The Adirondack Thunder finished the shortened 2019-20 season with a 22-28-8-5 record which left them on the outside looking in at a possible playoff spot. Seeing that on Saturday night they would have been finishing out the regular season against Worcester, now seems like a fitting moment to dish out some year-end awards and look back at my favourite game of the season.
Game of the Year
The game of the year has to be the Thunder’s 5-4 shootout win on February 28th against the Reading Royals. This game will forever be known to me as “the heart attack” game. In this game, Adirondack would give up the first two goals of the game and at one point, would find their way back into the game courtesy of Matt Salhany.
This was a career game for Salhany as he picked up four goals, including another goal in the shootout. Luck was on the side of the Thunder as the Royals hit the goal post twice in overtime and had possession for most of the extra frame. The full article can be found here.
There are a lot of factors that made this game so special. The main one is the fact that this was only the only shootout win the Thunder would get and one of only two games they would win in overtime or a shootout. Adirondack had beat Reading the weekend before, but that also came courtesy of the Royals not getting into Glens Falls until the wee hours of the morning due to travel. Oh ya, the fire alarm also went off during postgame interviews which may tell you how hot Salhany was that night.
Most Valuable Player
Matt Salhany is my vote for the Most Valuable Player for the Thunder this season. The 26-year-old forward had an amazing year for Adirondack, putting up 26 goals and 25 assists for 51 points and played in 62 of the 63 games for the Thunder this season. He was a force on both ends of the ice and was one of the main goal scorers on a Thunder team that struggled to find the back of the net all season.
He was part of the Thunder’s top line and was an essential part of the power play unit all-season. Salhany’s numbers have gone up ever since he joined the Thunder in 2018 after previous stints with the Reading Royals and South Carolina Stingrays.
Goaltender Of The Year
Adirondack was unable to find a true number one goalie as Eamon McAdam struggled all season, finishing the year with a 15-19-4 record with a 3.25 goals against average, 0.893 save percentage and two shutouts. Evan Cormier, who was bouncing back and forth between Adirondack and Binhampton like a ping-pong ball, went 3-5-6 with a 3.50 goals against average, .885 save percentage and one shutout. The real loss for the Thunder is when Michael McNiven was re-assigned by the Montreal Canadiens. He was 3-1 with two shutouts during his brief time with the Thunder.
With the Thunder having played musical goalies this year with six different guys, I think it’s fair to divvy out a goaltender of the year award. Despite playing in only three games for the Thunder, Joe Murdaca takes home the honour of being the best goaltender this season. He went winless in three games, but two of those games were pushed to either overtime or a shootout.
During those games, he made 88 saves on 99 shots during 194 minutes of action. However, after being released by the Thunder, Murdaca would get signed by Norfolk, but wouldn’t see any action while with the Admirals.
Rookie Of the Year
Curti spent his college career with the Yale Bulldogs before joining the Thunder. In his first season on the Thunder blue-line, Charlie Curti made an impact and made his presence felt. He had the best all-around game and didn’t make many mistakes from the blue-line.
Curti found his way on to the top paring after Micheal Sdao went down early in the year and missed a good chunk of the season with a concussion. The defense was the kryptonite for the Thunder this season as they gave up 202 goals all season and it’s easy to say most of them were high-quality chances by the opposition. Curti was a workforce for the Thunder before getting hurt at the end of the season.
He played in 56 games, racking up 11 goals and 20 assists for 31 points. His 31 points and 11 goals ranked first among blueliners for Adirondack.