GLENS FALLS, N.Y. – The Adirondack Thunder are set to begin their fourth season in the ECHL on October 13, against a new opponent, the Maine Mariners. Fans will see many new faces this season, with several talented rookies joining the lineup, including Nikolas Olsson, Jake Linhart, Shane Eiserman, and Jakob Reichert. There will be a handful of skaters returning from last season’s team, most notably Shane Conacher, Brian Ward, James Henry, and Desmond Bergin. There will also be a few familiar faces returning to the team after spending the 2017-18 season with other teams (Peter MacArthur, Dennis Kravchenko, and Cullen Bradshaw).
Nuts and Bolts:
2017-18 Record: 41-24-3-4 (1st in North Division/3rd in Eastern Conference)
Playoffs: Eliminated by Florida Everblades in Eastern Conference finals
Record vs. North Division: 29-19-2-4
Record vs. Eastern Conference: 36-21-3-4
Goals For Per Game: 3.24, 11th in ECHL
Goals Against Per Game: 3.07, 11th in ECHL
Power Play: 56/293 (19.1%), 4th in ECHL
Penalty Kill: 40/240 (83.3%), 14th in ECHL
Coaching Changes: With the departure of 2017-18 head coach Brad Tapper, former associate coach Alex Loh has taken over at the helm. This will be Loh’s first experience as head coach. He is joined by former Adirondack Red Wing Pete Dineen as associate coach. The Dineen name should be familiar to Adirondack fans, as Pete’s father, Bill, was the head coach of the Red Wings back in the 1980s.
“Affiliation” Changes: The New Jersey and Binghamton Devils remain Adirondack’s primary affiliates. However, the Thunder are losing their secondary affiliates, Tampa Bay Lightning and Syracuse Crunch, who have become the primary affiliates of the Orlando Solar Bears. During the 2017-18 campaign, the Crunch assigned a total of seven players to Adirondack, most notably forwards Shane Conacher, Ty Loney, Troy Bourke, and goaltender Nick Riopel. Conacher, Loney, and Bourke had a combined 129 points on the season. Riopel picked up nine wins before he and Loney were traded midseason. Riopel retired during the offseason, while Loney went overseas.
Goaltending: Due to injuries, both New Jersey and Binghamton began their regular seasons carrying three goaltenders apiece. That left Adirondack without their only signed goaltender, Colton Phinney, heading into training camp. The Thunder were able to find two netminders (Alex Sakellaropoulos and Ian Sylves) to fill the void until a goaltender is sent down. Sakellaropoulos and Sylves each gave up six goals against the Reading Royals in their preseason matchups.
Peter MacArthur: MacArthur, a Clifton Park, NY native, served as the Thunder captain for parts of two seasons before signing with the Allen Americans last summer. His 2017-18 season was shortened due to injury, but he appears healthy and fully prepared to lead the Thunder once again.
Matias Cleland: Cleland, a defenseman, put up three points (a goal and two assists) in the two preseason games against the Royals, his former team.
Jordan McNaughton: McNaughton, a rookie defenseman, looked solid defensively in the preseason. Like Cleland, McNaughton contributed a goal and two assists in the two games against Reading. The two were tied for the team lead in points during the preseason.
Gone But Not Forgotten:
Mike Bergin: Bergin had been a mainstay with the Thunder since the team’s move to Glens Falls in 2015, serving as captain last season in MacArthur’s absence. Due to injury, Bergin was held to only 133 games in his three seasons with Adirondack and has now retired to become an associate coach at Skidmore College.
Terrence Wallin: Wallin has also played for the Thunder in each of their first three seasons. The 2017-18 season was the best of his pro career, racking up 50 points in 59 games for the Thunder, and also earning a call-up by the Binghamton Devils of the AHL. Wallin was traded to the Maine Mariners in exchange for Matias Cleland.
Mathieu Brodeur: Like Bergin and Wallin, Brodeur played for the Thunder in each of their first three seasons. Brodeur will forever be remembered as the player who put an end to the triple-overtime round two playoff game in Manchester. His goal not only won the game, but also the series, for the Thunder. Brodeur is now playing in France.
Sin Bin Swami Sez:
The 2018-19 season is beginning exactly how 2017-18 began, with two preseason losses to the Reading Royals. The Thunder went on to lead their division, beating out the Manchester Monarchs in a battle for first place last season. I think with a few adjustments along the way, Adirondack will once again finish at the top of the North Division.
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