GLENS FALLS, NY — The Adirondack Thunder dropped both games to the Worcester Railers over the weekend, but the more important story is the one off the ice for the Thunder. It’s even bigger with the team not having played during the 2020-21 season. “Oh, it’s huge,” said Head Coach Alex Loh. “You think about the last year, the last six years, the most meaningful games have come on Stick It to Cancer weekend. You think about the Conacher story, and everything that happened with that, and it’s just an emotional weekend for everyone.”
After Friday night’s game, fans painted messages on the ice, which the ice crew sealed in for the players to skate on during Saturday night’s contest. “It means a whole lot,” said Captain Pete MacArthur. “We just spoke about that in the locker room. We are extremely fortunate to play sports for a living. It’s fun. There are a lot of people in much different situations than us, and we know how much a win would mean to give them some uplift,” he said. “It’s home in our locker room with Cony (Shane Conacher) and Linhart, Ace Carrier, and several others. The importance of tomorrow can’t be stressed enough.”
Thunder Miss Opportunity To Gain Ground In Standings
Adirondack had a chance to gain points in the standings on Friday night, as both Maine and Trois-Rivieres dropped their own games respectively. However, so too did the Thunder. For a second straight game, MacArthur got the Thunder on the board, as he picked up a Shane Harper rebound to give the Thunder an early lead. That lead didn’t last more than two minutes, as Bobby Butler fed Mitchell Balmas in the slot, who beat Brandon Kasel far post to knot the game at one apiece.
Adirondack had one of their strongest second periods, as they saw multiple chances, including two by Shane Harper, one of which came on a two-on-one, and another where he attempted a wrap-around on a wide-open net, however, couldn’t find the back of the net. “Yeah, I mean, it doesn’t go in and they score two shifts in a row, and that’s a pretty big momentum boost” the right-winger said. Worcester took the game’s first lead with one minute left in the second, and then proceeded to double it just 29 seconds later. “It’s just embarrassing at this point,” said Coach Loh. “We have to be better than that. It’s happened so many times that I’ve lost count.”
Things didn’t get any prettier in the third, as Butler netted two goals in the final twenty minutes, allowing the Railers to go up ahead 5-1. While Worcester snapped a three-game losing streak, Brandon Kasel made 32 saves in a losing effort.
Adirondack’s Playoff Hopes Dwindle As They Suffer Weekend Sweep
The Adirondack Thunder suffered another big loss on Saturday night, as they dropped a heartbreaker to the Worcester Railers. Adirondack needed to take this meeting for various reasons, but got off on the wrong foot, as Max Newton got a handle on a loose puck that everyone, including Alex Sakellaropolous, thought he got a glove on, and tapped into the back of the net. “No idea,” the backstop said reflecting on how it squeezed by him. “I thought I had it covered the whole time, but it snuck through my five-hole somehow.”
It’s no surprise that the second period hasn’t been great for the Thunder, and thus they needed a goal before the end of the first. To their delight, that’s exactly what they got, as Billy Jerry fed the puck up the left side, and around the ice, finding the stick of Jack Ryczek, who connected with Sebastian Vidmar, who wired it home with 34 seconds remaining. This gave the Thunder some momentum heading into the middle frame.
Jerry had a solid game having been promoted to the second line to play with Harper and Vidmar. “Yeah, whenever you’re in, you just try to play to the best of your abilities,” the centreman said.
The second was a rather decent one by most accounts for Adirondack, however, it was a Vidmar turnover that ended up on the stick of Butler, who put his team out in front, making it a 2-1 game in favour of Worcester.
The Thunder saw a great chance soon after to level the playing surface, as they were awarded a five-on-three for 39 seconds, however, they struggled to put the advantage to work. Adirondack had issues on Friday night during the final minute of the second, as Nolan Vesey got hooked on a breakaway, which stopped the left-winger in his tracks. The Thunder were able to tie the game halfway through the third, as Ryan Smith wired a shot on goal that barely squeezed by Ellis to knot the game up at two. “We were just really focused on getting pucks deep and getting bodies to the net,” the forward said. “Coach [Alex Loh] really stressed that high tip after the second period, and Ryczek made a nice pass, and I just tipped it in.”
Smith saw another great chance to win the tilt in the final minute, being fed by MacArthur on a wide open net, to which he couldn’t finish on account of Ellis’ athleticism. Sending the game to sudden-death overtime, Anthony Repaci needed just over a minute to tally the winner for the Railers. Unable to hold it together for Adirondack, Sakellaropoulos turned over 30 shots in the losing effort.