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Tampa Bay Lightning ECHL affiliate update: Adirondack Thunder Week 14 in Review

A 2-2 week has the Thunder within striking distance of first place at the ECHL All Star break.

The Thunder hosted their annual Pink in the Rink Night in Glens Falls on Saturday.
Tracey Lake

Another busy week has passed for the Adirondack Thunder, as they played three of four on the road against divisional foes.

With their top scorer getting hurt and their starting goaltender virtually working without insurance, the Thunder managed to split their week, and sit just one point out of first place in the ECHL’s North Division.

Wednesday, 1/10: Wheeling 6, Adirondack 3

Scoresheet

The Thunder headed south to West Virginia to begin the week, as they visited the Nailers for the second time this season.

Wheeling would get off to a fast start, as goals by Riley Bourbonnais and Garrett Meurs would put Adirondack in a 2-0 hole just 4:07 into the contest.

The Thunder would get on the board late in the first period while on their second power play of the evening. Tim Harrison’s fifth goal of the season with 1:55 remaining would cut the Wheeling lead in half.

The Nailers would carry a 3-1 lead into the final period after Ross McMullan would score the only marker of the second period. Reid Gardiner would add his 15th goal 5:52 into the final frame to make it a 4-1 game. Adirondack would answer 42 seconds later with Brian Ward’s 9th of the season to cut the lead to 4-2.

Eighteen seconds after the Thunder went on their third power play of the night, a shorthanded goal by Cam Brown would put the Wheeling lead back to three. Less than two minutes later, the Thunder would again respond, as Ty Loney’s 18th of the season would make it 5-3.

Wheeling would have the last laugh, however, as Gardiner’s second of the night on a power play with 2:26 remaining in regulation would seal the 6-3 win, handing Adirondack their first regulation loss of 2018.

After a string of strong performances last week, Drew Fielding struggled in this one, stopping 22 of 28 shots. Mathieu Brodeur added two assists, and reigning ECHL Player of the Week Shane Conacher would extend his point streak to six games with a third period assist.

3 Stars:

3. Riley Bourbonnais (WHL) 1 goal

2. Ross McMullan (WHL) 1 goal

1. Reid Gardiner (WHL) 2 goals

Video:

Friday, 1/12: Adirondack 3, Reading 0

Scoresheet

Next stop on the road trip was Reading, as the Thunder would face the Royals in their last regular season visit to Santander Arena.

Fielding got a chance at redemption on what should have been a night off—he would get the starting nod after Mackenzie Blackwood was summoned back to Binghamton due to an injury to Eddie Lack.

The start of the game was delayed fifteen minutes due to an ice issue...

Once the game finally got underway, the first 20 minutes were uneventful, with no goals scored and just one penalty called on the Thunder, which was quickly killed off.

Adirondack would be first on the board in the second. Pierre-Luc Mercier would score his 11th goal of the season with 8:55 remaining in the middle frame to put the Thunder up 1-0.

James Henry would double the Thunder lead with exactly one minute remaining, scoring his 11th goal of the season.

For good measure, Henry would score an empty netter just as time was running out.

Fielding took care of the rest, stopping all 37 Royal shots for his second shutout of the season, all in the last 13 days against Reading. Henry and Mercier would account for all the Thunder offense on the night, each adding one assist.

3 Stars:

3. Pierre-Luc Mercier (ADK) 1 goal, 1 assist

2. James Henry (ADK) 2 goals, 1 assist

1. Drew Fielding (ADK) 37 saves, SHO

Video:

Saturday, 1/13: Adirondack 4, Reading 1

Scoresheet

The Thunder returned to the friendly confines of the Cool Insuring Arena on Saturday to finish off their home and home series with Reading.

The Royals had elected to make the 4+ hour trip on game day, instead of leaving Pennsylvania the night before like the Thunder did. That decision would end up backfiring on them, as their team bus would break down en route to Glens Falls, pushing back the start time by 45 minutes.

So how did the Thunder entertain fans during the delay?

Reading finally arrived around 6:45, and the teams took the ice for a brief warmup around 7:20 PM.

It was Adirondack’s annual Pink in the Rink Night, as the team donned special pink and white jerseys. All were auctioned off postgame to fans, with proceeds going to the C.R. Wood Cancer Center at Glens Falls Hospital.

Front, as seen on Evan Neugold (l) and Pierre-Luc Mercier.
Tracey Lake
Back, as seen on Ben Murphy.
Tracey Lake

At the last minute, Loney was announced as a scratch. The public address announcer noted that he had been recalled to Syracuse. However, that was not the case: he was diagnosed with an upper body injury.

No Loney? No problem. The newest top line of Conacher, Henry, and Ward got things going in a hurry in the opening period. Ward would score his 10th of the season—with assists from his linemates—2:56 into the first for a 1-0 Thunder lead.

Henry would add his 13th goal—assisted by Conacher—with 4:43 remaining in the first to double the Thunder lead.

