On Friday Night, the Adirondack Thunder got their captain back as Shane Harper returned to the ice after missing seven games with an injury and would make an impact early on in the weekend for the Thunder. Coming into the weekend series, the Thunder had four games that would require overtime, and they would almost match that number as all three games this weekend needed an extra frame to decide a winner. The Thunder have gotten good goaltending with Isaac Poulter and Jake Theut, as well as Travis Broughman continuing to show his worth as he’s become the top center for the Thunder.
Shane Harper Returns to Lineup as Thunder Stay Winless Vs. Maine
The Adirondack Thunder played their first game of 2023 on Friday Night as they looked to pick up their first three-game win streak of the season and first win against Maine, who took the first five head-to-head match-ups. Shane Harper returned to the Thunder lineup after taking a scary hit in mid-December and shook off the rust early as he opened the scoring at the 7:02 mark with a PP goal and his sixth goal of the season. Maine would come back as Alex Kile would open the scoring for Maine on the PP at the 13:01 mark of the period, and just 1:08 later, Nate Kallen would give the Mariners a 2-1 lead, which they’d take into the final frame. In the second, Adirondack didn’t play their best hockey to start the period, but it would be a Maine turnover that would turn into a Patrick Grasso goal for his 16th of the year to tie the game back up at two. Adirondack brought in Trevor Broughman and Brandon Schultz before the new year, and they’ve both made a huge impact since joining the team. Tonight was no exception as Broughman would sneak one short-side past Kyle Keyser to give Adirondack the lead once again and headed to the third period with a one-goal lead. Adirondack had a ton of odd-man chances against Maine, and it would be a two-on-one as Sebastian Vidmar would feed Brandon Schultz as he’d net his third of the season to give the Thunder a two-goal lead and looked to have sealed the victory for Adirondack as the Thunder had a two-goal lead with less than 10 minutes remaining. Tyler Hinam would make it a one-goal game for the Mariners; then it would be Alex Kile who would score on a six-on-four with less than a minute remaining to send the game into OT. Adirondack controlled the OT period, but Maine would get one shot, and that’s all they needed as Michell Fossier would backhand one past Theut to keep the Mariners’ streak against the Thunder alive. One of the biggest contributors to Friday’s loss was turnovers, and it’s been an issue for the team all season long. It would lead to two of the Maine goals in the team’s 5-4 OT loss.
Thunder Win Six-Round Shootout to Beat Admirals
Coming into tonight’s game, the Norfolk Admirals had five wins on the season, two of which came at the hands of the Thunder back in December. Norfolk started off where they left off with a very dominant first period as Ryan Foss scored from the slot to open the scoring on a four-on-four. Danny Katic would pick up two goals, including one on the powerplay in the final 1:49 of the opening frame, to give Norfolk a commanding 3-0 lead after 20 minutes of play. Yanick Turcotte would provide the Thunder with life as he dropped the gloves with former Thunder defencemen Jake Hamilton and that woke up the Thunder as less than two minutes later, it would be Shawn Weller who picked up his fifth goal of the season, and third on the powerplay, ” Take advantage of your skillsets like we said about Turks, Shawn’s skillset is being a big body and having really soft hands in front of the net, that’s why he’s got (three on the PP)” said Head Coach Pete MacArthur. Shane Harper, who had an assist in his first game back last night as he missed seven games with an injury, would get a short-handed break-away chance to put the Thunder back within one heading into the third, “It feels good to be back, It’s fun to watch from the stands, and then you realize how much fun it is on the ice, so it’s just nice to be back” said Harper.
Special teams continued to help the Thunder as less than two minutes into the third period; Jeff Taylor would score from the point to tie the game back up at three. Adirondack wasn’t done yet as Yanick Turcotte got his first goal of the season, and it was his first since December 21, 2019, “I was expecting more of the fight than the goal, to be honest” said Turcotte, whose goal put the Thunder up 4-3. Eric Cooley would tie up the game for Norfolk at three at the 13:40 mark, and that’s where the score would sit after 60 minutes. Adirondack would kill off a penalty in the OT period, and due to a fast pace of play and no whistles, was played mostly four on four than the usual three on three, but Adirondack would kill it off. The game headed into a shootout, and it would be Trevor Broughman who scored in the sixth round of the shootout as the Thunder won their first game in a shootout, “Ya, I guess we were due for that,” said Harper about the shootout win. Isaac Poulter made 29 saves in regulation and overtime, as well as stopping five out of the six shootout attempts for his third win of the season.
Thunder Save Sinking Ship To Salvage Point In Sunday’s Game To Norfolk
“We need a better first period than we had today,” said Shane Harper after Saturday’s game, and that’s exactly what the Thunder got as Nick Rivera opened the scoring as he, crashed the net to find a loose puck and put it past Tomas Vomacka to give the Thunder an early lead. The Thunder would be able to double their lead as Grant Jozefek finished off an excellent tic-tac-toe play on the PP to give the Thunder a commanding 2-0 lead a little before the halfway mark of the second period. Norfolk would get some life as they took advantage of five on three as Danny Katic got his third goal of the weekend to put Norfolk on the board, and less than three minutes later, Griffin Lunn would tie the game for Norfolk, and it would be knotted up after 40 minutes. The Admirals had the momentum in the third as Adirondack began to look a little sluggish as Ryan Foss would give the Admirals a 3-2 lead just 2:03 into the 3rd period. Once again, it would be Travis Broughman, who’s been solid for the Thunder, who’d find the back of the net with 5:02 remaining in the third and send the Thunder to their third straight OT game of the weekend. Mathieu Roy would beat Ryan Da Silva on a one-on-one play and put the puck past Poulter to give the Admirals their first road win of the season. Isaac Poulter made 37 saves in the overtime loss as the Thunder are now 0-6-1 in Sunday games. Adirondack will be back in action as they travel to Reading for two games starting Friday Night at 7 pm, “Ya, next weekend in Reading, they’re kinda similar to Norfolk. They don’t have a shutoff button, and they’re just going non-stop; maybe a little bit better roster, and it’s going to be a good test for us and the way we’re playing now with the consistency we’re playing with. Adirondack has struggled on the road as they have a record of 3-8-2-0 I think we’re going to walk away with a couple of points from Reading,” said Mike Bergin, who was filling in for Pete MacArthur, who missed Sunday’s game due to personal reasons; Adirondack is 0-1-1-0 with Bergin as the bench boss.