After finishing 2017 on a high note, the Adirondack Thunder looked to carry that momentum into the first week of 2018.
With a firmly established first line, some solid goaltending, and a little third period magic, the Thunder finished one shootout goal shy of a perfect 4 for 4 week.
Wednesday, 1/3: Adirondack 4, Manchester 3 (OT)
The Thunder kicked off the 2018 portion of their schedule on home ice Wednesday night, where for the third straight week they hosted the first place Monarchs.
Just like the last time the two teams met, the Thunder would find themselves trailing in the first period. In a span of 53 seconds, goals by Jordan LaVallee-Smotherman and Keegan Iverson would put Manchester ahead 2-0.
Second period, the new top line of Shane Conacher, Ty Loney, and Troy Bourke would get to work. Conacher would cut the Monarch lead in half 2:09 into the middle period.
SC23 brings us to within a goal! pic.twitter.com/2LWBNtjLkH— Adirondack Thunder (@ECHLThunder) January 4, 2018
The Monarchs would take back the two goal lead with 2:45 remaining in the second on a David Kolomatis goal. But, the top line would respond once again, as Conacher would score his second of the night 1:40 later to cut the Manchester lead to 3-2.
No doubt about that!— Adirondack Thunder (@ECHLThunder) January 4, 2018
Conacher rips it home and the #ADKThunder move to within a goal heading into the third! pic.twitter.com/47O6DJVKah
Early in the third, the Thunder would tie the game up at 3, thanks to Loney’s 16th goal of the season.
Anddddd just like that we have a TY game! pic.twitter.com/Pc3NXibffh— Adirondack Thunder (@ECHLThunder) January 4, 2018
Just as regulation was ending, a small skirmish would break out, giving Adirondack a power play to start overtime. And 1:21 in, Desmond Bergin would score his 8th goal of the season to finish off another Thunder comeback win.
A between the legs dish from @LoneyToon12 to Bergin for the #ADKThunder OT winner! pic.twitter.com/L8ru1Bripo— Adirondack Thunder (@ECHLThunder) January 4, 2018
The line of Conacher, Loney, and Bourke would combine for virtually all the Thunder offense with three goals and seven assists. Drew Fielding won his second straight start, stopping 28 of 31 Monarch shots.
3. Desmond Bergin (ADK) GWG
2. Ty Loney (ADK) 1 goal, 3 assists
1. Shane Conacher (ADK) 2 goals, 1 assist
Friday, 1/5: Worcester 4, Adirondack 3 (SO)
The homestand would continue Friday night, as Adirondack played host to the Railers.
Mackenzie Blackwood, reassigned by New Jersey from Binghamton after the Devils acquired goaltender Eddie Lack from Calgary, would make his Thunder debut in net.
Five minutes into the first period, while on their first penalty kill of the game, defenseman Conor Riley was pulled down on a shorthanded breakaway, and was awarded a penalty shot. He would indeed connect, giving the Thunder a 1-0 lead.
Slickkkkkkkkkkkkkk move from Riley and we're in front! pic.twitter.com/e1422OL0br— Adirondack Thunder (@ECHLThunder) January 6, 2018
The Railers would tie the game up at 1 with 7:13 remaining in the opening period on Connor Doherty’s first goal of the season.
In the second, just seven seconds into their second power play of the evening, the Thunder top line would strike again. Loney would celebrate his selection as an ECHL All-Star with his 17th goal of the season, assisted by Conacher and Bourke, to put the Thunder back up by a goal.
Seven Second PP's are the best PP's! pic.twitter.com/9VwLd8Ac5T— Adirondack Thunder (@ECHLThunder) January 6, 2018
However, late in the second, that 2-1 lead would evaporate in less than a minute. Woody Hudson and Jeff Kubiak would score in a span of fifty-eight seconds to give Worcester a 3-2 lead.
Once again, the Thunder would find a way to rally in the third period. With Blackwood pulled for an extra skater, and time slowly running out, a goal by Mathieu Brodeur, his second of the season, with 22 seconds to go would tie the game up at 3.
It wasn't a win but here's the goal late in regulation that earned us a big point in the North Division! pic.twitter.com/aCL5skRXEP— Adirondack Thunder (@ECHLThunder) January 6, 2018
After nothing was settled in overtime, it was on to the shootout round. Bourke and Conacher were unable to connect in their attempts, while Blackwood stopped Matt Lane and Barry Almeida. In round 3, Loney was denied, but Railer forward Kellen Jones connected on his attempt, giving Worcester the extra point.
Blackwood played well in his first start, stopping 28 of 31 Worcester shots in about 63 minutes of work. A few of those saves were highlight reel worthy, such as:
Not One...— Adirondack Thunder (@ECHLThunder) January 6, 2018
But THREE Saves on this play from Blackwood early in the first! pic.twitter.com/diTWDYQKfE
HUGE stop by Blackwood keeps this a one-goal game late in the third!— Adirondack Thunder (@ECHLThunder) January 6, 2018
Now we need a goal, cmon #ADKThunder! pic.twitter.com/K9ALdfpxgn
3. Ty Loney (ADK) 1 goal
2. Mathieu Brodeur (ADK) 1 goal
1. Kellen Jones (WOR) SO winning goal
Saturday, 1/6: Adirondack 2, Brampton 1
The Thunder would finish off a 4 game homestand on Saturday, hosting the Beast.
