Thunderbirds Score Early And Often In The Mauling Of The Wings

Gary Groob
All Lacrosse All The Time  – A Division of Edge of Philly Sports Network

The National Lacrosse League (NLL) opened it’s 2022-2023 regular season in Halifax, with the Philadelphia Wings visiting the Thunderbirds.   Both teams have significant changes, and were hoping to get off to a fast start in this East Division battle.

Philadelphia lost Kevin Crowley, and Corey Small, but added Joe Resetarits, and Chad Tutton.  Halifax lost Stephen Keogh, Rhys Duch and Shawn Evans, but added Ryan Benesch, and Randy Staats.

Having the two premier faceoff men in the game with Trevor Baptiste and Jake Withers against each other puts a story within a story in this game.  Clarke Petterson (4g,5a) led the way for the Thunderbirds, with Ryan Benesch (3g,4a), and Chris Boushy (3g,4a) adding to the Halifax attack.  Blaze Riorden (5g,0a) was the majority of the Philadelphia offense, with Matt Rambo (2h,1a) chipping in as well.

Halifax scored early and often, getting out to as big as a 10-2 lead in the second quarter. Blaze Riorden was the only Wing player with a big night with five goals. Halifax walked away with the easy 18-8 victory in the season opener.

To The Game:

Clarke Petterson opened the scoring diving through the crease off a Chris Boushy pass at 2:33, followed by Cody Jamieson converting a Randy Staats pass on the power play at 3:26. 

The Wings came back when Matt Rambo converted a Joe Resetarits pass at 5:20, but Eric Fannell, and Cody Jamieson, with his second of the game, increased the Thunderbirds lead to 4-1.

John Ranagan scored for the Wings in transition off a Steph Charbonneau pass at 11:15, but Clarke Petterson’s second of the game on the power play, followed by Chris Boushy increased the Halifax lead after one quarter.

After one quarter Halifax 6 Philadelphia 2.

Second Quarter:

The second quarter was completely controlled by the Halifax Thunderbirds.

Chris Boushy opened the scoring with his second of the game unassisted just 0:15 seconds in, followed 0:33 seconds later with Ryan Benesch converting a Boushy feed. 

The Wings changed goalies, pulling Zach Higgins, replacing him with Angus Goodleaf.

Clarke Petterson scored his third of the night on the power play, off a Cody Jamieson pass at 10:39.  Randy Staats scored his first goal in a Thunderbirds jersey at 11:50.  Blaze Riorden got one back for the Wings at the end of the quarter, but their work was cut out for them in the second half.

At the half, Halifax 10 Wings 3.

Third Quarter:

The Wings started early with Matt Rambo getting his second of the night off a Chad Tutton pass at 3:19, but Graeme Hossack answered right back converting a Clarke Petterson pass just 0:17 seconds later.

Blaze Riorden scored his second of the night off a Kiel Matisz pass at 4:59, but again Halifax answered right back when Eric Fannell scored off a Cody Jamieson feed 0:30 seconds later.

Zach Higgins returned to the Wings net.

Ryan Benesch scored his second of the night at 6:47, but Riorden scored again for the Wings off a Cory Vitarelli pass at 12:23.  Benesch and Riorden traded goals again before the end of the third.

After three quarters, Halifax 14 Philadelphia 7

Fourth Quarter:

The Thunderbirds put an exclamation point on this game scoring four unanswered goals, before the Wings got one of their own.

Eric Fannell scored off a Randy Staats pass at 0:52 seconds, followed by Clarke Petterson scoring his fourth of the game at 3:34. Eric Fannell and Chris Boushy scored again for Halifax. Blaze Riorden scored his fifth of the night but it was too little too late.

Final score Halifax 18 Philadelphia 8.

Game Stats:

  • Shots on goal was 66-45 in favor of Halifax.
  • Faceoffs were 19-11 in favor of the Thunderbirds
  • The Wings went 0 for 4 on the power play, while Halifax went 2 for 5 with the man advantage.

Top Scorers:

Philadelphia Wings:

  • Blaze Riorden 5g, 0a
  • Kiel Matisz 0g, 4a
  • John Ranagan (1g, 2a)

Halifax Thunderbirds:

  • Chris Boushy 3g, 4g
  • Clarke Petterson 4g, 5a
  • Ryan Benesch 3g, 4a

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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.