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Game Recaps

The Best of the Best Came to Play in Week 18

Ryan Benesch Makes History in Thunderbirds Victory

The Halifax Thunderbirds moved to 9-7 in the wake of an impressive 12-9 triumph over the Rochester Knighthawks at Blue Cross Arena on ROC the Rink night, in which the home donned special jerseys to celebrate the Flower City. The contest was a see-saw spectacle in the first two quarters with the teams hitting the locker room all knotted up at 6-6. Unfortunately for the Western New Yorkers, the second half was considerably less competitive with the fellas from Nova Scotia outscoring Rochester 6-3 en route to an easy Saturday night victory.

Ryan Benesch, the living legend, made the highlight reel for multiple reasons in this game:

  • He tallied two goals and five assists
  • He also surpassed “Dangerous” Dan Dawson for fourth place on the NLL’s all-time goal scoring list with 552 career goals
  • He played in his 271st career game, passing Josh Sanderson for sixth all-time

Halifax captain Cody Jamieson, playing in his 200th career game, calculated three scores and three helpers, while teammate Dawson Theede also found himself in the three and three category for the night.

Connor Fields, Ryan Smith and Thomas McConvey recorded two goals apiece for the Knighthawks, who no doubt leave the game with a feeling of despondency after falling to 6-8 on what has been a roller-coaster of a regular season for Mike Hasen’s squad. Rochester’s loss also meant that Albany clinched a playoff spot.

Ryan Smith of the Rochester Knighthawks in his ROC the Rink jersey (Photo: Jonathan Tenca)


Josh Byrne and Dhane Smith Dominate in Philly

The Philadelphia Wings experienced an extremely disappointing end to their lacrosse week, falling to the Buffalo Bandits on Saturday afternoon after their Thursday night loss to Saskatchewan. The defending champion Bandits showed no mercy in an 18-12 trouncing of the home team.

Both Philadelphia setbacks occurred on the shores of the Delaware River, with nearly 18,000 spectators taking in the action over the two-game parade. No matter what happens on the Wells Fargo Center field, there is no doubt how much they love lacrosse in Philly.

Bandits’ icons Josh Byrne and Dhane Smith stole the show for the winners, with Byrne attaining three goals and seven assists, and Smith securing five scores and seven helpers. The NLL’s most dynamic duo now sit one and two for most points during the current season. Upon the Wings leveling the game 9-9 in the third, the Bandits hit the switch and scored nine of the final 12 goals, including six straight in the final quarter.

Holden Cattoni kept his torrid pace afloat typing eight total points onto his resume, which now includes seven goals and eight assists in the last two games. Joe Resetarits posted a hat trick and five assists for the reeling Wings.


The Warriors Need To Be Taken Seriously

Week 18 of NLL excitement was capped off in one of the most exhilarating places on the planet as the Las Vegas Desert Dogs welcomed the Vancouver Warriors to Michelob Ultra Arena. The Warriors proved too strong for the ‘Dogs, who fell 12-9 in front of 6233 fans and were eliminated from playoff contention.

These two entities have a history of contentiousness with the hostilities continuing on Saturday when a late first quarter altercation resulted in a game misconduct penalty for Vancouver’s Brad McCulley. Perhaps energized by the tension, the Warriors exploded in the second quarter connecting on six consecutive scores and taking a 9-4 lead into the half. The second half did not do anything to change the outcome with the visitors from British Columbia hitting the Strip the happy victors. Coming off his eight-goal, five-assist performance versus the Wings, the Warriors’ Keegan Bal blasted another four goals and five assists, with Adam Charalambides achieving three scores and three helpers.

Connor Kirst and Zack Greer completed hat tricks for Las Vegas, while Marshal King scored his first goal at home since returning from the tragic passing of his wife Emily.

The Warriors are the now the proud purveyors of a three-game winning streak, while the Desert Dogs have come up empty in five consecutive efforts.


The Rush Wrap Up Brutal Road Stretch With Impressive Win

Week 18 raised the curtain with a rare Thursday night affair in South Philadelphia as the hometown Wings played host to the road-weary Saskatchewan Rush, whose last few days included a Saturday night loss on Long Island and an early Sunday evening defeat in suburban Atlanta.

March 28, 2024: Saskatchewan Rush vs Philadelphia Wings at Wells Fargo Center. (Photo: Heather Barry)

The Rush came out flying in this one, attaining leads of 3-0 and 6-1 before heading into halftime with an 8-3 cushion. Saskatchewan continued to lead comfortably throughout the second half, finishing with a 16-12 victory. Robert Church posted three goals and five assists, with Zach Manns and Clark Walter each contributing a hat trick.

Holden Cattoni played valiantly for the losing club, leaving the contest with three goals and four assists. Sam LeClair notched a hat trick, with Mitch Jones securing seven points, but the Wells Fargo Center crowd of nearly 10,000 saw their favorites come up a good bit short.