NLL: Jamieson leads Thunderbirds over Bandits

Cody Jamieson winds up for a shot on Matt Vinc. Halifax Thunderbirds vs Buffalo Bandits – Scotiabank Center, Halifax, Nova Scotia – March 8, 2020. (Trevor MacMillan/Halifax Thunderbirds)

Cody Jamieson carried the Halifax Thunderbirds to an 11-9 victory over the Buffalo Bandits on Sunday afternoon at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax.

With two minutes left in the game, Corey Small scored to give Buffalo the 9-8 lead. But Jamieson refused to let Halifax lose. He scored a point in all of Halifax’s six goals in the first half and still had some magic left in the fourth quarter.

He scored 20 seconds after Small’s goal to tie the game. Thirty seconds later, he passed the ball to Clarke Petterson at the left side of the net and Petterson scored the game-winning goal.

“I just feel our whole team is confident at the end of the games,” said Jamieson. “No matter what in the third and fourth quarter, everybody’s is confident that we have what it takes to come back.”

In total, Jamieson scored a hat trick and added five assists for a game-high eight points.

“I’m looked upon to do that kind of stuff and it is a role that I don’t take lightly,” said Jamieson. “If I have a stinker and I have a bad game, I am my own worst critic. You know a big game like that, a divisional game, one for the tiebreaker, that is the type of stuff I expect out of myself.”

The game started with a historic moment for the Thunderbirds franchise and the province of Nova Scotia. Chet Koneczny is from Truro, N.S. and is the lone Nova Scotian on the Thunderbirds. He played his first game in Halifax and became the first local player to play in Halifax. He was placed in the starting line-up.

“I tried to just treat it like it was any old game, but obviously the cheers that I got at the beginning was pretty special for me and definitely had me extra motivated,” said Koneczny.

Truro is an hour’s drive away from Halifax. Koneczny estimated that 50 friends and family were in attendance to watch the game.

Koneczy’s family and friends didn’t have to wait long to see the first goal. Stephen Keogh opened the scoring for the Thunderbirds a minute-and-a-half into the game. Jamieson passed the ball to Keogh in front of the net. Keogh dodged a defender and shot and scored.

Chris Cloutier answered for Buffalo five minutes later on a power play. Josh Bryne had the ball at the top of the exterior and passed the ball to Cloutier, who was right in front of Halifax’s goalie, Warren Hill. Cloutier turned around, shot and scored.

Halifax scored two quick back-to-back goals from Kyle Jackson and Jamieson to give them a two-goal lead.

Josh Bryne scored at the end of the quarter on another power play to make the game 3-2 for Halifax.

Going into this game, the Thunderbirds had lost four out of their last five games. In every game they have lost, they have been losing after the first quarter. During their last game against Buffalo on Feb. 29th, they were losing 5-0 at the end of the first quarter.

“That has been a focus of ours is to start the game better,” said Jamieson. “We’re confident in the third and fourth quarter, so we have to come out better in the first and second quarter.”

Jamieson kept up his strong play in the second quarter. Three minutes into the second, he passed the ball to Keogh again for a goal. It was an identical play to Cloutier’s first goal.

Jamieson scored again for Halifax and added an assist on a goal by Graeme Hossack. Justin Martin and Ian MacKay scored for Buffalo to make the score 6-4 for Halifax at the end of the first half.

Buffalo opened the scoring three minutes into the second half. Chase Fraser shot the ball but missed the net. Cloutier picked it up and shot for his second goal of the game. It was also the Bandits’ third power play goal.

Penalties have been an issue for the Thunderbirds. Coming into the game, they have the most minor penalties with 66. In this game, they took 11 penalties and gave up six power play goals.

“Yeah, we got to start reeling it in and sticking with the cross-check,” said Koneczny, who got called for a slash in the game. “(The referees) are obviously all over the off-ball slashes this year, that is where I got caught too, so we got to clean that up.”

Clarke Petterson scored for Halifax and MacKay scored for Buffalo to make the score 7-6 going into the third quarter.

Fraser scored twice, and Jackson scored once to have the game tied at eight with six minutes left in the fourth quarter.

With two minutes left, Josh Bryne made a behind the back pass to Corey Small in the exterior and Small shot and scored to give Buffalo their first lead of the game.

Then Jamison went back to work. He found space in the exterior to shoot and score the game-tying goal. He also passed the ball across the offensive zone to Petterson for the game-winning goal.

Hossack scored on an empty-net to give Halifax an 11-9 victory and snap a two-game losing streak.

Before the game, Halifax was third in the north division behind Buffalo and Toronto. All three teams were tied with seven wins, but Halifax had one more loss.  With Halifax beating Buffalo and Calgary beating Toronto, Halifax moved from third to first in one afternoon.

“In this league, there is a lot of parity, so any time you can win a tiebreaker, especially in your own division, it goes a long way at the end of the year,” said Jamieson.

Halifax plays their next game in Rochester on Saturday. It will be the first time the old Knighthawks go back to Rochester. Buffalo travels to play Toronto on Friday night.