GLENS FALLS, NY – The Adirondack Thunder ended 2017 on a high note, shutting out the Reading Royals 3-0 on New Year’s Eve. They were looking to continue that momentum into 2018, and they succeeded in a big way, earning seven of a possible eight points during the week (3-0-0-1), and moving to within two points of the first-place Manchester Monarchs for the division lead.
In Adirondack’s first game of the new year, the Thunder came back from a two-goal deficit to defeat the Monarchs in overtime. Jordan LaVallee-Smotherman and Keegan Iverson scored less than a minute apart in the first period to give Manchester a two-goal lead heading into the second period. Only 2:09 into the middle frame, Adirondack’s Shane Conacher scored to cut the deficit in half. Later in the period, Manchester’s David Kolomatis scored to put his team back up by two. Conacher answered right back with his second of the night. Ty Loney scored 1:40 into the third period to tie it up. Neither team would get another tally until Thunder defenseman Desmond Bergin got the game-winner at 1:21 of the overtime session. Adirondack’s top line of Conacher, Loney, and Troy Bourke was involved in all four of their team’s goals. Conacher ended the night with two goals and an assist; Loney had a goal and three assists; Bourke picked up three assists.
The Worcester Railers gave the Thunder their first (and currently only) loss of 2018 on Friday night, but it would take a shootout to do so. Adirondack’s defenseman-turned-forward Conor Riley opened the scoring at 5:25 of the first period. While on the penalty kill, Riley was taken down on his way to the net and was awarded a penalty shot. The puck got past Worcester’s netminder Mitch Gillam and the Thunder had the early 1-0 lead. Later that period, Connor Doherty tied it up for the Railers. Loney put the Thunder back up by one at 6:09 of the second period. Worcester’s Woody Hudson and Jeff Kubiak scored two more within the last four minutes of the period to give themselves the lead for the first time that night. With goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood off the ice for an extra attacker, Adirondack defenseman Mathieu Brodeur managed to tie the game with only 22.8 seconds left on the clock to force overtime. James Henry picked up an assist on that goal, giving him 100 total points as a member of the Adirondack Thunder and making him the current leader in that category. Neither team was able to end it in the extra session, and a shootout was needed. Kellen Jones was the only shooter to score, and the Railers would win it 4-3.
The following night was the first of a home-and-home series with the Brampton Beast. When Loney set up Conacher to put Adirondack on the board only 22 seconds in, the game seemed destined to be just as exciting as the previous two. Things quickly settled down, however, and neither team would find the net again until 18:54 of the second period when David Vallorani tied the game for the Beast. Andrew Radjenovic would get the game-winner for the Thunder at the 3:45 mark of the third period.
The two teams then traveled to Brampton, Ontario for the second game of the home-and-home series. The Thunder got on the board first again, with a goal from rookie forward Pierre-Luc Mercier. Brampton’s Luc-Olivier Blain tied it less than four minutes later. The teams were tied heading into the second period. Adirondack’s Paul Rodrigues was the lone goal-scorer in the middle frame, putting the Thunder up 2-1 heading into the third. After Beast forward Chris Leveille tied it back up at the 8:17 mark, Adirondack thundered back with goals from Brian Ward and Mercier to give them a 4-2 victory. Mercier ended the night with two goals, bringing his total on the season to 10; Rodrigues had a goal and assist; Henry picked up a pair of assists; and Conacher extended his point streak to five games with an assist (four goals, four assists in that timeframe).
The Thunder earned seven of a possible eight points over the week, bringing them to within two points of the North Division leader Manchester Monarchs. The team continues on the road Wednesday in Wheeling, WV and Friday in Reading, PA before returning to Glens Falls for Adirondack’s annual Pink in the Rink night on Saturday.