The Adirondack Thunder won their second straight game on Wednesday night with a victory over the Maine Mariners as they got two key players back in the lineup. Captain James Henry, who returned from injury, and Gabriel Verpaeist, who was serving a five-game suspension, both returned to the starting formation.
Adirondack’s special team’s were a big part of tonight’s 5-2 win as their first goal came short-handed by Canadian defensemen Casey Pierro-Zabotel. “It’s huge when we get our first goal down a man,” said Pierro-Zabotel when talking about the goal after the game. The Thunder would pick up their next goal with the man advantage as Antoine Waked scored his first of the season.
The second period was a struggle for Adirondack as they managed only three shots on goal, but Michael McNiven would keep them in the game. The Thunder would find their momentum again in the third as James Henry and Matt Salhany would score less than a minute apart to start off the third period. Hayden Verbeek, who leads the team with a goal and four assists through five games, added a goal and an assist as part of the Wednesday night victory. “It’s nice to get my first goal even though it was an empty netter,” said Verbeek when asked about finding the back of the net.
In his first game back from injury, James Henry had a goal and an assist on the night. “It’s good to get the legs moving again and get back on the ice tonight,” said Henry after the game. Henry returns as the captain of the Thunder and will look to continue to produce for Adirondack as the season continues.
Michael McNiven got his first start in net for the Adirondack Thunder since October 12th when he gave up five goals against the Worcester Railers during an outing between the pipes on the road. On Wednesday, however, was a completely different story as McNiven was the second star of the game, making 24 of 26 saves in the 5-2 victory. “I believe we still have two solid goaltenders,” said Head Coach Alex Loh.
Head coach Alex Loh mentioned that he plans to play whoever is hot and said, “McNiven earned his start tonight,” when asked why McAdam didn’t get the start between the pipes. McAdam had won his previous game and owns a 2.00 goals-against average in three starts.
With the 5-2 win on Wednesday, the Thunder move into first place in the Eastern Division, one point ahead of the Newfoundland Growlers. Adirondack will take the ice again on Friday night at home against Worcester before beginning a three-game road trip, making stops in Brampton, Worcester and Reading.
ADK: 7:01 SH Pierro-Zabotel (1) from Verbeek
ADK: 14:34 Waked (1) from Szmatula and Henry
MNE: 13:36 Elmer (1) from Savage
ADK: 0:47 Henry (1) from Curti
ADK: 1:32 Salhany (1) from Pierro-Zabotel and Riley
MNE: 12:43 Dmowski (1) (Unassisted)
ADK: 17:22 Verbeek (1) assisted by Payne (1)
According to the Adirondack Thunder organization, James Henry’s goal in the third period of Wednesday night’s game was the 200th point of his Adirondack Thunder career.