GLENS FALLS, N.Y. – The North Division finals got under way this weekend, with the top two teams facing off in a best-of-seven series. After falling to the Manchester Monarchs 5-3 in game one Friday, the Adirondack Thunder were looking for some payback in game two Saturday night.
They did so with a decisive 5-1 victory over the Monarchs.
Adirondack’s Austin Orszulak picked up the game’s first goal 4:15 into the opening frame. With Monarchs forward Jordan LaVallee-Smotherman in the box for tripping, the Thunder were able to get the puck deep into the offensive zone. Conor Riley battled with Monarchs Rob Hamilton and Michael Doherty for possession. The puck came free, and Adirondack rookie Pierre-Luc Mercier picked it up. Mercier passed to Orszulak, whose shot from the right face off circle beat goaltender Charles Williams, only three seconds after LaVallee-Smotherman had stepped out of the box.
The Thunder went up 2-0 only 3:30 later, when Terrence Wallin picked up his first of the postseason. Wallin skated straight in on Williams, shooting from the exact same spot Orszulak had scored from to snag a goal himself.
Wallin picked up his second of the night at 10:06 of the first period, this one on the power play as Ashton Rome sat for roughing, when he tipped Mathieu Brodeur‘s shot over Williams’ shoulder. The period ended with a comfortable 3-0 lead for Adirondack.
The Thunder weren’t finished yet, and scored two more in the middle frame. The first came at 4:02, again on the power play with Rome in the box, this time for tripping. Desmond Bergin took a shot that hit Ryan Schmelzer on its way to the net. The redirect fooled Williams, and the Thunder were up 4-0.
The final Adirondack goal came at 14:20 of the second period. Defenseman Colton White passed the puck through three opponents in front of the Manchester net, and connected perfectly to his defensive partner, Matthew Spencer, who put the puck into the wide open net. That final goal chased Williams, who made only 10 saves on 15 shots. Williams was replaced by Evan Cowley, who was perfect in relief stopping all eight shots he faced.
The Monarchs were finally able to get on the board at 17:06 of the third period. Zac Lynch took the initial shot that got tipped by Matt Leitner, and Joel Lowry picked up the rebound to end Thunder goaltender Drew Fielding‘s shutout bid late in the game.
Adirondack’s White is having a terrific series thus far, with four assists; James Henry has three. Wallin and Shane Conacher each have two goals, with Conacher picking up an assist as well. Adirondack’s Schmelzer and Brodeur each have a goal and assist, as do Lynch, Sam Kurker, and Alexx Privitera for Manchester.
The teams have a couple days off before returning to action for game three Tuesday night in Glens Falls. Due to scheduling conflicts at Manchester’s SNHU Arena, no games can be played there until next weekend. Game four will take place Thursday in Glens Falls. he teams will head to Manchester for game five on May 6, and if necessary, game six on May 7. If necessary, the teams will return to Glens Falls for game seven on May 9.