The top line would come through again midway through the second. Conacher would score his 9th on a power play to make it 3-0 Adirondack.

We now interrupt the game recap for a special ECHL All Star announcement!

With Loney unable to attend the All Star festivities due to injury, Henry was named as the new Thunder representative. A nice reward for one of the charter members of the Adirondack ECHL franchise!

Back to the game...

Harrison got in on the offensive attack, picking up his 6th goal less than 3 minutes later for a 4-0 lead.

The Royals would finally get on the board against Fielding late in the period, as a goal by Brian Morgan would make it 4-1. On the same play, some pushing and shoving ensued, and Thunder defenseman Vytal Cote was given a 10 minute misconduct for whatever part he played (apparently the lone referee saw something the rest of the audience did not...or it’s a minor league referee doing minor league referee things) in the incident. Forty-seven seconds later, the first of three fights broke out, with a knockout punch from Thunder defenseman Travis Armstrong:

No goals may have been scored in the third...but there was plenty of entertainment for the fans in house.

Andrew Radjenovic and Cote each had their own bouts during the final twenty minutes—and both skaters exited with raise the roof gestures.

In the middle of all of the extra curriculars, Fielding was excelling in his third straight start. With no experienced backup—a local goalie was brought in as an EBUG—he stopped 31 of 32 Reading shots in his 9th win of the season. He is quickly becoming a cult hero in Glens Falls, as DREWWWW can be heard after every great save he makes. Not bad for a guy who was out of work when the regular season began in October.

3 Stars:

3. Brian Ward (ADK) 1 goal, 1 assist

2. James Henry (ADK) 1 goal, 1 assist

1. Drew Fielding (ADK) 31 saves

Video:

Sunday, 1/14: Brampton 6, Adirondack 5

Scoresheet

For the second weekend in a row, the Thunder had to travel all night from Glens Falls to Brampton, to play a Sunday afternoon game against the Beast.

Fielding would get his fourth consecutive start, and third straight with a different local goalie backing him up. In other words, he was on his own, no matter the outcome.

In the opening 20 minutes, a combined five goals were scored in a span of 6:49. Brampton was first on the board with a goal by Vincent Dunn, taking a 1-0 lead. Evan Neugold would match that with his first ECHL goal to tie the game at 1.

The Beast would respond with a pair of goals 24 seconds apart from Chris Leveille and Dunn to jump ahead 3-1. Again, the Thunder would answer, as a goal from Radjenovic would reduce Brampton’s lead to 3-2.

Brampton would extend their lead to 5-2 midway through the second period on two goals in 2:01 from David Vallorani. Adirondack would again respond, as Stephen Johnson scored his first professional goal to cut the deficit to 5-3.

Third period would see more back and forth action between the two sides.

First, Ward would score his 11th goal to make it a one goal contest. Brampton would answer with a goal from Brandon McLean to regain the two goal lead. Paul Rodrigues would respond with a power play goal, his 6th, to make it 6-5 Beast.

Adirondack would get a late power play, and pull Fielding for the 2 man advantage through the end of regulation. Unfortunately, time would run out on the rally, and the Beast would pull out a highly offensive one goal win.

Fielding would finish with 28 saves on 34 shots. The top line of Conacher, Ward, and Henry would combine for six points, while Brodeur added two assists.

3 Stars:

3. Daniel Ciampini (BRM) 2 assists

2. David Vallorani (BRM) 2 goals

1. Vincent Dunn (BRM) 2 goals

Roster Moves:

DELETE: G Mackenzie Blackwood, recalled to Binghamton 1/12

ADD/DELETE: G Eric Vogel, signed/released as EBUG 1/12

ADD/DELETE: G Joe Spadaccini, signed/released as EBUG 1/13

ADD/DELETE: G T.J. Sherwood, signed/released as EBUG 1/14

Team Leaders:

Goals: Ty Loney, 18

Assists: Shane Conacher, 26

Points: Shane Conacher, 35

Plus/Minus: Mathieu Brodeur, +14

Penalty Minutes: Mike Bergin, 65

Wins: Drew Fielding, 9

Goals Against Average: Drew Fielding, 2.84

Save Percentage: Drew Fielding, .909

Division Standings:

(as of 1/14/18)

  1. Manchester: 39 GP, 22-13-3-1, 48 points
  2. Adirondack: 41 GP, 22-16-1-2, 47 points
  3. Wheeling: 39 GP, 21-15-3-0, 45 points
  4. Reading: 40 GP, 21-17-2-0, 44 points
  5. Worcester: 36 GP, 15-16-3-2, 35 points
  6. Brampton: 35 GP, 15-17-1-2, 33 points

This Week:

While Henry heads to Indianapolis to take part in ECHL All Star festivities on Monday, the rest of the Thunder get four days off. Then on Friday, Adirondack will play their lone game of the week, a home contest against Brampton.

After back to back weeks of 4 games in 5 days, the Thunder will get a much deserved break.