NLL Saturday Recap: Halifax Dominates in Opener, Crawford and Smith Shine in Wins

(Photo Courtesy of NLL)

The second weekend of the NLL season has come and gone with Halifax, Buffalo, and New England all securing their first wins of the season. 

Halifax 12, New York 4 (Game Sheet

Just like last Rochester last week, the expansion New York Riptide had a rough start, getting dominated on the road against the Halifax Thunderbirds. It was, however, a historic game with New York playing their first game ever and Halifax playing their first game as the Halifax Thunderbirds following their move from Rochester over the offseason. 

It took just ten seconds for Halifax to get on the board as Jake Withers won the opening faceoff and ran right to the goal, putting in one right on the crease. Halifax scored seven consecutive goals before number one overall draft pick Tyson Gibson scored the first goal in franchise history for New York. Each team scored once more before the half. 

With a 9-2 halftime lead, Halifax was in firm control of the game. However, New York held them scoreless in the third and cut their lead to 9-3 with a goal from Dan Lomas. However, Halifax scored three goals in the fourth to seal the dominating 12-4 victory. 

Halifax was led by Austin Shanks and Eric Fannell who each tallied three points (2G/1A). Additionally, Warren Hill made 40 saves off of 44 shots in net for the Thunderbirds. Dan Lomas led New York with two points and Alex Buque made 46 saves off of 58 shots on goal. 

New England 12, Toronto 8 (Game Sheet)

The New England Black Wolves went into Toronto and pulled out a 12-8 victory over the Rock. New England scored four consecutive goals in the second half, including two from Callum Crawford, to break an 8-8 tie and secure the win. 

Toronto started the game on a two-goal run before New England came storming back with a four-goal run of their own. The back-and forth nature of the game remained from the opening whistle to the final buzzer. Down 7-3 in the second quarter, Toronto was able to heat back up and go on two smaller runs to help tie things at 8 early in the third.

As previously mentioned, New England stormed back in the third to eventually take the lead. Nick Chaykowski scored the final goal for New England late in the fourth, catching an outlet pass from Doug Jamieson to the house for an empty net goal to seal the deal. 

Callum Crawford led the way for New England with seven points (3G/4A). Joe Resetarits also put up five points (2G/3A). Doug Jamieson made 46 saves off of 54 shots on goal. For Toronto, Johnny Powless had three points (2G/1A) and Dan Dawson scored two goals, as well. Also, Tom Schreiber was held to no goals but did dish out three assists. Nick Rose made 39 saves off of 51 shots on goal for the Rock. 

Buffalo 13, San Diego 10 (Game Sheet)

In what might have been the best game of the night, the Buffalo Bandits were able to use a three-goal run in the fourth quarter to break away and secure a very hard fought 13-10 victory over the San Diego Seals. 

Corey Small got Buffalo on the board early in the first, but Connor Fields followed him very shortly to tie things up. After some heavy defensive play, Chris Cloutier for Buffalo back on the board late in the first to take a 2-1 lead heading into the second. The back-and-forth nature of the game ensued in the second, Wes Berg scored two consecutive goals late in the second to tie things up at 4 heading into the half. 

Buffalo started the third with two straight from Corey Small and Dhane Smith to take back the 6-4 lead, but San Diego was able to answer quickly with another two-goal run. Both teams continued to trade multi-goal runs for the rest of the third. Buffalo held a 9-8 lead heading into the fourth and after some more back-and-forth action, Josh Byrne took flight to scored the go-ahead goal for Buffalo.

Dhane Smith scored the final two goals to seal the 13-10 Buffalo victory. San Diego had multiple opportunities in the final minutes, but Buffalo goalie Matt Vinc came up huge, turning away every shot. 

Buffalo was led by Dhane Smith with six points (3G/3A) while Chris Cloutier and Corey Small each tallied five points (3G/2A). In net, Matt Vinc made 49 saves off of 59 shots on goal. Wes Berg led San Diego with six points (2G/4A) while Zack Greer had five points (2G/3A). Frank Scigliano made 41 saves off of 54 shots on goal for the Seals. 

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