Halifax Downs Buffalo With A Big Second Half

The Halifax Thunderbirds came from behind with a big second half to down the Buffalo Bandits 14-12 on Friday night in NLL action.

Down 8-2 late in the second quarter, the Thunderbirds outscored the Bandits 9-4 in the second half to complete the comeback.

Jake Withers went a perfect 30-for-30 at the faceoff dot for the Thunderbirds. Halifax’s power play caused all sorts of problems for the Bandits as they went four-for-six on the man advantage.

Meanwhile, Ryan Benesch put in five goals to lead Halifax to victory. Clarke Petterson and Austin Shanks each added nine points with two goals and seven assists a piece. Cody Jamieson also had three assists to reach 600 assists for his career.

For Buffalo, Kyle Buchanan had a hat trick, while Josh Byrne had an eight-point night and Dhane Smith put up nine points.

It’s an important win for the Thunderbirds as they now have to travel across the country to face the Calgary Roughnecks on Sunday night.

Buffalo Takes Control In The First

Chris Cloutier opened the scoring at the 3:01 mark, but Benesch replied right back to tie it up at 4:21.

Buffalo would grab the lead with a three-goal run. Dhane Smith found the back of the net at 7:25 followed by Chase Fraser less than a minute later. Buchanan rounded out the run on the power play at 10:44 to make it 4-1.

Dawson Theede added to Halifax’s tally with 1:14 left in the quarter, but Buffalo held a 4-2 advantage after the first quarter.

Bandits Chase Warren Hill

Buffalo opened the second quarter with a four-goal run to take a commanding lead.

Fraser put the Bandits up by three 2:26 into the second quarter. Byrne would then make it 6-2 at the 3:09 mark.

Steve Priolo would then score off a pass from Matt Spanger with 9:20 on the clock for Buffalo’s seventh goal. That would make the end of Warren Hill’s night in goal for the Thunderbirds. He was pulled in favour of Drew Hutchison after giving up seven goals on 21 shots.

Dhane Smith finished off the four-goal run with 5:58 on the clock as the Bandit held a huge 8-2 lead.

Halifax answered back 50 seconds later on the power play with Shanks finding the back of the net to start a four-goal run between the second and third quarters.

Peterson scored with 2:16 remaining and Aaron Woods continued his strong rookie campaign. He scored with 1:13 left to make it 8-5 for the Bandits at halftime.

Thunderbirds Chip Away Buffalo’s Lead

Benesch and the Thunderbird then came out firing in the second half. Benesch scored 3:35 into the third quarter to narrow Buffalo’s lead to 8-6.

Buchanan replied at the mid-way point of the third quarter to put the Bandits up 9-6.

Halifax rounded out the third quarter on a three-goal run in a span of 1:31. Shanks scored with 2:31 on the clock on the power play followed by Theede with 1:25 left in the quarter to make it a one-goal game.

Benesch then scored his hat trick goal with one minute left in the third and suddenly we were tied 9-9 heading into the final frame.

Thunderbird Cap Off A Big Second Half

Byrne opened the scoring 48 seconds into the fourth quarter as Buffalo regained the lead 10-9.

However, Halifax got goals from Petterson and Benesch as the Thunderbirds had their first lead of the game 11-10 with 11:26 still left to play.

Cloutier was able to tie the game back up 11-11 at the 4:22 mark. Once again, Halifax came up big on the power play with a goal from Theede at 8:51.

Buchanan scored with 4:43 remain to make it 12-12 but Halifax capped off the big second half with goals from Woods and Benesch to make the final 14-12.

Top Scorers

Halifax Thunderbirds

Clarke Petterson, 2g 7a

Austin Shanks, 2g 7a

Ryan Benesch, 5g 1a

Buffalo Bandits

Dhane Smith, 2g 7a

Josh Byrne, 2g 6a

Kyle Buchanan, 3g 1a

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Shawn Slaght
Shawn Slaght

Shawn Slaght has been a sports reporter across the Canadian prairies for over 10 years and has experience covering everything from junior hockey to World Cup skiing to all levels of lacrosse. He is the Saskatchewan correspondent for All Lacrosse All The Time.