GLENS FALLS, NY — The Adirondack Thunder hosted the Toledo Walleye for two games in two nights this weekend, the only time the teams face each other this season. If anyone were expecting a typical non-divisional, boring matchup, they would be shocked with what the squads showed both Friday and Saturday nights.
Friday’s game featured a goaltending matchup consisting of former Adirondack Thunder teammates Drew Fielding and J.P. Anderson. The game started out slowly, with nothing but one penalty per team in the opening 19 minutes. Adirondack opened the scoring at the 19:01 mark when Shane Conacher stole the puck from one of the Walleye and put it past Anderson. Toledo’s Shane Berschbach tied it up early in the second period. Thunder forward Brian Ward scored his first of the season 17 seconds later when Mike Bergin found him waiting on the doorstep. Pierre-Luc Mercier scored his first professional goal 1:22 later, putting the Thunder up 3-1. Adirondack continued its second-period domination with goals from Desmond Bergin (the eventual game-winner) and Terrence Wallin, putting the Thunder up 5-1. Things settled down in the third period, with only one penalty and no scoring until the 11:05 mark, when Toledo’s Simon Denis beat Fielding glove-side to bring the score to 5-2. Just over three minutes later, Walleye forward Alden Hirschfeld closed out the scoring, bringing the tally to 5-3 in favor of the home team. Fielding came away with 27 saves in the win.
Saturday’s contest had slightly less scoring, but many more penalties. Adirondack’s Ward opened the scoring at 3:19 of the first period with his second in as many nights, with rookie defenseman Stephen Johnson collecting his first professional point with an assist on the play. Ward was called for tripping shortly after that, and Toledo received a power play (the first of many for both teams). Walleye defenseman Kevin Tansey capitalized on the very first shot of the power play to tie it up. Toledo’s Austen Brassard would begin a long line to the penalty box when he went off for slashing at 11:42. The infractions seemed endless for the rest of the first period and most of the second. Referee Jesse Gour lost control of the game early, resulting in a fight between Adirondack’s Ward and Toledo’s Jenks, as well as 17 minors and a 10-minute misconduct in that span. Once things cooled down a bit, the Walleye were able to pull ahead with goals from Parker Reno and Tyler Barnes. Trailing 3-1 heading into the third period, the Thunder wouldn’t give up. Eric Neiley deflected the puck past Toledo goaltender Pat Nagle just 91 seconds into the frame to keep his team within reach of tying it up. Neither team would score again until the final minute of regulation. With Adirondack’s goaltender Nick Riopel pulled for an extra attacker, Toledo’s Connor Crisp was able to put the final touches on the game with an empty-net goal to bring the final score to 4-2 in favor of the Walleye.
The Thunder continue their weekend Sunday in Pennsylvania versus divisional opponent Reading Royals.