It’s been an exciting year here at Puck Authority and it continues as for the first time we will have some ECHL coverage. I will be spending the year covering the Adirondack Thunder the ECHL affiliate of the New Jersey Devils. The ECHL is one step lower than the NHL, players are assigned to ECHL when teams don’t have enough room for them on their AHL rosters. It consists of 26 teams, split into four equal divisions.
Background on The Thunder
The Adirondack Thunder are in their fifth year in the ECHL and have made the Kelly Cup Playoffs in each of those five seasons including a conference finals appearance during the 2017-18 season.
Adirondack places their home games in Glens Falls, New York at Cool Insuring Arena. The arena was built in 1979 and holds a little under 5,000 people for a hockey game. The Thunder will play 36 games during the 72 game season in Glens Falls.
The Thunder are led by head coach Alex Loh. Loh is a Morrisville, VT native whose been with the Organization since they begin. He has spent the previous two seasons with the Thunder and has been with the organization since they changed their name to the Thunder in 2015.
Adirondack comes into the 2019-2020 season with a strong team to start off the year. The Thunder have not yet named a captain, but it wouldn’t be a shock if James Henry keeps the C that he had last season. Henry has spent the last five seasons with Adirondack.
He had 15 goals and 54 assists for 69 points in 72 games last season. Craig Martin is a guy to watch for the Thunder. He played in both pre-season games and led the Thunder with two goals and one assist.
Martin had 11 goals and 19 assists last season with Quinnipiac University. “It’s more possession here compared to college where it was more of run and gun,” Marin said when talking about the differences from college to the ECHL.
The goaltending duo of Michael McNiven and Eanom McAdam is a very strong duo for Adirondack. Both guys have spent time in the AHL and ECHL so far in their early careers. With that being said it wouldn’t be a shock if head coach Alex Loh decides to split time between the two goaltenders.
McNiven comes to Adirondack after being re-assigned by the Laval Rocket. He spent 30 games with the Rocket last season. McNiven finished with an 11-15-3 record with a 2.52 goals against and a save percentage just over .900.
McAdam appeared in 19 games with the Newfoundland Growlers (ECHL) and 19 with the Toronto Marlies (AHL). In 38 games, he had a 19-14-3 record last season along with 3 combined shutouts between both leagues.
Preseason Games Against Reading
The Thunder capped off their weekend with a home-home match-up with the Reading Royals. Coming into the weekend, Adirondack had not won a home match-up against the Royals.
Adirondack went 1-1 during the pre-season in their home and home against the Royals. The win came on the road in an overnight thriller that saw a combined 91 minutes in penalties between the two clubs. However, the physicality wouldn’t end in Reading as Alex Carrier and Jimmy Mazza would drop the gloves a little under seven minutes into the second period. The game, however, would take a different turn as the Royals were all over Adirondack and would win by the score of 6-1.
Eamon McAdam would start in Reading and would make 36 saves in the win against Reading. Michael McNiven would end up giving up six goals the next night on 34 shots and playing all 60 minutes. When asked why he played all 60 minutes Loh said, “He hasn’t skated since Wednesday and we wanted him to face some pucks tonight. The same goes for the power play which went 0-5 during the pre-season. There will be different units on Friday and that’s stuff we will figure out during the week. This may be part of the reason McNiven made the Thunders regular-season roster.”
The Thunder will start the regular season on the road as they face Maine on Friday night before making stops in Worcester, and Brampton. Adirondack will have their home opener on October 19th vs the Worcester Railers. The Mariners lost their lone pre-season game 4-1 to Worcester.
Opening Night Roster
F-2 Matt Salhany
F-9 Antoine Waked
F-10 Hayden Verbeek
F-12 Nikita Popugaev
16- Felix Girard
C- 18 Casey Pierro-Zabotel
F-19 Shane Conacher
F-22 Ara Nazarian
F- 23 Robbie Payne
F- 25 Ryan Walker
F- 44 Conor Riley
3- Charlie Curti
4- Michael Sdao
5- Zach Borsoi
6- Tommy Parran
8- Blake Thompson
21- Colby Sissons
27- Kelly Summers
*37- Gabriel Verpaeist
17- Alex Carrier
20- Craig Martin
7- Jake Linhart
15- James Henry
G- 30 Michael McNiven
G- 34 Eamon McAdam
Gabriel Verpaelst has been suspended for the first five games of the regular season for leaving the bench to join an altercation during a preseason game on the fourth of October.