ECHL Series Preview: Adirondack Thunder vs Maine Mariners

Latoya Fournier/InsideTheRink

The Adirondack Thunder and Maine Mariners will meet for the fifth straight game and first game of the Kelly Cup North Division Semifinals on Friday Night and for the second straight year the series will begin on home ice for the Thunder.  Adirondack won the regular season series between these two teams, going 7-4-2 against the Mariners in 13 games. One of the big things to watch in this series is how these two teams adjust to playing each other for a minimum of eight times in a row as both Adirondack and Maine are looking to get past the first round after being knocked out in the opening round last year as the Mariners were eliminated by the Reading Royals in six games and Adirondack lost to the now-defunct Newfoundland Growlers in five games.

“I think we expect to play more than five games”

Head Coach Pete MacArthur on the difference between this year and next year

Key Players

Rich LeBlanc/InsideTheRink

Heading into the series, the Adirondack Thunder will have to find a way to contain Alex Kile, who finished the season with 37 goals and 46 assists for 81 points, including 13 goals and 12 assists for 25 points in 14 games against Adirondack this season. Brooklyn Kalmikov and Adam Mechura also have 20+ goals for the Mariners this season. Gabriel Chicoine, the Mariners representative at the All-Star Game, has given their blueline a huge boost offensively, with 16 goals and 45 assists for 61 points in 66 games this season with the Mariners; Adirondack does not have that kind of offensive force on the blue line.

“Stay out of the box if we can and just play hockey, no one guy is going to beat you completley beat you, but he’s a heck of a player, skilled, smart, heck of a shot whether it’s a one-timer or in stride but we’re gonna be away, i’ll say till i’m out of hockey, take care of yourself and usually everything else takes care of itself”

Adirondack Thunder Head Coach Pete MacArthur when talking about defending Alex Kile

Adirondack had been led by Tristan Ashbrook, who led the team with 32 goals and 25 assists for 57 points in 68 games with the Thunder. Shane Harper has been a beast for the Thunder since deciding to continue his hockey career in November, as he’s put up 19 goals and 37 assists for 56 points in 56 games during the regular season. Adirondack also has a couple of extra forwards on their Kelly Cup Playoff Roster that are still up in the AHL with the Utica Comets but could be here as early as Sunday depending on the results of Utica’s game on Friday night as they could be mathematically eliminated.

Goaltending

Cody Conine/InsideTheRink

There’s no question that goaltending is going to play a huge part throughout this seven-game series, as the Thunder will run with a tandem of Isaac Poulter and Jeremy Brodeur. Adirondack Thunder Head Coach Pete MacArthur met with the media on Wednesday and announced that Isaac Poulter will get the start for Game 1 and possibly Game 2, depending on his Game 1 performance. Since being sent down from the Utica Comets, Poulter has gone 5-0-0-1 with a 2.44 GAA and .917SV%. Brodeur will likely get at least one start in the series as the Adirondack and Maine will play a three-in-three in Maine next weekend. Brodeur went 18-9-3 this year with a 2.56 GAA, .918 SV%, and two shutouts in 32 games this season.

“Whatever he decides we’re all gonna be ready when called upon, it’s the ECHL, your gonna have some back to back games, even in playoffs, so we’re all gonna be ready and if it’s one guy rolling if its two guys then it is what it is, we just wanna win hockey games”

Jeremy Brodeur talking about the Goaltending Situation for the Thunder Heading into the Kelly Cup Playoffs

The Maine Mariners have yet to announce their starter for Game 1 in Adirondack, but unlike the Thunder, they will have three goaltenders eligible for the Kelly Cup Playoffs as Shane Starrett, Brad Arvanitis, and Kyle Keyser were all added to the Mariner’s Kelly Cup Playoff Roster. Arvanitis went 20-10-3 with a 2.71 GAA, .920SV%, and one shutout. Starrett went 7-13-3 with a 3.47 GAA and .887 SV%. Brad Arvanitis and Kyle Keyser each had a shutout this year vs Adirondack

Predection

The Adirondack Thunder are the top team in the North Division but over the past few games the Mariners have given them a run for their money as they expected as Maine’s season was on the line. It will be a closley played series by both sides but Adirondack has more options up front whent it comes to fire power and the Mariners goaltending has been nowhere near where it needs to be to beat a team like Adirondack. The Mariners will make it a series but it will be the Adirondack Thunder moving on in six games.

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Armand Klisivitch

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

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