GLENS FALLS, NY – The Adirondack Thunder picked up a point for the second straight game on Saturday night, however, it was only one point, as they fell to the Reading Royals 3-2 in overtime. Saturday’s game marks the end of their four-game homestand, as they’ll now embark on a trip to Newfoundland for a three-game series. Adirondack completed the homestand gaining three out of a possible six points. It was the third meeting between the Thunder and Royals, and the first one that counted towards the league standings.
Despite the loss, Adirondack is finally starting to gel on the ice, and the players are getting used to skating together. “When you look at the roster, a lot of us haven’t played together,” said captain Peter MacArthur. “A bunch of us haven’t played in a while and hockey is the hardest game there is next to golf. You can’t just mimic game play and I think we’ve gotten better with every game.” One thing Alex Loh spoke about was how this game was used as a measuring stick. “We obviously knew Newfoundland was going to be good, we fully expected Reading to be good, and we weren’t sure what Worcester was going to look like, and I think next time, we’ll be on the right side.”
Thunder Can’t Find Lead Once Again
Over the past two contests, the Thunder have been finding themselves in situational holes, but have always found a way to respond and keep themselves alive in tight games. That includes Saturday night when they had to dig their way back twice, as Reading opened the scoring at the 6:26 mark. Patrick Bajkov fed Matthew Strome on a quick three-on-two rush, which Strome opted to finish, snapping the puck past Mareks Mitens. As mentioned previously, Adirondack would be quick to respond, as Nick Rivera found a rebound off Patrick Grasso and put the puck in the net to tie game before the end of the frame.
Reading would get lucky on their second goal, as on a quick rush up the ice, Brayden Low donut a pass and put in past Mitens, however, as the replay was displayed on the board, the play appeared to be offside, showing an angle that wasn’t separately reviewed. In the second period, the Thunder were outplayed and didn’t seem to get many chances until later in the frame. At that point, Adirondack saw a chance on the power play and converted, as Grasso fed a wide open MacArthur in front, who would burry the puck, knotting things up at two apiece.
A scoreless third period would bring on a very exciting overtime period, where the two teams exchanged chances until Patrick McNally unloaded on a back-handed shot after deking out Mitens. Racing down the wing, McNally forced Mitens out of place, tucking the puck right under his pad to secure the game-winner. Reading goaltender Pat Nagel would be credited with an assist on the defenseman’s contest-ending goal.
Patrick Grasso and Tyler Irvine are not household names in Adirondack. However, after three games, Grasso leads the Thunder with four points (1G, 3A), and Irvine has collected three points (1G, 2A) in three games. “Just trying to keep things simple, we have a great core of older guys that have been really good for us younger guys,” Irvine said. Head coach Alex Loh also touched on how well the Utica guys have been performing thus far. “It’s been great,” the bench boss said. “All the help we’ve gotten from Utica has been great, every player they’ve sent us has had a big impact so far.” Mareks Mitens, who was also sent down from Utica, made his second straight start, making 23 saves in the losing effort.
The Thunder will now head out to face the Newfoundland Growlers team that remains hard at work to find a permanent home. Despite that, they have yet to drop a game to start the season. “Knowing how good of a team we are” was the response The Puck Authority received when asking MacArthur about the challenges of playing a tough Growlers team that defeated Adirondack on opening night in Glens Falls. Loh, in continuation, mentioned that anytime you can bang out points early in the season, you absolutely have to do so. Adirondack will need to pick up three of a possible six points to stay in the race early in what is turning out to be a very tight North Division.