The Albany FireWolves (1-1) return home this Saturday, January 7, at 7:00 p.m. against the Halifax Thunderbirds (2-1). The FireWolves are coming off consecutive bye weeks while the Thunderbirds enter the game after suffering their first loss last weekend. Albany had Halifax’s number a season ago, defeating the Thunderbirds in both matchups. This weekend’s game can be watched on My4 Albany or ESPN Plus.
FireWolves Players to Watch:
Hiana Thompson showed Albany fans why the team acquired him this offseason with a solid offensive performance in the team’s last game. He finished with a hat trick and now leads the FireWolves with four goals in the two games played. His five total points on the season rank him fifth amongst the Wolves and he has already proven to be a key cog in the offense. The Thunderbirds have lit up the scoreboard through their first three games, posting an impressive 51 goals on the young season. The FireWolves will need plenty of firepower to keep up with the Thunderbirds in this one, so the team will rely on Thompson to find the back of the net multiple times once again.
John LaFontaine may not be a name that lights up the stat sheet, but he is a crucial component of Albany’s transition game. In their last outing a couple weekends ago, LaFontaine contributed two points on a goal and an assist. His goal came in transition after a defense stand. The Thunderbirds have proven that they can score with the best of them, so LaFontaine and the transition game must be on point in this one to capitalize on solid defense leading to runout scoring opportunities.
Doug Jamieson was on his A-game the last time the FireWolves took the turf, despite losing by a goal to the Rochester Knighthawks. Jamieson has begun the 2022-23 season already showing why he is regarded as one of the best goalies in the game. The netminder followed up a 45-save effort to open the season with a 60-save outing two weeks ago. Jamieson has allowed just 24 goals in the FireWolves’ two games, and the team will certainly rely on him to continue to be the backbone of a stout defense as they find ways to limit the high-scoring Thunderbirds this weekend.
Opposing Players to Watch:
Ryan Benesch should be a familiar name to FireWolves fans. Albany acquired him early in the team’s debut season and he dominated for the club, finishing the season with 81 total points. This season is no different even though he is wearing a new jersey, as Benesch currently ranks fourth in the league with nine goals through three games. Benesch has been in the league since 2007 and Albany knows better than anyone how dangerous the lefty can be. The FireWolves must find a way to bottle him up this weekend to come away with a victory.
Randy Staats has had a hot start to the season for the Thunderbirds. The forward currently sits third in the league in both total points and assists with 23 and 15, respectively. Despite the team’s loss a week ago, Staats had himself a night against the Buffalo Bandits. He finished with eight total points on three goals and five assists. The FireWolves will certainly have their hands full trying to contain this hot Thunderbirds offense and must find a way to slow down Staats in this one if they want to extend their win streak against the club to three games. Staats did not play last season, so this will be the first time he will face the FireWolves.
Goaltender Warren Hill had two solid outings against the FireWolves a season ago, despite taking the loss in each game. He limited the FireWolves to just 16 goals – eight in each game. Hill played in two of the Thunderbirds’ three games so far this season and has allowed just 20 goals and recorded 54 saves. The goalie is coming off a rough performance in the team’s loss a week ago, allowing 12 of the Bandits’ 18 goals in the contest. Albany will need to maintain its well-balanced offensive attack, get ahead early, and keep their foot on the gas while looking to hand Halifax their second loss in as many games.
This will be the first of two regular season matchups between Albany and Halifax. The FireWolves will visit the Thunderbirds next weekend on Friday, January 13 at 6:30 p.m. EST.
Fans can secure their tickets now for this weekend’s game against the Thunderbirds! For more information regarding tickets, visit www.AlbanyFireWolves.com or call/text the FireWolves front office at 518-362-4900.
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. Follow the team on Facebook at facebook.com/AlbFireWolves, Twitter @AlbFireWolves, and Instagram @AlbFireWolves.
About the National Lacrosse League
The National Lacrosse League (NLL) is North America’s premier professional lacrosse league. Founded in 1986, the NLL ranks third in average attendance for pro indoor sports worldwide, behind only the NHL and NBA. The League is comprised of 15 franchises across the United States and Canada: Albany FireWolves, Buffalo Bandits, Calgary Roughnecks, Colorado Mammoth, Georgia Swarm, Halifax Thunderbirds, Las Vegas Desert Dogs, New York Riptide, Panther City Lacrosse Club (TX), Philadelphia Wings, Rochester Knighthawks, San Diego Seals, Saskatchewan Rush, Toronto Rock, and Vancouver Warriors.
For more information, visit NLL.com and find @NLL on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. For more information visit NLL.com.
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