GLENS FALLS, NY – The Adirondack Thunder had not won a game since December 4, when they picked up a 3-2 victory over the Toledo Walleye. The winless streak spanned 11 games, including seven one-goal games, three overtime losses, and three shootout losses. The Thunder finally ended their skid Saturday night, and did so in a big way with a 6-2 rout over the Reading Royals.
Forwards Matt Salhany and James Henry both scored power play goals in the opening frame to give the Thunder a 2-0 lead heading into the second period.
Henry netted another in the second, and Casey Pierro-Zabotel and Mike Szmatula each added goals of their own to give Adirondack a stunning five-goal lead heading into the final frame.
Newcomer Ludvig Larsson extended the lead to 6-0 early in the third period, chasing Reading goaltender Felix Sandstrom from his net. Sandstrom left with only 14 saves on the night. Kirill Ustimenko replaced him and was perfect, stopping all four shots he faced.
Royals forward Trevor Gooch ended Eamon McAdam‘s shutout bid at 9:53 of the third, and Garrett Mitchell added another for Reading just over five minutes later. McAdam ended the night with 38 saves.
The victory was a huge confidence boost for the Thunder and especially McAdam, who was on a five-game losing streak.
“any time you get on a bit of a losing skid, you need something to turn the tides. and once things get rolling, you kind of get that feeling. you could see it up and down the lineup, guys kind of got that feeling, and kind of got that swagger back. I think it was pretty huge, and I’m looking forward to seeing if we can carry it over again.”
Henry finished the night with four points (two goals and two assists). He credited the fans for helping the team pull out the big win.
“We knew that there were games we were playing well that we were losing. You just kind of find a way, find a way, find a way, keep staying positive, and you can kind of feed off the fans. they were awesome tonight and the last few games. those things are big for us. the energy…it went a long way, and that definitely helped us tonight.”
Salhany, who had a career best five points (a goal and four assists) on the night, spoke positively about both his teammates and the pace of play falling into place.
“we knew if we played the right way and executed the right way that we’d come out on top. sometimes it all falls the right way, and that was one of those nights. it speaks highly of the people I’m playing with here; they’re great players.”
Goaltender Evan Cormier was reassigned from the Binghamton Devils on December 28, leaving Joe Murdaca the odd man out in net. Murdaca was released by the Thunder, as was forward Dwyer Tschantz. Forward Ludvig Larsson was also reassigned by the Devils, and defenseman Kelly Summers was released from his contract with Binghamton, returning to Adirondack.
Adirondack will have a home-and-home, two-game series with the Brampton Beast. The Thunder will travel across the border for a game in Brampton Monday night. The teams will then head to Glens Falls for the New Year’s Eve game Tuesday. The Thunder hold a 2-2-0-1 record against the Beast so far this season.
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