ECHL Weekend Recap: Adirondack Thunder vs. Newfoundland Growlers| 12/30-12/31

It was the final weekend series of the 2023 Calander year for the Adirondack Thunder, and not only did the team show up, but the fans did as well, as both games were announced as sellouts, “There’s no better crowd in this league; and the city rallies behind us, especially around the holidays it’s nice to get the win in front of them, especially a big emotional win like that” said Erik Middendorf after Saturday Night’s win. It was a big bounce-back weekend for Adirondack after getting shutout for the first time this season Friday in Maine, and they bounced back with two massive performances on Saturday and Sunday as head coach Pete MacArthur said they played two games of true “ADK Hockey” which is playing fast and physical.

“ADK Hockey” Leads Thunder To Saturday Night Victory

Cody Conine/InsideTheRink

GLENS FALLS, NY-The Adirondack Thunder needed a bounce-back game on Saturday Night after getting shutout on Friday for the first time since March, and that’s exactly what they got. Adirondack would have a much better start to the game than they did on Friday, but the PK has been struggling of late, and it would be Zach O’Brien who would find Grant Cruikshank in front for a tip-in on the PP to give the Growlers a 1-0 lead at the 14:18 mark of the opening frame. At the end of the opening frame, Joe Masonius would go for a low hit on Tristan Ashbrook, and Zach Walker, among others, would come charging in looking for a Masonius to answer the bell, which he didn’t. The chippiness of the game would carry into the second period when Travis Broughman threw a massive hit on Masonius as Noah Dillingham came to Masonius’s aid, as Broughman and Dillingham would both be assessed minors on the play.

Adirondack responded well after the Broughman hit, as 22 seconds later, Ryan Orgel would score a PP goal to tie the game at one in what would be the first of three goals in 50 seconds. Erik Middendorf would give Adirondack a 2-1 lead 31 seconds after Orgel’s goal as a puck bounced off the boards, and Luke Cavallin couldn’t track it, and then it would be Josh Victor who would beat Purpura for his first career ECHL goal who scored just 17 seconds after Middendorf’s goal. Zach O’Brien and Tate Singelton got a two-on-one, and O’Brien would take the shot to give the Growlers a 3-2 lead. Adirondack would once again respond as Ryan Orgel scored an un-real spin-o-rama back-handed goal to tie the game up at three, “It was four on four, and Harps was going down the left side. I followed behind him, and he made a nice drop pass, and I thought I could pull off the spin-o-rama and get a shot on net, and it worked out,” said Orgel; I asked Middendorf about the goal. I think his response was the same as most of the people in the building, “That was crazy; my jaw hit the floor; I didn’t know what to do after that one; it was a beautiful goal.” The two teams combined for five goals in 7:49.

Isaac Johnson would get the Growlers lead back on the PP once again as a puck bounced off the boards and landed on his stick, and he would fire it home, but Middendorf would score for Adirondack just 1:42 after the Johnson goal as we were knotted up at four. It was a sold-out crowd here in Glens Falls tonight, and it would catch MacArthur’s attention with less than five minutes left in regulation, “It’s super cool to see; I think there was 2:44 on the clock, and I’m like it would be pretty cool if we won it in front of a sellout and our effort was always there”. The game would head to OT, and it would be Shane Harper who found the back of the net of the 51st shot of the night for the Thunder to send the fans home happy, “Our team this year is like going to a show this year; it’s entertaining. There’s usually lots of goals, lots of hits, and it seems like there’s a fight every night. The Fans are getting their money’s worth, and being from here now, it’s just cool to give the fans a lot to cheer about; it’s just been a lot of fun,” said Harper after the game.

Number 13 Is Adirondack’s Lucky Number On Final Day Of 2023

GLENS FALLS, NY-It was another soldout crowd on Sunday Afternoon as the Thunder looked to take care of Newfoundland and end 2023 on the right track. Adirondack came out of the gate strong as they would spend most of the first five minutes of the period in their offensive zone, but it would be Newfoundland who’d open the scoring at the 6:34 mark as Zach O’Brien would feed Grant Cruikshank a cross-ice pass for his second goal in as many games to get the Growlers on the board and after the first period the Thunder would be down one. The Thunder came out flying in the second period, getting the first seven shots on goal and would eventually find the back of the net as Jace Isley found Patrick Grasso in the slot for his 13th of the season. Adirondack has seemed to be lacking offense from the blueline this year, but that wouldn’t be the case this weekend as Ryan Orgel had two goals on Saturday, and at the 11:46 mark of the second, Tristan Thompson would fire a puck where momma hides the cookies to make it a 2-1 game for the Thunder.

Cody Conine/InsideTheRink

Nico Blachman would drop the gloves on Saturday, but on Sunday, it would be Tristan Ashbrook who would drop the gloves with Joe Masonius, who was a topic of discussion all weekend after a low hit on Ashbrook at the end of the first period on Saturday, “Obviously we know Joey played here and he plays on the edge, Ash answered the bell and he did a great job, he’s a tough kid, and I think that was his first fight so he got that out of the way and it was a momentum shift like all the other things tonight it was big for our group” said Grasso when asked about Ashbrook dropping the gloves. It wouldn’t be an easy road to the finish line as Adirondack would have to kill off a five on three for 1:27 at the end of the second and beginning of the third, but Newfoundland would still come up empty, “It was huge, Smitty and Ash are two of our hard nose simple guys you can always trust them out there on the kill and our D core is super strong as well so I’m not worried about them looking to kill off a five on three, just being able to ride that momentum and knowing that playing the right way and sticking to some systems and playing for one for another that we’re going to get rewarded at the end of the day so using that momentum to ride us into the third was huge, the crowd was great and everyone knew that these two games were gonna be sold out and we put on a good show” said Zach Walker who had two assists on the afternoon. Erik Middendorf would hit the empty net for his 13th of the year, and Jeremy Brodeur would make 23 saves for his ninth win of the year, “You never wanna lose two games in a row; I think it might have been the first time this year, and it’s good we buckled down and finished things the right way” said Brodeur.

Adirondack will head to Trois-Rivieres on Wednesday Night before returning home on Friday for the first half of a home and home against the Maine Mariners, as Adirondack only has five home games in the month of January, “It’s gonna be a bit of a test, we have back to back road trips, and this first week is a little weird with some home and homes against Maine and Trois, that’s the challenge in the league of being able to handle playing and bussing in one night, no one likes the schedule, we look at and laugh sometimes every once in a while, but it’s our job to show up and play. Hopefully, we show up for those five home games that we got here; like you said, we got some work to do on the road, but we’ve been fortunate to have some success, so I don’t anticipate that being an issue” said Walker

Armand Klisivitch

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

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