The Adirondack Thunder picked up three out of a possible four points this weekend, as they faced two North Division opponents in the Newfoundland Growlers and Maine Mariners, and have now picked up at least one point in eight out of their last nine games. It hasn’t been easy, as the Thunder have been losing guys to the American Hockey League, with the NHL adding back their much-needed taxi squad. Let’s take a look to see how the Thunder have been staying red hot over the past few weeks.
Adirondack Rejoins Nice List After Win Over Newfoundland
GLENS FALLS, NY- The Adirondack Thunder gained a ton of momentum Friday night, as they beat the North Division leading Newfoundland Growlers in overtime by a final score of 4-3. This handed the Growlers their first road loss of the season. As captain Pete MacArthur said, “The hockey gods are a real thing, and I think they took care of us tonight. We deserved it.” Adirondack got the party started, as Colin Long took a snap shot off the wing that beat backstop Keith Petruzzelli five minutes in to claim the early lead. It was Long’s second goal in two games and his third of the season.
When asked about what led to his decent success, Long said, “I don’t know, I’ve just started to feel good. My conditioning is going well, and I’m getting used to the North American game.” The Growlers finally got on the board in the second period, as Owen Centazzo tipped in a shot from Brennan Kapcheck, which knotted up the contest at one apiece.
Adirondack soon after re-took the lead courtesy of a shot from the point off the stick of Jake Hamilton, who tallied his first goal since Saturday, November 20th. After the game, Hamilton talked about what’s been going right as of late for his team. “I think our biggest improvement has been our play in the second period.” The Growlers once again responded to the Thunder, as C.J. Hayes put the puck in on a one-timer right in front of Alex Sakellaropoulos to tie the game back up at two.
Newfoundland finally claimed their first lead of the game early in the third, as Hayes received a pass from Derian Plouffe right off a face-off in the Thunder zone and fired it hope to go ahead 3-2. Adirondack didn’t have many chances in the third, but they did have one, as Pete MacArthur fed Sebastian Vidmar, who made no mistake on the breakaway, tying the game up at three, which is where it remained until the end of regulation.
Patrick Grasso was the overtime hero, taking a shot blocked by the pad of Matteo Pietroniro, but able to find his own rebound, which put the Thunder back in the win column and on the nice list despite a pair of scuffles. “I just closed my eyes and swung and the puck went in,” Grasso said when asked about his tally to end it. Sakellaropoulos made 31 saves en route to recording his third win of the season. Head Coach Alex Loh credited the team’s mental strength when asked about the victory on Friday Night.
Thunder Get Reinforcements Back, Fall in Overtime
The Adirondack Thunder returned to action on Saturday evening, as they headed out to Portland to take on the hometown Maine Mariners. Adirondack, who played with only five defenders and nine forwards on Friday Night, got some reinforcements back, as goaltender Brandon Kasel, forwards Tyler Irvine and Samuel Laberge, along with defensemen Blake Thompson, were all returned to to the lineup. However, in a flurry of transactions, the Thunder were without forwards Colin Long and Pete MacArthur.
Maine entered Saturday’s matchup leading the league on the power play at 28%, and they got on the board first, as Jason Horvath tipped in a point shot from Alex Kile that would find the mesh, beating Brandon Kasel. It wouldn’t take long for Adirondack to respond, as Tyler Irvine put the puck in off a turnover for his 12th of the year, reminding Thunder fans of what he brings to the roster.
The two teams played an evenly matched second period, however with just 6.1 seconds remaining in the frame, it was centreman Pascal Laberge who found the back of the net, which gave the Mariners the lead, unlocking momentum heading into the game’s third period. Brandon Kasel kept the Thunder in the game, as he made a huge save early in the third period to keep it a one-goal game.
That save stood to be an important one, as Robbie Payne scored a power play goal to tie the game up at two at the 9:51 mark of the final period. The Mariners earned a golden opportunity to end the game in regulation, as Brendan Robins drove in all alone against Kasel, missing the net completely, which sent the contest to sudden-death overtime. It took the Mariners just 20 seconds to score, as Pascal Laberge received a pass from Alex Kile, wiring the puck on the net, which handed Maine the extra point in the standings. Despite the loss, the one point for Adirondack kept the team in third place over the Mariners in the North Division.
On Sunday afternoon, Utica recalled forwards Tyler Irvine, Patrick Grasso, Samuel Laberge, and Jordan Kaplan. The very next day, the Thunder made a deal with the Cincinnati Cyclones, receiving defenseman Kyle Thacker in exchange for future considerations. Thacker, who stands at six-foot-three, is a left-handed shot from Mississauga, Ontario. He’s spent his collegiate career in the state of New York, as he went to SUNY-Potsdam, where he tallied 41 points, tallying eight goals, while adding 33 assists.
Thacker, now 28-years-old, captained the Bears in his Senior season. Making the leap following four years of collegiate, Thacker has spent most of his career in the SPHL, where with the Evansville Thunderbirds, he’s tallied 29 points across 97 games as a professional. The Thunder will be Thacker’s third team this year, as he’s spent time with the Cyclones and Iowa Heartlanders, recording two goals and an assist across 19 games played.
Adirondack will be back in action on Friday, January 7, as they host the Maine Mariners before following them home for another three-in-three series.