The Thunder finished the weekend with a four out of possible six points as they beat the Brampton Beast on Friday night and Reading Royals at home on Sunday. “Coming into the weekend we wanted six out of the six points and we honestly think we played good enough to get all six”, said Conor Riley. Head coach Alex Loh added, “We need four out of six every weekend at least to stay in the playoff race.”
Friday Night Vs Brampton
The Adirondack Thunder started off their weekend series on the right track as they picked up a 6-1 win over the visiting Brampton Beast. There is no question that the feeling in the locker room was this is a make it or break it weekend. However, Adirondack looked sluggish in the opening minutes which led to Nathan Todd finding a puck that was batted up in the air then put in by Todd to give the Thunder a 1-0 lead.
It would be John Edwardh and Matt Salhany who would lead the Thunder on Friday as Edwardh got them on the board at the 3:59 mark of the second after beating two Thunder defensemen and then falling down while putting the puck past Alex Dubeau. This would tie the game up at one and ultimately giving the Thunder momentum which they would carry for the rest of the game. It would take Adirondack only 3:31 to get the lead as Matt Salhany ripped one past Dubeau which put the Thunder out front with the lead. John Edwardh would take tips from Salhany and score from almost the exact same spot at the 11:34 mark of the second period.
Fireworks would erupt towards the end of the second period as Connor Riley was given a ten-minute misconduct for continuing the altercation. Nikita Popugaev’s roughing call at the end of the second frame would have the Thunder starting the third period short-handed which would lead to Matt Salhany scoring a goal on the breakaway. The goal, which he scored just 1:33 into the third period, would give Adirondack a 4-1 lead over the Brampton Beasts.
It would be the other side of special teams that would give the Thunder a 5-1 lead as Mike Szmatula would take a slap-shot that would easily beat Andrew D’Agostini on the power play. John Edwardh would finish off his hat-trick at the 15:03 mark to finish out what would be a 6-1 victory by Adirondack. When asked if he was happy to beat Salhany in the hat-trick race Edwardh said, “As long as we got the win it doesn’t matter. It may not be the most attendance-wise, but it’s one of the loudest buildings in the league”, said Edwardh.
Eamon McAdam picked up his 13th win of the season and got two of the three starts during the Thunder’s Southern Swing. “It feels, you always wanna get more action and it helps you improve your game”, said McAdam who finished the night with 24 saves.
BRM: 8:28 Todd (11) from Nigro and Sparks (PP)
ADK: 3:59 Edwardh (14) from Pierro-Zabotel
ADK: 7:30 Salhany (19) unassisted
ADK: 11:34 Edwardh (15) from Salhany and Summers
ADK: 1:33 Salhany (20) from Nazarian and Thompson (SH)
ADK: 6:51 Szmatuala (19) from Larsson and Curti (PP)
ADK: 15:03 Edwardh (16) from Thompson
Saturday Night Vs Maine
So Adirondack decided to start the same way as Friday night by allowing the first goal as Maine’s Conner Bleackley was given credit on a goal that went off Charlie Curti’s stick and through the wicked’s of Eamon McAdam who faced 19 shots in the opening frame. However, along with Maine getting the opening goal the first period also brought a lot of physical play led by Thunder defencemen Micheal Sdao. “It’s what we expected, close game, tight-checking, they had their chances they capitalized on them, we didn’t”, said Sdao.
The Mariners would add an insurance marker in the third as Alex Kile was stopped on his first attempt but was left all alone in front of the net and was able to find the back of the net to make it 2-0. Adirondack wouldn’t go quietly as a Szmats Attack by Mike Szmatuala would go off LaCouvee’s back and into the net at the 11:09 mark of the third period. The Thunder finished the night with a total of 43 shots on goal. “It’s one of those games where I think we deserved better”, said Thunder forward Mike Szmatula.
Eamon McAdam would continue his strong play in net as he made 26 of 28 saves in Saturday’s loss, but will look to find the win column on Sunday against a Royals team that he’s played well against this season.
MNE: 18:27 Bleackley (8) from McNicholas
Second Period: No Scoring
MNE: 2:55 Kile (16) from Nuttle and Sturtz
ADK: 11:09 Szmatula (20) from Curti
The Adirondack Thunder needed this afternoon’s game to stay within striking distance of the Brampton Beast and Maine Mariniers for that final playoff spot. Ludvig Larsson would put the Thunder on the board on the power play as he would find the Connor Riley rebound in front. It was a strong first period for the Thunder who would outshoot the Royals 15-3 and would have a ton of momentum heading into the second.
Reading would get on the board the same way the Thunder would be as a power play goal by Rob Michel who would catch McAdam moving the wrong way and put it into the empty side of the net. Kelly Summers and the Thunder would respond 1:29 seconds later as Summers would fire a shot past Felix Sandstrom to make it a 2-1 game.
Despite killing off a five-on-three power play by the Royals, Adirondack would once again lose their lead as Frank DiChiara would catch McAdam while he was down and tie up the game for Reading. It would be a Matt Salhany goal that would be the difference-maker as he would turn around and find the top corner of the net and make it 3-2 Thunder. Connor Riley would add a short-handed goal and a nice solo effort to make it 4-2.
Blake Thompson would add an empty-net goal to make it 5-2 Thunder and his sister and mom were in attendance. “It was awesome, my sister flew in from England and hasn’t gotten to see me play for a while”, said Thompson after the game.
Eamon McAdam who faced 84 shots in the three-game weekend as the only active goaltender on the roster. “It was three solid games”, said the Thunder netminder. McAdam also mentioned that before this season, he’s never played three games in three days.
When asked about the five-on-three kill and the impact that had for both teams respectively, head coach Alex Loh responded saying, “Oh that was massive, that’s such a momentum shift for both teams, you can get that killed off right off the bat and go to work from there. Some of the calls were interesting again and it’s one of those thing you have to play through and keep going.”
Side Note: When asked about the Batman Jerseys Head Coach Alex Loh said, “Those were fine, They’re the best you can ask for when it comes to specialty jerseys.”
ADK: 6:38 Larsson (4) from Riley and Salhany (PP)
REA: 5:24 Michel (5) from Strome and Swavely (PP)
ADK: 6:53 Summers (8) from Nazarian and Pierro-Zabotel
REA: 3:32 DiChiara (18) from Swavely and Knodel (PP)
ADK: 11:39 Salhany (21) from Thompson and Summers
ADK: 13:03 Riley (7) unassisted (SH)
ADK: 18:43 Thompson (2) unassisted (EN)