Matthews The Hero In Rock’s Come From Behind Victory

The Halifax Thunderbirds (8-7) visited the Toronto Rock (12-3) at FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton, Ontario Saturday night in front of 9,588 fans.

Clarke Petterson’s (33g, 46a) breakout year continues, while Austin Shanks (19g, 47a) is also having a big year, and is on pace to have a new career-high in points come season’s end.  Ryan Benesch (36g, 26a) continues his electric season, as he leads the Thunderbirds in scoring. Fellow veteran Cody Jamieson (15g, 33a) has also put up some big numbers in recent games, providing timely scoring for his squad.

Mark Matthews (23g, 56a) continues to be the player the Rock expected him to be when they acquired him via trade this past summer. He and lefty running mate Corey Small (33g, 26a) currently lead Toronto in scoring with a handful of games left in the year.  Tom Schreiber (14g, 40a) has been on a tear since returning from injury. He’s averaging six points a game this season and makes the right side that much more dynamic for the Rock. He’ll play alongside Chris Boushy (25g, 27a), Dan Lintner (13g, 15a), and Josh Dawick (11g, 13a). 

The goaltending match-up had Warren Hill in net for Halifax facing Nick Rose in net for Toronto.

Halifax jumped out to a 4-0 first quarter lead, but Toronto got on track in the second scoring three of their own.  The teams headed to halftime with the Thunderbirds up 5-3.

The teams continued the track meet in the third quarter, but the goaltending was excellent.   Halifax finally solved Nick Rose with two goals, but Toronto finally answered with  0:36 seconds left to cut the Halifax lead to 7-4.

The fourth quarter looked like Halifax was going to leave with the victory, but two late goals by the Rock tied the game, sending it to overtime.

Although both teams had an opportunity to end the game early in overtime, a beautiful long lead pass from Tom Schreiber to Mark Matthews sent him in with the game winner at 2:25 for the 9-8 Rock victory.

To The Game:

Halifax got on the board first when Ryan Benesch fired a low to low shot off a Clarke Petterson pass at 3:11, followed by Ryan Terefenko in transition unassisted at 4:53.

The Thunderbirds increased their lead on the power-play when Dawson Theede fired a low to low shot off a Ryan Benesch pass at 5:36, followed by Johnny Pearson scoring from in close off a Clarke Petterson feed at 9:16.

After one quarter, Halifax 4 Toronto 0

Second Quarter:

The Rock finally got on the board when Dan Craig converted a rebound off a Chris Boushy shot at 0:30 seconds, followed by Justin Martin in transition going coast to coast beating Warren Hill at 1:23. 

The Rock got within one on the power-play when Mark Matthews fired a howitzer off a Dan Craig feed at 5:39, but Cody Jamieson stopped the Rock run on a two man advantage from in close off a Ryan Benesch pass at 11:16. 

At the half, Halifax 5 Toronto 3.

Third Quarter:

On a delayed penalty, Ryan Benesch fired a laser from the outside that beat Nick Rose off a Clarke Petterson pass at 6:07.   Petterson then added one of his own with a low to high blast off a Dawson Theede pass at 8:14. 

The Rock finally got on the board playing four on four when Tom Schreiber fired a low to low shot off a Corey Small feed at 14:24.

After three quarters, Halifax 7 Toronto 4.

Fourth Quarter:

Toronto opened the fourth quarter with Mitch de Snoo scoring in transition unassisted at 2:40, followed by Dan Craig diving from behind the net off a Corey Small pass just 0:33 seconds later.  The Thunderbirds stopped the Rock three goal run when Ryan Benesch scored from in close off an Dawson Theede feed at 4:30. 

Dan Lintner got the Rock within one on a breakaway off a Justin Martin pass at 13:15, followed by Tom Schreiber tying the game after getting his own rebound at 14:02.

After regulation, Toronto 8 Halifax 8.


After chances on either end, Tom Schreiber sent a long lead pass to Mark Matthews in the Halifax zone, who made no mistake for the Rock come from behind win at 2:25.

Final score, Toronto 9 Halifax 8.

The Three Stars:

1. Mark Matthews
2. Mitch de Snoo
3. Justin Martin

Game Stats:

Shots on goal favored Toronto 49-45.

The faceoff battle was almost even, with a slight 12-10 to Jake Withers and the Halifax Thunderbirds.

The loose ball battle went to Halifax 79-70.

The Thunderbirds went 2 for 6 on the power-play, while the Rock went 1 for 7.

Top Scorers:

Halifax Thunderbirds:

Ryan Benesch 3g, 2a
Clarke Petterson 1g, 4a
Dawson  Theede 1g, 2a

Toronto Rock:

Dan Craig 2g, 1a
Mark Matthews 2g, 1a
Tom Schreiber 2g, 1a

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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.