GLENS FALLS, NY – The Adirondack Thunder and Norfolk Admirals faced off for the fifth and final time this season on Sunday afternoon. Heading into Sunday’s game, each team had won twice in the season series. With the Admirals securely in the basement of the North Division, a win would only mean bragging rights, but for the Thunder, a win could potentially bring them to within two points of the Trois-Rivières Lions and fifth place in the divisional standings. By the end of regulation Sunday, Adirondack was facing their seventh overtime session of the 2022-23 season. By the 5:45 mark in the extra session, the Thunder were suffering their fifth overtime loss, a 4-3 decision.
The game got off to a much different start from Saturday’s game between these same teams. Saturday night featured a strong start from the Admirals, in which they scored three goals in the first period. Sunday it was the Thunder with the first-period lead, courtesy of a Nick Rivera rebound goal that left several players sprawled on the ice, including Rivera and teammate Ryan Smith, who had taken the initial shot.
Adirondack extended its lead to 2-0 in the second period with Grant Jozefek‘s seventh of the season. The puck changed sticks so many times, Norfolk netminder Tomas Vomacka probably felt like a bobblehead trying to follow it before Jozefek backhanded it in.
Later in the second, the Admirals were awarded a 5-on-3 power play and began to mount their comeback. After scoring twice in Saturday’s game, Danny Katic scored again Sunday to get his team on the board. The puck was just behind Thunder goaltender Isaac Poulter, and Katic and Mathieu Roy kept poking at it until it crossed the goal line. Katic now has points in his last seven games.
The Admirals took their first lead of the day just over two minutes into the third period when Ryan Foss picked up a rebound and beat a prone Poulter. Tanner Schachle picked up an assist, his first point in his father Trent‘s old barn, one night after his first pro game in Glens Falls.
Neither team scored for the remainder of regulation, and they headed into overtime. It was the seventh time Adirondack needed extra time and the fifth time for Norfolk. Prior to Sunday, the Thunder were 1-4-1 when tied after regulation, while the Admirals were 1-1-2.
Roy won it for Norfolk 5:45 into overtime when he slid the puck between Poulter’s legs.
Sebastian Vidmar appeared to be injured six minutes into the third period, and went to the Adirondack bench, then eventually down the tunnel to the locker room. He never returned.
Four players had a multi-point night, two from each side. Adirondack’s Rivera and Broughman and Norfolk’s Katic and Roy all picked up a goal and assist each. In the season series, Thunder forward Patrick Grasso led the way with seven points (6G, 1A), while Rivera had six points (2G, 4A). Several players had four points: Jozefek (2G, 2A) and Vidmar (1G, 3A) for Adirondack; Katic (3G, 1A), Roy (2G, 2A), and Todd Burgess (4A) for Norfolk.
Norfolk picked up points in four of the five games against the Thunder, going 3-1-0-1 in the series.
Both teams had goals initially waved off and reviewed, with referee Austin O’Rourke sticking with the call on the ice in both cases. Both were late in the game, with the first coming halfway through the third period and the other coming in overtime.
The Thunder wore specialty jerseys Sunday, with a Double Dare theme, complete with green slime oozing out of them. The jerseys were auctioned off throughout the weekend, with a couple going pretty high, captain Shane Harper‘s at $875 and Yanick Turcotte‘s at $800.
Bergin the Bench Boss
Assistant Coach Mike Bergin took over head coaching duties for the second time this season with Head Coach Peter MacArthur out for personal reasons. Bergin had also filled in for MacArthur during the head coach’s suspension in December. Joe Paterson acted as assistant in both games.
Picking Up Points
Beginning with December 23’s 7-0 annihilation of the Worcester Railers, the Thunder have picked up at least one standings point each of the team’s last five games, and in seven of the last eight, going 5-1-2-0 during that span.
Bergin: “For the most part, we’re doing the right things right now and it’s showing on the scoreboard. We’ve just got to keep that consistency going, keep the practice habits up, keep showing up right from puck drop, and we’re going to keep winning games.”
Poulter: “We’re playing some good hockey, there’s obviously some things we need to fix up a little bit, but I think we’re doing a lot of good things out there. We should be happy with the effort we had for the last five games for sure.”
The Thunder (10-15-5-1) next head to Pennsylvania to take on the Reading Royals (20-9-1-0) Friday and Saturday, then will have a few days off for the All-Star Classic in Norfolk, where defenseman Jarrod Gourley will represent Adirondack.
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