ECHL: Adirondack Thunder Sit Atop North Division After Busy Week

For the first time in a long time, the Adirondack Thunder sit atop the North Division for the first time since November 3rd, 2019, after picking up seven of a possible eight points during a busy four games in five-day stretch last week, as three of those games would be played in Glens Falls. This past week not only showed how strong the Thunder are but showed how much depth they have up and down the lineup as they were able to give guys a night off and picked up three out of four points against a tough Newfoundland Growlers team that the Thunder have always seemed to struggle against and the team that knocked them out of the Kelly Cup Playoffs last season in the opening round.

Adirondack Battles Back To Pick Up Point In SO loss

GLENS FALLS- The Adirondack Thunder had their first of eight games vs Newfoundland Growlers, and it was the first time these two teams had squared off since the Growlers eliminated the Thunder in the opening round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs last season. Adirondack would be able to hold their own for most of the opening period, but it would be the Growlers that would get on the board first, as Issac Johnson fed Former Thunder defenceman Cory Dennis for his first of the year at the 14:40 mark of the period and the Growlers would take a 1-0 lead heading into the locker room despite being outshot 15-9. Newfoundland was controlling the play and had most of the chances in the second, and they would double their lead as a Tristan Ashbrook turnover in his own zone would lead to Grant Cruikshank getting his team-leading 11th goal of the year. Adirondack needed a burst of energy, and they would get it as Yushiro Hirano fed T.J. Friedmann for his second of the year as he was playing in his first game since November 7th, “Ya, it was good, thankfully Hirano was looking for me because I really didn’t have the legs to catch him,” Laughed Friedmann when talking about the goal.

Andy Camp/Adirondack Thunder

The third period would begin with a bang, as Nico Blachman was given a 10-minute misconduct at the end of the second for inciting as he was chirping at Newfoundland Head Coach Matt Cooke at the end of the second. Just 2:45 into the period, Adam Dawe threw a high open ice hit on Yushiro Hirano, which had Shane Harper coming to the aid of his teammate as Dawe and Harper would each get four for roughing. That would be enough of a momentum boost for the Thunder as just 1:15 later, Matt Stief found the back of the net to tie the game and extend his point-streak to four games, but the lead didn’t last long as 11 seconds later, Brock Caufield got a breakaway and beat Purpura as the Growlers regained their lead. The physicality wasn’t done yet as a scrum in the corner as Lincoln Erne and Colin Felix would exchange fists, and they’d each get four for roughing as they headed off for repairs, “It adds a little depth of toughness, you don’t have just one guy who has to take the brunt of it, I think Pete wants us to play a very physical game, people are gonna have to answer the bell, and I have no problem doing that” said newcomer Darian Skeoch when talking guys like Zach Walker, Nico Blachman and Colin Felix all being willing combatants to drop the gloves.

Adirondack would pull the goalie with less than two minutes left, and it would be Yushiro Hirano who got a tip in front for his second of the game to send the game to OT, “Ya, it felt good, we played well, I think” said Hirano, but one thing he kept mentioning during the post-game interview is “we should have won that game.” In the OT frame, both sides would get their chances, but neither team would be able to find the back of the net. Zach O’Brien would get the lone shootout goal as the Growlers would grab the extra point in Wednesday’s game, “I thought it was a pretty good hockey game; we had a couple of guys come back in the lineup, Middy and Yoush, have been playing a ton of minutes so it’s hard for them to come down here and play 18-20 same with Fredge, so we thought those guys were fine, we expect those guys to be better on Friday, we harnessed the energy we had in the right way to get that point, I thought there goalie played well, it was a pretty good hockey game for a Wednesday Night” said Head Coach Pete MacArthur.

Ashbrook’s Two-Goal Night Helps Thunder Take A Bite Out Of Growlers

GLENS FALLS- The Adirondack Thunder had their second game of a four-in-five and second game against the Newfoundland Growlers after dropping Wednesday’s game in a shootout. On Wednesday, it was a physical game between the two teams, and on Friday, it was no different as just 3:07 after the opening faceoff, Tate Singleton leveled Nico Blachman, which caused Darian Skeoch to respond as he would get the only penalty as he got two for roughing and a ten-minute misconduct for inciting. That would be enough encouragement for the Thunder to get on the board first, as Shane Harper fed Tristan Ashbrook in front for his first of two goals on the night, “I told Ash yesterday that he’s kinda elevated his game, he’s a big centerman, he’s our best centerman on draws, and occasionally we struggle at that, he’s been good in the middle, he gives the same thing every night, which isn’t an easy thing to do,” said Harper about Ashbrook. For the second straight game, Newfoundland had a quick response as just 14 seconds later, Isaac Johnson would feed Zach O’Brien, who found the back of the net for his fifth of the season, as he now has 16 points in 14 games since returning from Slokavia. The two teams would trade goals as Neil Shea would slide one past Brodeur, and Jace Isley, in his first game back from Utica, would find the back of the net as it was knotted up at two.

