ECHL: The Adirondack Thunder Three-Headed Monster In Net

The Adirondack Thunder have gotten off to a strong start as they hold a 14-6-2-1 record through 23 games and sit in first place in the North Division. In years past, they have had guys who are going to score 25-30 goals, but this season, it’s everyone that’s been chipping in offensively. Adirondack leads the league on the PK, and as they say, your best penalty killer is your goalie. Coming into the season, there was a lot of hype around the goaltending for the Thunder, and they had three very good goaltenders that has lived up to the hype so far this season. “Three great goaltenders, that’s a good problem to have,” said Head Coach Pete MacArthur. Through a 1/3 of the season, Adirondack sits in the top five for goals allowed as they have given up 60 goals, and opponents are averaging 2.83 goals per game against the Thunder while also giving up over 30 shots a game, which currently ranks 15th in the league. “It’s awesome to have two guys like them; we all play different styles. Vinnie’s one of those bigger guys who moves super fast, and Brenny is one of those young bucks who has it all right now, and then there’s me in my seventh-year pro, but it’s fun, it’s fun watching these guys in their first year succeeding, and I love succeeding with them, with all three of us it’s all around support, and we hope to keep this train rolling at a high pace for us,” said Brodeur.

Jeremy Brodeur

Rich LeBlanc/InsideTheRink

Jeremy Brodeur signed with Utica in the off-season, and it was expected that Brodeur and Tyler Brennan would split the playing time in Adirondack; in 11 games with the Thunder, Brodeur has gone 8-3 with a 2.11 GAA,934 SV% and one shutout and has not lost back-to-back starts all season. His numbers don’t only lead the Thunder netminders, but he also leads the league in SV%. In his 11 starts this season, Brodeur has only given up four goals or more once, and that came back in early November in his first start of the season. It’s been a memorable year for Brodeur as he is on pace to finish the year with career numbers, and on December 2nd vs Florida Everblades, he picked up his first career shutout in his 106th ECHL game, where he made 31 saves in an OT win.

The Adirondack Thunder don’t have a true number goaltender, but if they did, there’s no doubt that it would be the “Veteran” of the group, and both Brennan and Purpura talked about having him here in Adirondack, “He’s got a lot of experience in this league and many different leagues, he’s a good asset for myself to learn from him and take some advice he has learned throughout the year, he’s just a really good guy to have on the team” said Brennan who is in his first year as a pro, Purpura mentioned that the way he acts is really important for a long season, “He’s a good mentor, leads by example, doesn’t take it over seriously, and kinda keeps it light which is a good thing for a long season.”

Tyler Brennan

Cody Conine/InsideTheRink

The New Jersey Devils fourth-round pick in 2020 is getting his first taste of professional hockey after spending parts of four years in the Western Hockey League for the Prince George Cougars, where he went 38-42-8 with a 3.19 GAA, .898 SV%, and seven shutouts. The 20-year-old goaltender is the youngest of the three goalies and the only one who didn’t have any ECHL experience coming into this season, “They give me their advice, they show me the ropes a little bit it’s nice to have those guys behind me and in the room for games, and I learn what I can from the them” said the young goaltender. Brennan has only played in four games this season, with the Thunder posting a 1-2 record with a 3.64 GAA and .898 SV% but don’t let those numbers fool you, as Brennan had a shaky start to the year as he was pulled in his second start of the season but bounced back with a 27-save performance on November 22nd in a win vs Reading Royals and stopped 43 of 47 in a loss against the Florida Everblades on November 29th.

“He’s getting something checked out injury-wise, and we won’t see him until after the holidays,” said head Coach Pete MacArthur when asked about thBrennan’status o

Vinnie Purpura

Cody Conine/InsideTheRink

Heading into this season, the Adirondack Thunder knew that they were going to be getting two goalies from Utica in Jeremy Brodeur and Tyler Brennan, who are both on AHL deals, but Adirondack elected to bring in a familiar face on an ECHL deal in Vinnie Purpura. The 25-year-old goaltender joined the Thunder late last season after finishing his collegiate career at Long Island University. He went 2-0 with a 3.46 GAA and .906 SV% in four games before he suffered a season-ending injury on March 31st. Still, Pete MacArthur said that it was his compete level was one of the reasons he brought him back, “I thought he competed hard, he made the saves he was supposed to make it, and he didn’t lose a game in regulation, and all those games were really important for us, he has that mentality, it’s also hard to look away from a 6’6 goofy goalie, a lot of attributes that we liked” said, MacArthur.

Despite coming into the season as the third goaltender, Purpura has been a huge asset to the team as he’s gone 5-1-2 this season with a 2.52 GAA and .915SV%. In a league like the ECHL, it’s essential to have a third goalie in case a guy ends up getting hurt or getting called up to the AHL, and Purpura has done a great job at accepting that role and when asked earlier in the season about coming into the season as the third-string Purpura said, “Control what I can control whenever I get an opportunity I wanna perform at my highest level, and everything will take care of itself.” I asked Purpura why he decided to come back to Adirondack despite knowing that they already had two goalies, “The coaching staff, I had a good comradery with the coaching staff, think they believe in me, and I believe in them, and it’s a good match” said the Illinois native.

Armand Klisivitch

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

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