The Thunderbirds Ride A Huge First Half To Victory

The Halifax Thunderbirds (8-6) returned home to welcome the Panther City Lacrosse Club (6-7) to Scotiabank Centre in front of their largest crowd in club history of 10,196.

It’s been the pair of Clarke Petterson (30g, 43a) and Austin Shanks (16G, 45A) who lead Halifax in scoring this year.  Ryan Benesch (35g, 23a) and Cody Jamieson (14g, 32a) also continue to log big minutes on the offensive side of the ball while Dawson Theede (22g, 20a) and Aaron Woods (10g, 12a) continue to have breakout years.

Panther City’s top scorer this year has been fourth-year man WIll Malcom (27g, 45a), who is in the midst of a breakout year. He’s currently on pace to have his first 100-plus point year of his young NLL career. Two other 2022 first-rounders, Jason Knox (15g, 16a) and Mathieu Gautier (5g, 22g) have been strong as offensive options on the left side.

The goaltending matchup had Nick Damude in net for Panther City facing Warren Hill for the Thunderbirds.

The Thunderbirds started the game scoring early and often jumping out to a 6-1 lead after one quarter.  The onslaught continued in the second quarter with Halifax increasing their lead to 10-2, holding Panther City (PCLC) to merely 15 shots in the half.  Jake Withers dominated on faceoffs going 13 for 14 in the half.

The second half started with a heavyweight battle, and seemed to spark Panther City.   Cam MacLeod steadied the ship in relief of Nick Damude in the PCLC net.  Getting back on track, Panther City scored five times in the third to narrow the Thunderbirds lead to 10-7.

Halifax woke up in the fourth quarter scoring three goals in a minute to give themselves some breathing room.  While PCLC kept pressing, the Thunderbirds were able to withstand the challenge for the 13-9 victory.

To The Game:

Cody Jamieson opened the scoring on the power-play firing a shot from the outside off a Ryan Benesch pass at 1:59, but was answered by Jonathan Donville with an outside high to low blast off a Mathieu Gautier feed at 2:45.

Austin Shanks regained the Thunderbirds lead with a quick stick off a Cody Jamieson pass at 3:18.  Then, with the teams playing 4 on 4, Dawson Theede increased the lead with a beautiful behind the back shot after grabbing a loose ball at 8:21.  Ryan Terefenko showed off his speed going coast to coast off a rebound off the back boards at 9:25.

Aaron Woods continued the Halifax barrage converting a Clarke Petterson pass at 12:10, followed by Dawson Theede’s second of the night with a bouncer to the far corner just 0:25 seconds later.

After one quarter, Halifax 6 Panther City 1.

Second Quarter:

Austin Shanks continued the onslaught for the Thunderbirds scoring twice consecutively.  First he converted an Aaron Woods pass at 1:32, then completed his hat-trick finishing off a Graeme Hossack pass at 6:49.  Ryan Benesch added to the Halifax total finishing off an Aaron Woods pass at 13:26.

Panther City finally got on the board again after being shut out for 26:22.  Jason Knox beat Warren Hill to the far corner off a Will Malcom feed at 14:07, but Clarke Petterson answered immediately in transition off a Ryan Terefenko pass at just 0:08 seconds later.

At the half, Halifax 10 Panther City 2.

Third Quarter:

Cam MacLeod started the second half in net for Panther City.

Whatever was said by Tracey Kelusky at halftime definitely fired up the Panther City squad.  A spirited tussle to start the third quarter between Nonkon Thompson of Halifax and Brent Mitchell of Panther City started the quarter.  While Thompson got five for fighting, Mitchell got two for instigating, five for fighting, and a game misconduct.

Tony Malcom opened the second half scoring for Panther City with a great individual effort, using his brother Will as a decoy at 3:13, followed by Jonathan Donville firing a shot to the top corner off a Tony Malcom pass at 5:21.  Jason Knox continued the Panther City comeback with a screen shot that bounced over the shoulder of Warren Hill  off a Tony Malcom pass at 7:34. 

Ryan Sheridan narrowed the deficit to four, with a shot from the side of the net off a Jason Knox pass at 13:02, followed by Jonathan Donville who was sent in all alone by a Matt Hossack feed just 0:34 seconds later.

After three quarters, Halifax 10 Panther City 7.

Fourth Quarter:

The Thunderbirds stormed back in the fourth with three goals in a minute.  Clarke Petterson started the Thunderbirds run getting them back on the board after being shut out for 18:21.  An in close blast off a Jake Withers feed at 2:36, followed by Withers himself scoring off the faceoff just 0:07 seconds later.  Petterson then added his third of the night with a twister from in front of the net off an Austin Shanks pass at 3:36.

Phil Caputo stopped the Halifax run scoring from in close off a Jonathan Donville pass at 4:37, then again diving across the crease off a Donville feed at 12:51. 

Final score, Halifax 13 Panther City 9.

Of note, Ryan Benesch passed Josh Sanderson for 7th all time on the all time games played list with 269 games.

The Three Stars:

1. Clarke Petterson
2. Austin Shanks
3. Jonathan Donville

Game Stats:

  • Shots on goal favored the Thunderbirds 61-43.
  • Jake Withers dominated the facoeoffs, winning 20 of 26.
  • The loose ball battle went to Halifax 78-51.
  • Panther City went 0 for 5 on the power-play, while the Thunderbirds went 1 for 5.

Top Scorers:

Panther City Lacrosse Club:

  • Jonathan Donville 3g, 1a
  • Will Malcom 0g, 4a
  • Jason Knox 2g, 1a

Halifax Thunderbirds:

  • Clarke Petterson 3g, 3a
  • Austin Shanks 3g, 2a
  • Aaron Woods 1g, 3a
  • Ryan Benesch 1g, 3a

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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.