Records fell on Saturday night, but so too did the New York Riptide. Their bid for a postseason berth came to an end at the hands of the Halifax Thunderbirds in a 16-13 loss at Nassau Coliseum. The Riptide’s record sits at 6-11, although they have one more game to play against Albany next Saturday.
During the game, Jeff Teat broke the all-time rookie records for assists and points, and Steven Orleman broke the record for all-time rookie saves.
“I challenged them, although I know this stings and it sucks, but to take a second to realize the positives that come out of this season and the growth,” said head coach Dan Ladouceur. “Guys like Teat, guys like Orleman or Ron John, guys we’re building around, they’re are seeing the potential, the growth, the maturity. The future looks bright.”
Teat pulled the Riptide close in the fourth quarter with a pair of goals that goal them within one at 14-13, but Chris Boushy put the game out of reach with 2:37 left to play.
“Orley had a fantastic second half; he gave us a chance,” Ladouceur praised his goaltender. “We kept asking for stops and we weren’t getting the production as quickly as we wanted on the offensive end. We fake pulled Orley and Teater got a good look. That one that Boushy scored late was really deflating. The guys marked him well but I don’t think Orley saw it. They shot around the screen. He comes up with that, we get another possession, maybe things are different.”
A wild first quarter saw the teams tied at six after the opening frame. Down 9-7 at half, Ladouceur was confident that his team could come back.
“We made great adjustments in the second half,” he said. “I’ve said all year, I’ve never seen this group quit no matter what the deficit. We’ve had way worse deficits coming out of the half. This was really attainable for us. With a couple of adjustments we put ourselves in striking distance.”
Austin Shanks led Halifax’s attack with five goals and three assists. Clarke Petterson scored three times and helped on four others, and Chris Boushy scored three times.
Halifax outshot New York 55-38.
“They were taking every opportunity to shoot whereas offensively we were looking some off; we were looking for one more pass,” Ladouceur said. “We wanted to test Aaron Bold tonight and we can only do that when we get shots on net. They took every opportunity to shoot and they were falling for them tonight.”
Orleman was happy that he kept perennial scoring threat Shawn Evans pointless, at least, and said that went according to plan.
“Shawn’s a talented player, and you don’t want to give him too many good looks,” Orleman said. “I thought we did a really good job of limiting his angles on his shots. The boys were pushing him out to the side and that was making it easy on me. To step up to the plate on him was good.”
For as much as Halifax scored, it was their defense that won the game.
“They have a terminator on their team. There’s no chance Graeme Hossack is a human being. I’m set that he is a cyborg from some other planet,” joked Callum Crawford, who returned to the Riptide lineup after missing three games due to illness. “He is the strongest human I have ever touched. They’re physical. They’re a good veteran group back there with some youth. They’re not chippy, but they’ll give it to you, and that’s what lacrosse is. A big, tough, physical team.”
Bold made 25 saves in the Thunderbirds’ net.
Crawford let the Riptide with five goals and three assists. Dan Lomas scored a first quarter hat trick; Teat broke his records on Lomas’ third goal. Teat ended up with a pair of goals and eight assists and now sits third in overall league scoring. Jake Fox scored once, another highlight-reel behind-the-net dunk goal. Orleman made 39 saves.
Without a postseason to prepare for, Ladouceur said the team will relish the opportunity to play spoiler for the Albany FireWolves next Saturday. New York has defeated Albany twice this season already.
“Everybody loves paying spoiler. This group isn’t done. We talk all the time about having a statement to make and leaving our mark. Going into a game like that with an opportunity to disrupt the playoff picture, that’s how we want to be known, as a team that’s going to fight for every minute.”
At 37, Crawford is disappointed not to be playing for the NLL Cup in one of his last years in the league, especially because he believes the Riptide have the group to beat anyone in the league.
“If we got this team to the playoffs, there’s not a single team in this league that wants to see this young group. We can be this really dynamic team that you don’t want to face at any given time. That’s what I was focused on. Right now it stings. “
Game time in Albany is 7 p.m. on Saturday.