MANCHESTER, NH – The Adirondack Thunder and Manchester Monarchs faced off in game three of their North Division semifinal series Wednesday night after the Monarchs had taken the first two games by scores of 4-2 and 6-1.
Manchester forward Drake Rymsha opened the scoring at 14:52 of the first period. Adirondack goaltender Evan Cormier made the initial save on Rymsha’s backhander, but the rebound got thrown back toward the net. The puck made its way through bodies in front and back to Rymsha, who blasted it into the open net to give his team the game’s first advantage. Former Adirondack forward Pierre-Luc Mercier picked up an assist, as did Michael Doherty. That was the lone goal of the opening frame, and the Monarchs headed into the second period leading 1-0.
The first half of the second period belonged to Thunder forward Cullen Bradshaw, who scored two power-play goals in less than five minutes to take the lead. On his first goal, Bradshaw tipped in a shot from Peter MacArthur. Rookie defenseman Jake Linhart also picked up an assist on that goal.
MacArthur picked up another primary assist on Bradshaw’s second goal. Adirondack’s alternate captain took the initial shot, and Bradshaw beat Manchester goaltender Charles Williams on the rebound. Rookie forward John Edwardh picked up the secondary assist.
Adirondack’s lead was short-lived, however, as Doherty tied it up only 1:36 later. Cormier stopped Sam Kurker‘s backhander, but lost the puck between his legs. Doherty then rushed in and poked it home to make it two all. Tim Shoup picked up the other assist.
Neither team could get on the scoreboard again in regulation, and the two teams would head to overtime for the first time this series.
It only took 6:17 of the extra session for the home team to close this one out. After a defensive lapse by the Thunder, forward Kevin Dufour was able to skate in and blast the puck past Cormier for the Monarchs victory. Tony Cameranesi and Nic Pierog picked up the assists on the game-winner.
Williams stopped 28 shots in the Monarchs victory, while his counterpart Cormier made 35 saves in the losing effort.
The Monarchs have heavily outscored the Thunder in this series, 13-5. After Saturday’s blowout loss in Glens Falls, Adirondack head coach Alex Loh said,
“We’ve got to figure out a way to score, and keep theirs out of the net.”
Though the Thunder did a much better job of reducing the goals against, they still didn’t score enough to win. To avoid elimination Friday, Adirondack will have to find a way to score more than two goals, with an emphasis on even-strength scoring.
It’s important to note that these two teams split the regular season series of 12 games and finished within one point of each other in the North Division standings, so it is surprising that a series which should have been evenly matched has been all but that. The third game heading to overtime is more what was expected, so it will be interesting if this will carry over to the rubber match.
The Monarchs will have a chance to sweep the Thunder in game four Friday night. In the first three years Adirondack has been in the league, it has not been swept in any of the six series played. Manchester, however, did sweep the Reading Royals in the first round last season.