All Lacrosse All The Time – A Division of Edge of Philly Sports Network
The Halifax Thunderbirds (2-1) were back in action on Friday night, as they traveled to Buffalo for an East Division showdown with the rival Bandits (2-1) at KeyBank Center in front of 14,040 fans.
The Halifax offensive output has been widespread through the first two contests this season. New additions Ryan Benesch and Randy Staats have led the way so far. Benesch has an even eight goals and eight assists for 16 points, while Staats has five markers of his own and 15 points. Captain Cody Jamieson has also started strong with 14 points.
Buffalo still has the dynamic offensive duo of 2022 NLL MVP Dhane Smith and Josh Byrne. The pair swing the ball extremely well and are tough individual matchups. Smith has opened the year with one goal and 11 points through two games, while Byrne has nine points. Veteran righty Kyle Buchanan has also started strong with nine points of his own, while power forward Tehoka Nanticoke has posted six goals through his first two outings.
The goalie match-up had Warren Hill in net for the Thunderbirds against Matt Vinc in net for Buffalo.
This game showed how explosive both teams could be. Josh Byrne (7g,4a) and Dhane Smith (3g,7a) led the way for the Bandits chasing Warren Hill in favor of Drew Hutchison in the third quarter. Tied 8-8 at the half, the Bandits kicked it into another gear in the third, outscoring Halifax 5-2 enroute to the 18-13 victory.
To The Game:
The Thunderbirds opened the scoring on the power play, with Clarke Petterson passing behind the back to Chris Boushy, beating Vinc shortside at 2:45. Buffalo came right back when Josh Byrne fired a low laser from the outside off a Dhane Smith feed at 3:28.
Randy Staats gave Halifax the lead with a beautiful shot over Matt Vinc’s shoulder off a Ryan Terefenko pass at 6:11. Josh Byrne then scored his second of the quarter, converting a Dalton Sulver pass at 11:14 to tie the game once again.
After one quarter, Halifax 2 Buffalo 2.
Wake:Riat Bowhunter fired a howitzer from the outside beating Matt Vinc stick side off a Randy Staats pass at 1:07, followed by Cody Jamieson blasting a shot over Matt Vinc’s shoulder off a Clarke Petterson feed at 3:56.
Josh Byrne answered back with his third of the night shooting low to high over Hill’s shoulder shorthanded at 6:30, then tied it up when Tehoka Nanticoke made a beautiful individual effort, charging to the net, scoring while falling down at 7:17 also shorthanded.
Halifax took the lead once again when Ryan Benesch scored on the power play at 7:41, but was answered by the Bandits in transition when Dylan Robinson scored off a Matt Spanger pass at 9:59. Josh Byrne scored his fourth of the night with a shot that just trickled past Warren Hill on the power play just 0:15 seconds later.
The Thunderbirds tied it up when Clarke Petterson scored on the power play at 11:02, but Brandon Robinson came back with a quick stick off a Dhane Smith pass at 12:22. Josh Byrne scored his fifth of the night with a shot from in close giving the Bandits a two goal lead at 13:31. Randy Staats scored his second of the night off a Clarke Petterson pass at 14:00, then Cody Jamieson converted a Randy Staats pass 0:11 seconds later to tie the game heading to the half.
At the half, Buffalo 8 Halifax 8.
- Jake Withers of Halifax was 14 for 16 in faceoffs for the first half.
The Bandits opened the third quarter with Dhane Smith scoring off a Kyle Buchanan pass at 1:36, followed by Tehoka Nanticoke scoring his second of the night diving across the crease at 2:25. Halifax challenged the play, but it was deemed a good goal. Kyle Buchanan added to the Bandits lead diving from behind the net to score in the top corner at 3:12. Ian MacKay scored from the outside at 7:23 to give Buffalo a 12-8 lead.
Halifax made a goaltending change, putting Drew Hutchison in net, relieving Warren Hill.
Josh Byrne got his sixth goal of the night scoring off a Dhane Smith pass at 11:59, but Halifax finally stopped the bleeding with a goal from Austin Shanks off a Cody Jamieson pass at 12:15. Chris Boushy then picked up a rebound and went around the net, diving from behind to score again for the Thunderbirds.
After three quarters, Buffalo 13 Halifax 10.
Josh Byrne scored his seventh of the night just 0:50 seconds into the quarter, but Randy Staats scored off an Austin Shanks pass at 1:05. Staats then fired a shot off the back glass, Cody Jamieson recovered the rebound and put it past Matt Vinc at 1:43 to narrow the margin to just two goals.
Matt Spanger scored shorthanded for the Bandits in transition at 4:07 on a breakaway, followed by Dhane Smith firing a shot to the shortside of Drew Hutchison at 5:47 off a Thomas Vaesen pass. Clarke Petterson scored again for the Thunderbirds off a Ryan Benesch pass at 10:29, but Dhane Smith scored again with a great move on Tyson Bell, scoring shortside at 13:04. Nick Weiss added an empty net goal off a Matt Vinc pass in transition at 13:18.
Tempers finally boiled over with Jake Withers and Max Adler duking it out at 13:31.
Final score, Buffalo 18 Halifax 13.
- Jake Withers was an incredible 28 for 34 for faceoffs in this game.
- Randy Staats 3g, 5a
- Clarke Petterson 2g, 4a
- Cody Jamieson 2g, 3a
- Josh Byrne 7g, 4a
- Dhane Smith 3g, 7a
- Kyle Buchanan 1g, 4a
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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.