NLL Saturday Recap: Halifax Defeats Colorado, Buffalo Blast Georgia

On Saturday night, the Halifax Thunderbirds secured a huge comeback win over the Colorado Mammoth, the Buffalo Bandits blasted the Georgia Swarm in a bounce-back win, and the Toronto Rock edged the Rochester Knighthawks in the two teams second consecutive meeting. 

Halifax 12, Colorado 9 – Box Score

In what has been labeled as possibly the game of the year, the Halifax Thunderbirds were able to come back after getting down early and took down the Colorado Mammoth in a 12-9 home victory. 

Colorado got their offense going just 14 seconds into the game with Joey Cupido scoring off a feed from Warren Jeffrey following the opening faceoff. The Mammoth then put in three more goals, including two from Chris Wardle, to get ahead 4-0 early on. Graeme Hossack put Halifax on the board midway through the first, forcing a turnover and taking it coast-to-coast for the score. 

Halifax saw Cody Jamieson and Stephen Keogh score two straight to end the first and cut the Colorado lead to 5-3 heading into the second. While Ryan Lee scored two consecutive goals to diminish Halifax’s energy early in the second, the Thunderbirds later exploded for four consecutive goals. That run lasted from the second through early in the third, tying things up at 7 just 49 seconds into the second half. 

After some heavy defensive play on both ends, Jeff Witting ended the Mammoth’s nearly 10-minute scoring drought. Halifax answered with authority, going on a four-goal run that included back-to-back goals from Ryan Benesch to get ahead 11-8 and essentially put this one away. Jeff Witting scored again late for Colorado and Graeme Hossack put in an empty-netter to seal the win for Halifax. 

Mike Burke had five assists for Halifax while Cody Jamieson tallied four points (2G/2A). Ryan Lee led Colorado with five points (3G/2A) and Eli McLaughlin dished out four assists. 

Warren Hill made 48 saves off of 57 shots on goal for Halifax and Dillon Ward made 47 saves off of 58 shots on goal for Colorado. 

Buffalo 16, Georgia 10 – Box Score

The Buffalo Bandits traveled down south and absolutely took it to the Georgia Swarm, securing a convincing 16-10 win. Both teams had lost tough games prior to Saturday night’s meeting. 

While Miles Thompson was able to get Georgia on the board after two consecutive goals from JP Kealey and Chase Fraser, Buffalo scored four straight before Miles Thompson got another one to make it a 6-2 Buffalo lead heading into the second. Buffalo continued their dominant play on both ends through the second quarter, going on two multi-goal runs to take an 11-3 lead heading into the half. 

Ian MacKay pushed the Bandits’ run to three goals early in the third, but Georgia finally found an answer as Randy Staats scored two straight and Jordan MacIntosh added a third goal for the Swarm, cutting Buffalo’s lead to 12-6. Buffalo was able to get some momentum back and took a 14-7 lead heading into the fourth. 

Georgia started the fourth on a three-goal run that included two straight from Shayne Jackson, and the Swarm’s defense started to wake up a bit. While they were able to cut the Buffalo lead to 14-10 late in the fourth, the Swarm couldn’t force a comeback as Buffalo eventually answered and put this one out of reach. Corey Small and Josh Byrne scored goals late to secure the Buffalo victory.

The Bandits were led by Chris Cloutier and Chase Fraser who each had six points (3G/3A), and Dhane Smith also had six points (1G/5A) for Buffalo, as well. Shayne Jackson and Randy Staats led Georgia with six points (3G/3) each. 

Matt Vinc made 45 saves off of 54 shots on goal for Buffalo and Mike Poulin made 34 saves off of 49 shots on goal for Georgia.

Toronto 13, Rochester 12 – Box Score

In their second consecutive meeting, the Toronto Rock defeated the Rochester Knighthawks in a 13-12 home victory. 

Holden Cattoni got Rochester on the board first and Dan Craig followed just over a minute later to put Toronto on the board. The remainder of the first saw some heavy defensive play following two consecutive goals from Rochester midway through the quarter.

The majority of the game was very back-and-forth with each team continuing to answer each other. Rochester took a 7-6 halftime lead, but a two-goal run early in the third helped them get ahead 10-9 heading into the fourth. Two consecutive goals from Zach Manns and Dan Craig and some stellar play from Nick Rose in goal helped Toronto push ahead even more in the fourth. Rochester was able to pull within one late in the game, but they could not force overtime as Toronto walked away with the victory. 

Rob Hellyer led Toronto with six points (3G/3A) and Zach Manns also had five points (3G/2A). Shawn Evans (2G/7A) and Holden Cattoni (5G/4A) each tallied nine points for Rochester. 

Nick Rose made 30 saves off of 42 shots on goal for Toronto and Craig Wende made 49 saves off of 69 shots on goal for Rochester. 

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