GLENS FALLS, N.Y. – The Adirondack Thunder had a perfect opportunity to take a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Manchester Monarchs with a win Thursday night. After losing game one, Adirondack won the next two, outscoring their opponent 10-4. The Thunder had all the momentum heading into game four.
It was the final game in their stretch of four straight on home ice for Adirondack. With the next two in Manchester, it was imperative the Thunder win this game.
Instead, the Monarchs tied the series at two games apiece and will now own home-ice advantage.
As has been the case in every game for the Thunder this postseason, the first team to score went on to win the game. It only took 5:23 to predict the winner in game four. Jordan LaVallee-Smotherman, held without a single point in the first three games of the series, scored first Thursday. Matt Leitner got the play started when he fought his way into the Adirondack zone. He passed cross-ice to Zac Lynch, who slid the puck to LaVallee-Smotherman, waiting to tap it past Thunder goaltender Drew Fielding.
The line of Leitner, Lynch, and LaVallee-Smotherman wasn’t finished yet. The trio scored again in the second period. LaVallee-Smotherman skated into the offensive zone and sent a pass across the blue line to Lynch. Lynch got the puck up to Leitner, who was skating straight toward the net and was able to beat Fielding.
Leitner picked up his third point of the night when he sent a pass from the corner directly to the stick Colton Saucerman, skating in from the blue line. Saucerman flipped the puck over Fielding for the 3-0 lead. It was his first point of the series.
Lynch and Leitner have hurt the Thunder the most this series, with a combined 11 points. Lynch has a goal and four assists, while Leitner has a goal and five assists. Both skaters have tallied at least one point in each of the first four games of the series.
Manchester’s Evan Cowley only had to make 18 saves on his way to his first pro playoff shutout. The netminder only faced two shots in the third period.
The two teams next meet Sunday in Manchester for game five. Game six will be Monday, also in Manchester. If necessary, game seven be in Glens Falls.