Cody Conine/InsideTheRink

It wouldn’t take long for the Thunder to get the lead as a nice shift from the Middendorf-Ashbrook-Gillespie line as Middendorf found Gillespie, who found Ashbrook in front for the tip to give the Thunder a 3-2 lead. Adirondack would strike again on the PP as this time, it would be Gillespie who’d get on the board as the PP as the Thunder would finish the night 2/4 on the PP, “Ya, they were great, it was nice to see the other unit get one as well, their different set-ups structurally, we’ve got guys in good spots and it seems like were patient, and we had a lot of puck control, and we weren’t wasting shots, we were winning draws, it’s really important to have good special teams, and it helps their confidence for sure” said MacArthur. Newfoundland would keep it close as after a few tries; the Growlers would find the back of the net as Matt Brossard found a juicy rebound and put it home for his second of the year. Patrick Grasso would add a PP goal in the third as the Thunder would take three out of four points against the Growlers.

“I told Ash yesterday that he’s kinda elevated his game, he’s a big centerman, he’s our best centerman on draws, and occasionally we struggle at that, he’s been good in the middle, he gives the same thing every night, which isn’t an easy thing to do,” said Harper

Tough Guys And Teddy Bears Help Thunder Beat Railers

Cody Conine/InsideTheRink

GLENS FALLS- The Adirondack Thunder finished off their home stretch of three in four days before heading out to Portland, Maine to face the Mariners. It was Teddy Bear Toss Night in Glens Falls, but before the Teddy Bears could fly, the fists would fly as Darion Skeoch and Jake Shultz would drop the gloves just 2:16 after the opening faceoff, “This is a place where I felt like I can come in and be a hockey player as well as show my physical side and I think Nico is a perfect example of that where Pete allows him to go out play hockey instead of going out there and playing two minutes a night and it showed tonight that he can play hockey” said Skeoch when talking about him and Nico. Once the punches were done flying, Shane Harper would feed Patrick Grasso, who found the back of the net and, for the second straight year, would let the Teddy Bears fly, “It’s always fun, good crowd, it’s always good to see the Teddy Bears raining down” said Grasso. Adirondack would double their lead late in the period as Nico Blachman would get his second goal of the season and his first with the Thunder at the 15:01 mark as Adirondack outshot Worcester in the opening frame 13-5 and would hold a 2-0 lead. It would be a physical game as both teams weren’t shying away from throwing the body around, but Adirondack remained in control as Nico Blachman would score from the slot and would have a look of utter shock on his face as he had his first career multi-goal game, “It felt great to get one, but to get two, amazing” said Blachman after the game with a big smile on his face.

Cody Conine/InsideTheRink

Worcester would finally solve Vinnie Purpura in the third as Joey Cipollone got a tip-in to make it a 3-1 game, but Adirondack would tack on one more as Ryan Smith would get a breakaway and hit the post, but the puck would hit the post and hit a Railer and would find it’s way into the back of the net to make it 4-1 which is what the final score would end up being as it would be Nico Blachman and Darian Skeoch would lead the Thunder tonight, “That’s a scary one-two punch” said Grasso when talking about Blachman and Skeoch. Vinnie Purpura made 21 saves for his fifth win of the year, and for the eighth time in nine starts with Purpura in net, the Thunder walked away with at least one point, “He’s awesome, very calm in the net, controlled the rebound really well tonight, he seems to get more and more confident in each game he plays” said MacArthur.

Thunder Score Four Unanswered Goals To Take Top Spot In the North

The Adirondack Thunder came into the final game of their four-in-five missing some key pieces from the lineup, which included Shane Harper and Travis Broughman, but this is where the Thunder would depend on their depth, which has proved to be pivotal this season. Adirondack wouldn’t get to Maine until the wee hours on Sunday Morning, as it showed early in the game as Adam Mechura would get the Mariners on the board less than five minutes and unleash the Teddy Bears at the Cross Insurance Arena as it was Teddy Bear Toss Afternoon in Portland and the Mariners would take a 1-0 lead. It would take the Thunder more than half a period to get their first shot on goal, but for the first time since December 1st, Adirondack would give up a PP goal as Alex Kile would fire a shot from the circle that beat Jeremy Brodeur and the Mariners would take a two-goal lead heading to the locker room after the opening 20.

Bryce Aldrich/Maine Mariners

Adirondack has had no problem showing their physicality this year as at the 3:21 mark of the second, there would be a dust-up in which Nico Blachman and Zach Walker, two of the more physical guys on the Thunder, would find their way to the box and leave Adirondack short-handed but the Kile goal would be the only goal they’d give up as Maine had four opportunities on the man-advantage. Erik Middendorf would deflect a shot from Mike Gillespie to put the Thunder within one, and then with less than a minute left in the period, Patrick Grasso found the back of the net for his 11th of the season as the Thunder would make it a 2-2 game after two. It would be the MacKinnon-Felix connection that would give Adirondack the lead as Felix fed MacKinnon at the point for his first of the season. Jace Isley would come down the wing and find the back of the net at the 13:40 mark of the third to make it 4-2 in what would prove to be a pivotal goal for the Thunder as the Mariners would score in the final seconds to make it 4-3 with two seconds left, but it would be Adirondack who would walk away with the victory. Jeremy Brodeur would make 33 saves for his seventh win of the season.

Armand Klisivitch

Inside The Rink ECHL Manager | Senior Editor Credentialed Reporter for the Adirondack Thunder & Worcester Railers.

One thought on “ECHL: Adirondack Thunder Sit Atop North Division After Busy Week”

  1. The word you’re looking for is Division. Might want to use proper punctuation when abbreviating the word versus. The proper way to do so is vs., not sure why you don’t know this.

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