The objective Saturday night for the Halifax Thunderbirds was simple. A win against the Rochester Knighthawks and you lock up third place in the East Division.
Mission accomplished, but it took a fourth-quarter comeback by the Thunderbirds to pick up the 13-10 win.
It wasn’t a good start for goaltender Warren Hill as the first two shots he faced went in. First, it was Jared Conners scoring 35 seconds into the game, followed by Ryland Rees seven seconds later.
Brandon Robinson would finally get Halifax on the board at the 2:01 mark of the first. The Knighthawks would reply 1:49 later off a shot from Curtis Knight. Robinson would pot this second of the quarter at 6:40 to make it 3-2.
Rochester would start to pull away with a two-goal run late in the quarter off of goals from Thomas Hoggarth and star rookie Ryan Smith.
Halifax replied with a pair of goals of their own. Stephen Keogh found the back of the net at 13:19 and Austin Shanks beat the buzzer with a goal with 33 seconds left in the quarter.
Halifax ties up the game
Goals from Knight and Charlie Bertrand extended Rochester’s lead to 7-4, but it was all the Thunderbirds after that.
A three-goal run by the Thunderbirds to end the quarter would tie up the game.
Robinson would lead off the scoring and Chris Boushy would get on the board with a pair to make it 7-7 at the half.
Rochester takes late lead
In the third, the Knighthawks would go on a 3-0 run to make the score 10-7. Halifax would have some work to do if they wanted to hold on to third place.
Smith opened the scoring at the 2:34 mark. That was followed by Jeff Wittig’s marker at 9:31.
Hoggarth would round out the scoring late in the third frame as Halifax’s hopes of locking up third place began to fade.
6-0 fourth quarter would lock up third place
Knowing the task at hand, Halifax came out guns-a-blazin’ in the fourth quarter.
Clarke Peterson scored 1:09 into the frame. Cody Jamieson would add to the tally 15 seconds later and suddenly Rochester’s lead had shrunk to 10-9.
Jamieson would add another 31 seconds after that. In a span of 1:47, Halifax had scored three straight goals to tie the game up 10-10. But they weren’t finished.
Boushy scored his hat trick goal at 6:44 to give the Thunderbirds the lead. Goals from Eric Fannell and Colton Armstrong would round out the scoring. Make the final 13-10 meaning Halifax will lock up third place in the East Division. They will travel to take on the Toronto Rock in the first round of the NLL playoffs.
Charlie Bertrand, 1g 4a
Thomas Hoggarth, 2g 2a
Curtis Knight, 2g 2a
Eric Fannell, 1g 5a
Austin Shanks, 1g 4a
Cody Jamieson, 2g 2a
Clarke Peterson, 1g 3a
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.