GLENS FALLS, NY – Adirondack coach Cail MacLean was known as a shot-blocking machine during his time in a Stingrays uniform. Not surprisingly, the team he now coaches has embraced that style of play. It was timely shot blocking by Thunder skaters and goalie Ken Appleby that allowed the Thunder to hang on and take the 3-1 win.
South Carolina came out flying and controlled the play with the game’s first seven shots. Then off an offensive zone faceoff, Stingrays defenseman Wade Epp found Caleb Herbert open and he made no mistake from above the circle to give South Carolina the 1-0 lead at the 3:50 mark.
The momentum would shift toward Adirondack when Nick Jones took a swing at Thunder forward Ryan Lomberg’s leg after the whistle. Lomberg might have sold the call but got his team the powerplay nonetheless.
Mitchell Heard stormed his way through two defenders and beat Mark Dekanich 40 seconds in to the powerplay to tie the game at 1. Another Adirondack powerplay went for naught and thanks to a couple of solid saves from Dekanich, score remained tied at one after one.
Ryan Lomberg would again impact the game as he picked up a careless pass by Caleb Herbert and roofed the puck past a stunned Dekanich to put the Thunder ahead 2-1. The Stingrays won the initial neutral zone draw but Herbert tried to make a risky one-handed pass to his defender and Lomberg easily cut it off. It was an unfortunate play that masked a pretty good period overall for the Stingrays.
The Stingrays maintained puck possession for the majority of the final period. Adirondack sat back and at times could only manage to ice the puck. Appleby was once again outstanding stopping several shots at close range including a shot by Stephan Vigier alone in front.
Though the Stingrays seemed to have no trouble getting in the zone and setting up, they had a hard time getting the puck through defenders. South Carolina’s offense typically creates from the point but Adirondack shot blocking really limited that option especially in the third period.
With time drifting under 30 seconds to play, the Stingrays would get one last chance to tie the game with the put sitting loose in front of Appleby. Marcus Perrier had a whack at the puck but couldn’t find the back of the net and the Thunder went down and scored on the empty net.
The series will remain in Glens Falls for game four on Thursday at 7 PM. Adirondack, now up 2-1, will look to take a commanding series lead.
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