The New York Riptide return to action on Sunday, February 19 when they travel to face the Halifax Thunderbirds at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, NS, with opening faceoff scheduled for 1:00 PM EST. This is the second of three meetings this season, with Halifax having defeated New York 20-11 at Nassau Coliseum in December.
Halifax’s strength comes from their scoring depth: they have six players with at least 30 points this year, as well as a seventh who has 20 goals. Riptide goaltender Steve Orleman commented on this, saying “Randy Staats is gonna be shooting, Cody Jamieson’s gonna be shooting, Austin Shanks, all those guys, Clarke Petterson. There’s not a guy on that offense that can’t score.” Staats leads the team in assists and points, with 33 and 47 respectively, while Chris Boushy leads the way with 20 goals. The offense benefits from having extra possessions due to Jake Withers’ prowess at the faceoff X, with Withers leading the league in faceoff wins (204), and faceoff percentage among all players who have taken more than two faceoffs this season (84%). Defensively, Halifax is lead by Withers, who leads the league with 134 loose balls, Graeme Hossack, who is tied for the league lead with 20 caused turnovers, and Ryan Terefenko, who is fourth with 109 loose balls, and has contributed offensively with 11 points.
For New York, they will look to build off of their previous game, a 14-12 win over Albany. Orleman had his best performance of the season, making 55 saves, while Jeff Teat and Connor Kearnan combined for 16 points. One area in which New York should look to in this game is the power play. Halifax is the most penalized team in the league with 184 penalty minutes this season, and New York scored 4 power play goals on 6 opportunities in their previous meeting with the Thunderbirds. Kearnan, who scored 2 of those 4, leads the Riptide in power play goals with 5. Defensively, Jay Thorimbert is coming off of a strong performance against Albany, where he caused 4 turnovers, went 18-31 on faceoffs, scooped 14 loose balls, and blocked one shot, while also adding an assist. Ron John also played well, with 6 loose balls and 2 caused turnovers. He is third on the team in loose balls behind Thorimbert and Teat.
The game will be available to watch on ESPN+, and listen to on WRHU 88.7 FM, WRHU.org and the WRHU iPhone App. Live stats and periodic in-game updates will be available via Twitter @ NewYorkRiptide.