Before some fans even took their seats, it was already 1-0 Thunder. Twenty-two seconds after puck drop, it was two-thirds of the top line coming through once again, as Conacher would score his 8th goal of the season, with an assist from Loney.
That didn't take long....— ECHL (@ECHL) January 7, 2018
Just 22 seconds into the game Shane Conacher puts @ECHLThunder on the board! pic.twitter.com/mi4qIsKA29
The game would stay at 1-0 until 1:06 remaining in the second period, when Brampton would finally solve Fielding, as a goal off the stick of David Vallorani would tie the game up at 1.
Adirondack would take the lead back early in the third period, as Andrew Radjenovic would score his 4th of the season for a 2-1 advantage.
That's Radj!— Adirondack Thunder (@ECHLThunder) January 7, 2018
Radjenovic re-directs the puck past D'Agostini and we lead once again! pic.twitter.com/DH8tuTwqws
And Fielding would take care of the rest, coming up with another stellar outing with 29 saves. I had tweeted this after the game Saturday, but I’ll say it again: remember his name, Crunch fans. With the goaltending depth chart at the moment, I would not be surprised to see him come in on a PTO if Syracuse needs a goaltender. If Nick Riopel comes back from the Crunch sooner than planned...it’s going to be a good problem to have when you have three quality netminders to choose from.
In the milestone department, James Henry’s third period assist would make him the Thunder’s franchise leader in points, with an even 100. He is one of three Thunder regulars—Brodeur and captain Mike Bergin the others—who started out with the franchise after the relocation from Stockton to Glens Falls in 2015.
3. Andrew Radjenovic (ADK) 1 goal
2. Shane Conacher (ADK) 1 goal
1. Drew Fielding (ADK) 29 saves
Sunday, 1/7: Adirondack 4, Brampton 2
Sixteen and a half hours, and about 400 miles to the west later, the Thunder and Beast would meet again to finish off a home and home series. Blackwood would get his second start in net.
Adirondack would jump out to a 1-0 lead 8:59 into the opening period on Pierre-Luc Mercier’s 9th goal of the season.
The old pass of the pad! #ADKThunder have an early lead! pic.twitter.com/ilMXPilMAR— Adirondack Thunder (@ECHLThunder) January 7, 2018
The Beast would tie the game at 1 just under four minutes later on a goal by forward Luc-Olivier Blain.
In the second period, the Thunder would go back up 2-1 on a goal by Paul Rodrigues, his 5th of the season.
Conacher ➡️ Rodrigues anddddddd we're back on top! pic.twitter.com/eqAZ3cceYu— Adirondack Thunder (@ECHLThunder) January 7, 2018
Brampton would re-tie the game at 2 with 11:43 remaining in regulation, thanks to a Chris Leveille goal. But, Adirondack would come through again in the clutch, as Brian Ward’s 8th goal of the season on a power play would put the Thunder ahead 3-2 with 4:29 to go.
For good measure, Mercier would score his second of the game 1:55 later for a two goal cushion.
Falling to the ground and somehow still puts it home!— Adirondack Thunder (@ECHLThunder) January 7, 2018
4-2 #ADKThunder late in the third! pic.twitter.com/hnloDFPgNP
Blackwood would pick up his first Thunder win, stopping 28 of 30 shots. Henry added two assists, while Conacher got a point in his 5th straight game with a first period assist. In the four games this week, he finished with three goals and four assists.
3. Paul Rodrigues (ADK) 1 goal, 1 assist
2. Chris Leveille (BRM) 1 goal
1. Pierre-Luc Mercier (ADK) 2 goals
DELETE: F Terrence Wallin, signed to PTO by Binghamton 1/2
DELETE: G Chris Nell, recalled by Hartford 1/4
Goals: Ty Loney, 17
Assists: Shane Conacher, 21
Points: Ty Loney, 31
Plus/Minus: Mathieu Brodeur, +9
Penalty Minutes: Mike Bergin, 61
Wins: Drew Fielding, 7
Goals Against Average: Mackenzie Blackwood, 2.44
Save Percentage: Mackenzie Blackwood, .917
(as of 1/7/18)
- Manchester: 36 GP, 21-12-2-1, 45 points
- Adirondack: 37 GP, 20-14-1-2, 43 points
- Reading: 36 GP, 19-15-2-0, 40 points
- Wheeling: 36 GP, 18-15-3-0, 39 points
- Worcester: 33 GP, 14-14-3-2, 33 points
- Brampton: 33 GP, 14-16-1-2, 31 points
It’s another busy four game week for the Thunder, leading up to the ECHL All Star Classic on Monday.
The Thunder stay on the road, heading to Wheeling on Wednesday, then Reading on Friday. Saturday, it’s a quick trip home to host the Royals. Then, it’s right back on the bus to Brampton on Sunday afternoon to face the Beast.