Warriors Stay Hot With Win Over Halifax

Eduardo Curros – Pacific Correspondent, All Lacrosse All The Time

The surging Vancouver Warriors hosted the Halifax Thunderbirds Friday night in Week 19 action. The Thunderbirds are currently in fifth place, and could punch their ticket to the postseason with a win. Meanwhile, the Warriors have won three straight games and four of their last five to stave off elimination from playoff contention. Halifax led 8-5 at halftime, but the Warriors rallied with 10 goals in the second half to win 15-13. Vancouver improves to 7-9 with their fourth straight win. They move up to 10th place in the Unified Standings, and their chances of clinching a playoff berth are still very much alive. Halifax falls to 9-8 and drops to the #6 seed, failing to clinch a playoff berth. The Thunderbirds have a bye in Week 20 and finish their season at home against Colorado in Week 21.  

Hat trick from Shanks puts Warriors in an early hole

Halifax would take a commanding 4-0 lead on goals from Ryan Benesch at 6:47 on a power play, Austin Shanks at 8:54, Johnny Pearson at 10:10, and Trevor Smyth at 13:05. Vancouver’s Ryan Martel would score at 14:59 with help from Kyle Killen and Adam Charalambides to make it 4-1 after one quarter. Shanks scored again just six seconds into the second quarter off a pass from Clarke Petterson. Martel kept the Warriors in the game with a pass from Kyle Killen at 2:20. Cody Jamieson scored for Thunderbirds with assists from Petterson and Shanks at 6:03. Randy Staats made it 7-2 Halifax, with help from Benesch and Cody Jamieson at 7:21. Killen scored with help from Martel and Brad McCulley at 7:41, then Kevin Crowley added a goal 8:09 to make it 7-4. Shanks added a power play goal at 8:36 for the Thunderbirds. However, Martel scored at 9:06 to cut the Halifax lead to 8-5 at the half. 

Warriors rally in second half to win fourth straight

Warriors head coach Curt Malawsky has said his team is “a second half team”. It showed in the second half of this game. Keegan Bal, who has been on a tear lately, got the scoring kicked off with a pass from Owen Grant at 1:22. Bal then scored again at 1:55 on passes from Aden Walsh and Brayden Laity to pull within one. Staats would score with passes from Benesch and Shanks at 6:06. However, Riley Loewen would score right back with passes from Bal and McCulley at 6:36. Petterson scored at 6:45 to close the third quarter scoring for the Thunderbirds. However, Vancouver was not finished scoring. Bal would team up again with Grant to score at 10:54, and Steph Charbonneau tied the game at 12:22.  

Adam Charalambides began the fourth quarter scoring with help from Tyson Kirkness and Reid Bowering at 1:43. Staats registered a hat trick with help from Dawson Theede and Petterson at 5:43. But Bal was not done scoring as he netted two more goals: at 7:07 with help from Bowering and Chris Willman, and at 10:04 from Charalambides to make it 13-11 in favor of the Warriors. Petterson at 12:52 and Martel at 13:32 then traded goals. Grant picked up an empty net goal with 28 seconds left to extend the Vancouver lead to 15-12. Staats scored his fourth goal of the night with help from Graeme Hossack at 14:58, yielding the final score of 15-13 in favor of Vancouver.

Curros’s Corner

Halifax dominated on faceoffs 26 to 5, had 56 shots to Vancouver’s 48, and were 2 of 6 on the power play, while Vancouver did not score in four opportunities.

Aden Walsh had 43 saves in net for the Warriors, while Warren Hill stopped 33 shots for Halifax in the losing effort.

The Warriors host the New York Riptide in Week 20, then travel to San Diego to play the Seals in Week 21.

“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk

“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk was formally introduced to box lacrosse when he attended a New England Black Wolves game on a whim in 2016. Instantly hooked, he has since become an avid follower of the National Lacrosse League. Following the postponement of the 2019-2020 NLL season, he was offered the chance to share his wealth of statistical knowledge and unique insights with the lacrosse community at large. He cheerfully accepted, and covers NLL, PLL, WLA, and Major Series Lacrosse for the network.