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Keegan Bal Leads Warriors Over Halifax Thunderbirds 15-13 on Country Night 2.0

April 6, 2024 - National Lacrosse League (NLL)
Vancouver Warriors News Release

Halifax Thunderbirds' Warren Hill and Vancouver Warriors' Keegan Baland in action
Halifax Thunderbirds' Warren Hill and Vancouver Warriors' Keegan Baland in action
(Vancouver Warriors)

Vancouver, B.C. - The Warriors were making hay at Rogers Arena against the Halifax Thunderbirds on Country Night 2.0.

Vancouver battled back from a 7-2 deficit in the second quarter to take the game 15-13.

Keegan Bal led the Warriors with six points, (five goals and one assist) scored all five of his goals in the second half. The Warriors were able to pull out the win in a playoff-like atmosphere by sticking to their process. They didn't take their foot off the gas until the final whistle blew.

"We really felt coming into this game that our conditioning would be and could be a factor and so it was just like you're saying wear them down and continually grind and run and put the pressure on them and just see what we could get out of it," Bal said.

Bal has been on a heater lately, scoring 17 goals in his last three games. The Warriors pride themselves on being a team that produces offence by committee, and it was no different against Halifax, Bal sharing the importance of everyone pitching in against a tough team.

"I just got put in some good spots. I had a few breakaways, which was really nice. As a team right now we're rolling and everyone's contributing and that's the biggest thing - that's what you want to see," Bal said.

General Manager and Head Coach Curt Malawsky said taking the game in five-minute segments is what helped them climb their way into the lead and that a tough win against the Thunderbirds is good for the team to have under their belt with two hard matchups ahead to finish the season.

"I love it, that resiliency is big. You've got the bend don't break mentality with us. I actually knew in the first quarter they [the Warriors] weren't running off as hard as they needed to and we talked about staying in the fight and we knew it was going be a grind. Chop the tree down mentality and just keep chipping away," Malawsky said.

The Warriors defence has been something they can rely on all year, and the offence and transition against Halifax was able to get multiple possessions and breakaway opportunities that helped the Warriors secure the win.

"When I say believe in something, and fight for something that it's not with this [your head] it is with your heart. You have to really believe in your heart that it's important to you and I think our guys do play with a heart," he shared.

Ryan Martel had four goals and an assist and Adam Charalambides, Riley Loewen, Owen Grant, Steph Charbonneau, Kevin Crowley and Kyle Killen poured in a goal each in the win.

Aden Walsh turned aside 43 shots he faced against the Thunderbirds, collecting his fifth win of the season.

Game Recap

The Thunderbirds scored the first four goals of the game, the first coming on the power play from forward Ryan Benesch. Forward Austin Shanks scored off a two-on-one collecting a pass from Clarke Petterson. Langley's Johnny Pearson also scored on the man-advantage.

Trevor Smyth scored a shorthanded goal, but the Warriors got a goal on the power play from Ryan Martel who collected a rebound off the boards and dunked it past Thunderbirds' goaltender Warren Hill, giving Halifax a 4-1 lead at the end of the first.

Sixteen seconds into the second quarter, Shanks had a dunk of his own. Martel answered back shaking the defence and spinning to make his way net front for his second dunk of night. Forwards Cody Jamieson and Randy Staats scored a pair, Staats ripped a shot from the left side beating Vancouver goaltender Aden Walsh far side.

Vancouver had a pair from Kyle Killen and Kevin Crowley and Martel scored the final goal before the half, collecting a rebound from Keegan Bal's shot and found twine.

Halifax owned shots on goal 25-23 in the first half, taking an 8-5 lead into halftime.

In the second half the shots came fast and furious for Bal who scored two goals back-to-back to kick off the third quarter to bring the Warriors within one goal. Both teams traded goals Riley Loewen grabbing a goal and Bal scoring a gritty goal on the power play, getting the middle of the floor and scoring with three defenders on him to bring Vancouver within one goal yet again.

Defenceman Steph Charbonneau scored on a breakaway to bring the Warriors and Thunderbirds even at 10-10 to end the third. There was a roar from the home crowd after that goal sending the Warriors into the fourth with momentum.

"That was massive. A guy draped on his back and hitting him as he's falling and [Charbonneau] finds a way to put it in, was a big spark for a team," Bal exclaimed.

In the fourth Adam Charalambides found the back of the net for Vancouver to give the Warriors their first lead of the game. Bal was in his bag, scoring his fourth goal of the game shorthanded off a pass from Reid Bowering and his fifth goal assisted by Charalambides.

Staats scored a pair for Halifax and Petterson chipped in one in the final quarter while Martel scored his fourth of the night and Owen Grant scored empty netter to secure a 15-13 win in Week 19.

The Warriors will be back at Rogers Arena next Saturday, April 13th to take on the New York Riptide at 7 p.m. PT.

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Images from this story

Halifax Thunderbirds' Warren Hill and Vancouver Warriors' Keegan Baland in action
Halifax Thunderbirds' Warren Hill and Vancouver Warriors' Keegan Baland in action


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