NLL: Halifax hangs on to beat Philadelphia in OT

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The Halifax Thunderbirds flew into Philadelphia and, once again, clipped the Wings with a thrilling 15-14 win in overtime last weekend.

Thunderbirds captain Cody Jamieson  found the back of the net 21 seconds into overtime to end Philadelphia’s hope for a home victory. The Wings fall to 2-5 while Halifax improves to 4-3.

The Wings continued their pattern of starting slowly. Despite going up 2-1 in the first quarter with goals from Blaze Riorden and Joe Resetarits, it seemed like the Thunderbirds had the edge. Strong defensive play along with Ryan Benesch’s goal created some unhappy Philadelphia fans.

Quarter two began with a stormy start led by the Thunderbirds. Rookie Aaron Woods, making his NLL debut after being recalled from the ALL’s Peterborough Timbermen, scored his first goal followed by Jake Withers before Ben McIntosh got in on the scoring action. Halifax was fired up—scoring three in a row before Philadelphia could get one. Clarke Petterson, Dawson Theede and Colton Armstrong became goal scorers 4, 5, and 6 for Halifax. Resetarits scored his second goal on an assist from Scott Dominey. Shortly thereafter, Dominey scored his first goal for Philadelphia since being traded from New York.

Down at the half, the Philadelphia crowd was growing restless. They say lacrosse is a game of runs. The best example of this came in this game during the third quarter when Halifax scored five straight, followed by Philadelphia scoring four straight before the quarter ended. The Wings made some adjustments on offense and defense to spur on their run, with goals from Taggart Clark, Mitch Jones, Marcus Minichiello and Sam LeClair. The end of quarter 3 seemed much needed by both teams.

The fourth quarter saw many players score again as Philadelphia outscored Halifax 5-3. Benesch scored late in the fourth quarter and the game went to overtime. McIntosh, Riorden and Clark all continued their scoring ways for Philadelphia. Taite Cattoni also scored his first of the night. Petterson and Woods also scored again for Halifax.

It did not take Jamieson long in overtime to find the back of the net and dash the hopes of Philadelphia for that crucial first home win.

Higgins ended the night with another spectacular amount of saves. He had 50 on the night while Warren Hill had 32.

Riorden, an outdoor goalie, talked about how great Higgins has been: “He truly cares about this organization and his teammates. The way he prepares each week. We put him in spots and he bails us out. It is pretty obvious to the naked eye, what he means to this team. And it is our job not to say it; but to show him that we care. That’s going to have to start these next 2 weeks.”

Paul Day also mentioned the heart and caring of the team. He tried to shake up the momentum by switching the goalies, letting Deacan Knott see 1:13 of action before putting Higgins back in.

He also focused on the play: “I don’t think it is a lack of effort. I think everyone in the building can probably see that… We’ll continue to get better. Tonight we had 3.5 really good quarters.”

The Wings will need to have four really great quarters as they next face Las Vegas on Friday, February 16, and luckily they have they bye week to prepare.