four, and it briefly looked like the Riptide would work their way back into the game. However, the Thunderbirds had other ideas. Goals from Dawson Theede (2g, 1a; 11:09) and Clarke Petterson (1g, 4a; 13:26) put Halifax up 12-6 after three quarters. Theede scored again in the fourth (4:26), and Jamieson’s fourth goal of the night (6:29 power play) closed the scoring. Riptide goaltender Cameron Dunkerley (31 saves) was pulled in favor of Will Johnston with six minutes remaining in the game.

Other Stats of Note

Bell (HFX) led all players with 10 Loose Balls

Warren Hill (HFX): 33 saves

Defenseman Zack Deaken (#8 overall in 2022) also made his debut for the Riptide, recording 3 Loose Balls and a Caused Turnover

With two assists, Ryan Benesch moved past Shawn Williams into 8th place on the NLL’s all-time assists list

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“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk

“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk was formally introduced to box lacrosse when he attended a New England Black Wolves game on a whim in 2016. Instantly hooked, he has since become an avid follower of the National Lacrosse League. Following the postponement of the 2019-2020 NLL season, he was offered the chance to share his wealth of statistical knowledge and unique insights with the lacrosse community at large. He cheerfully accepted, and currently serves as Edge of Philly’s correspondent for both the Albany FireWolves and New York Riptide.