GLENS FALLS, NY – The ECHL divisional semifinals are set to begin Thursday with a matchup between the South Carolina Stingrays and Orlando Solar Bears. Four matchups, including the Adirondack Thunder and Worcester Railers, begin Friday. The other three matchups have later start dates (Saturday, Sunday, and Monday).
The Adirondack-Worcester series is interesting because it was completely unexpected, right up until the final day of the regular season. The Manchester Monarchs held onto first place in the tough North Division for much of the season. Adirondack took over the first place position a few times, but only temporarily. The Thunder finally overtook the Monarchs for good in the league’s final weekend.
In contrast, the Railers were in the basement of the division for much of the season. Starting in late January, Worcester was finally able to string some wins together, and fought their way out of the basement. The Railers have been 23-8-1-2 since that turning point, and captured fourth place in the division.
Final Regular Season Records:
Adirondack Thunder: 41-24-3-4 (1st in North Division, 3rd in Eastern Conference)
Worcester Railers: 37-27-4-4 (4th in North Division, 6th in Eastern Conference)
Series Schedule (Home Teams in CAPS and all times Eastern:
Game 1 – Friday, April 13 – Worcester at ADIRONDACK 7 pm ET
Game 2 – Saturday, April 14 – Adirondack at WORCESTER 7:05 pm ET
Game 3 – Sunday, April 15 – Adirondack at WORCESTER 5:05 pm ET
Game 4 – Wednesday, April 18 – Worcester at ADIRONDACK 7 pm ET
*Game 5 – Saturday, April 21 – Worcester at ADIRONDACK 7 pm ET
*Game 6 – Monday, April 23 – Adirondack at WORCESTER 7:05 pm ET
*Game 7 – Wednesday, April 25 – Worcester at ADIRONDACK 7 pm ET
* => If Necessary
Season Series Recap:
The Railers have breezed through the season series with an 8-2-2-0 record against the Thunder, although several of those victories came in overtime or a shootout. Adirondack has won both games decided in the five-minute overtime session. Worcester has won all three games that made it to a shootout.
How Adirondack Wins:
Score first. In the season series, the team who scored first won seven of the 12 games played. The five losses all came in overtime or in the shootout. Since shootouts are not used in the ECHL playoffs, any games not decided in regulation continue in overtime sessions until someone scores. (Adirondack has won both regular season games that were decided in overtime.)
How Worcester Wins:
Play goaltender Mitch Gillam as much as possible. Gillam had a record of 23-14-0-2 and earned a league-leading five shutouts during the regular season. Additionally, the rookie netminder went 6-1 against the Thunder.