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Preview: Albany FireWolves vs Halifax Thunderbirds

Following a heartbreaking overtime loss at home to the Buffalo Bandits, the FireWolves now take to the road on a short week to visit the 8-1 Halifax Thunderbirds.  The FireWolves handed Halifax their lone loss on the season, 8-6, when the two teams met at the end of January.  Albany currently sits in sixth place in the Eastern Division but are just a half a game behind the Philadelphia Wings and Georgia Swarm.  For full coverage of this Friday’s matchup against the Thunderbirds, fans can tune into on My4 WNYT and ESPN Plus to watch, or 104.5 The Team ESPN Radio to listen.

The Thunderbirds sit in second place in the Eastern Division, just one win behind the Bandits.  Since losing to Albany, Halifax has ripped off five straight victories, the longest active streak in the league.  The Thunderbirds have been dominant at home this season, defeating all six teams who have traveled to Halifax.  They are also balanced on both sides of the floor and have scored double-digit goals in every game this season, except for their loss to Albany when they scored just six in the contest.

FireWolves Players to Watch:

Joe Resetarits is a guy who cannot go unmentioned when talking about the Albany offense.  The righty was simply unstoppable throughout the month of February and continued his high-level play in the FireWolves’ first game in March.  Despite falling short in overtime to the Bandits, it was another day at the office for Resetarits, scoring six total points on four goals and two assists.  Not only does Resetarits lead Albany in points, goals, and assists, but his 72 points and 31 goals top the league as well.  In the prior meeting this season against the Thunderbirds, Resetarits accounted for four points on one goal and three assists.  Albany needs Resetarits to stay hot as they look to make a strong push for the playoffs.

Joe Nardella is a shining example of someone who has perfected their craft.  The specialist has been simply dominant from the faceoff circle all season and continues to get extra possessions for Albany.  So far, Nardella has won an absurd 210 of his 293 faceoff attempts, leading the league.  Nardella also tops the league with his 71.7 percent win rate.  What’s more impressive is that he has lost just 13 of his 53 attempts over the course of the previous two games.  It is worth noting that last time out against Halifax, Nardella turned in his lowest win percentage of the season, winning eight of his 18 attempts. 

Goaltender Doug Jamieson might actually be flying under the radar this season which is crazy to think about considering he is the reigning Goalie of the Year.  Despite the 5-6 record to his name, Jamieson has kept Albany in every game this season and that is evident by his league-leading 463 saves and just 10.91 GAA.  The goalie has logged at least 40 saves in four straight games and has held his ground with some of the best offenses in the league over that span.  When Halifax and Albany met earlier this season, Jamison not only had a season high of 46 saves, but he held the Thunderbirds to just six goals in the victory.  The FireWolves will need Jamieson to be on his A-game this weekend as they look to shake things up in the standings atop the division while vying for a playoff spot.

Opposing Players to Watch:

Clarke Petterson may only be midway through his second year in the NLL, but he has already made a name for himself as a leader on the Thunderbirds.  Petterson tops Halifax with 38 total points and 26 assists despite appearing in only eight games this season.  The one game he missed happened to be against the FireWolves and was the team’s only loss to date as he was out in the league’s Covid Protocol.  He is currently on a hot streak, scoring 16 points over his last three games, including a six-assist game just a few weeks ago.  Petterson has been an assist machine so far this season, but do not be surprised to see him light up the scoreboard with goals of his own on any given night.  The sophomore player already has a six-goal game to his name earlier this season and will certainly be a handful for the Albany defense who did not have to worry about him last time around.

Austin Shanks was relatively quiet when the two teams met previously this season, but he still led the Thunderbirds with two goals and an assist in the team’s only loss this year.  On the season, Shanks sits third overall on the team with 31 total points with a team-leading 18 goals.  He has been up and down all season, alternating seven-point and one-point games during a four-game stretch prior to Halifax’s game last weekend.  In their most recent victory over the Vancouver Warriors, Shanks turned in a four-point night with a hat trick and an assist.  Shanks has proven that he can light it up on any given night, but he has also disappeared in some games.  The FireWolves will certainly hope for the latter while seeking to finish out the season sweep.  

Goaltender Warren Hill missed last weekend’s victory over the Warriors due to being placed on the league’s Covid Protocol List, but one of the best in the business will likely return to the floor for the rematch against Albany on Friday.  In the previous matchup between the two teams, Hill actually had a solid performance despite the team falling short on the scoreboard.  Hill allowed just eight goals while making 33 saves in the contest.  So far on the season, the goaltender has allowed just 75 goals in his eight games played while saving 81 percent of the shots on him.  Albany’s offense has been cooking as of late and will need to continue to stay hot in order to best Hill and come out of Halifax with a win. 

This will be the second and final time that the Thunderbirds and FireWolves meet during the regular season.

Fans can secure their tickets for any of the 2021-22 FireWolves games today!  For more information regarding tickets, visit www.AlbanyFireWolves.com or call/text the FireWolves front office at 518-362-4900.

The Albany FireWolves 2021-22 Inaugural Season is presented by CDPHP.

About Albany FireWolves

The Albany FireWolves is the Capital Region’s very own Professional Box Lacrosse team, playing in the National Lacrosse League out of the MVP Arena in downtown Albany, NY. For more information, contact the Albany FireWolves Front Office at (518) 362-4900 or visit AlbanyFireWolves.com

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