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Adirondack Thunder

Adirondack Thunder

Thunder End Skid with Big Weekend in Quebec

Thunder End Skid with Big Weekend in Quebec

TROIS-RIVIÈRES, Que. – After opening the season with four consecutive games against the rival Worcester Railers, the Adirondack Thunder finally saw a different opponent this weekend when they traveled north of the border to take on the Trois-Rivières Lions.  The Thunder came into the series without a single point in the standings.  Adirondack also hadn’t garnered a lead in any of the first four games.  That all changed this weekend as the Thunder got off to early leads in both their games, then worked their way to their first standings point, in a 4-3 overtime loss Friday, and their first victory, in a decisive 6-1 rout of the Lions Saturday.

Rookie defenseman Jarrod Gourley gave the Thunder their first lead of the season at 3:31 of the first period Friday.  Colin Long passed the puck to Gourley from the blue line, and Gourley’s slapshot beat Trois-Rivières goaltender Joe Vrbetic for the 1-0 lead.

Later in the period, Lions forward Brennan Saulnier hit Thunder defenseman Jeff Taylor hard into the boards behind the Adirondack net, leaving him in a heap on the ice.  A scrum ensued, resulting in several penalties, including two roughing minors per team, and a boarding major and game misconduct for Saulnier.  Taylor never returned and was later placed on injured reserve.  Saulnier was later fined and suspended for two games.

The Thunder were able to hold the 1-0 lead until 15:28 of the second period, when Nicolas Lariviere wristed a shot past rookie netminder Isaac Poulter to begin the Lions’ comeback.  Less than three minutes later, Ryan Francis faked a shot and instead passed the puck to Pierrick Dubé, who beat Poulter for the 2-1 lead.

The Lions extended their lead early in the third.  Poulter made an initial save on Anthony Beauregard‘s backhanded attempt, but Dubé capitalized on the rebound for his second of the night and the 3-1 lead.

That’s when the Thunder began their comeback.

Xavier Parent sent a beautiful pass sailing to Patrick Grasso, who deflected it midair into the net.  The Lions argued that the puck was hit in with a high stick, but the officials reviewed it and determined it was a good goal.

Adirondack completed the comeback with just over three minutes remaining in regulation.  Shane Harper‘s shot from the faceoff dot was stopped by Vrbetic, but Noah Corson shoveled in the rebound to tie the game 3-3 and force overtime.

Trois-Rivières won it less than two minutes into the extra session when Alex Breton took advantage of Parent’s costly defensive zone turnover, firing the puck past Poulter for the 4-3 win.

Though Adirondack remained winless, there were several positives that could be taken from Friday’s game.  The Thunder held their opponent scoreless for over 35 minutes.  Goaltending was strong, with Poulter making a stellar 40 saves on the night.  And most importantly, the team didn’t quit.  They battled back to force overtime and earn that first standings point.

Adirondack took those positives and turned them into a win Saturday afternoon.

The Thunder scored two goals in the opening frame.  Defenseman Jake Ryczek wristed a shot through traffic past netminder Philippe Desrosiers for the game’s first goal.  The lead was doubled a little over three minutes later when Gourley also took advantage of the traffic in front of the Lions goaltender.

Adirondack extended the lead early in the second period when Grasso lifted the puck over Desrosiers’s shoulder to make it 3-0.

The Lions scored late in the period for their first goal of the game.  Colin Bilek was able to poke the puck in the net after Adirondack goaltender Jake Theut successfully stopped a rebound attempt by Olivier Galipeau.  With the score at 3-1 heading into the second intermission, Trois-Rivières was well within striking distance.

Sebastian Vidmar spoiled any comeback the Lions had in mind, however.  Desrosiers committed to Ryan Smith‘s shot off the crossbar, leaving the other side of the net wide open for Vidmar.  His goal extended the Thunder lead to 4-1.

Adirondack’s lead was extended even further when Long intercepted the puck in front of the Trois-Rivières net and put it past Desrosiers to make it 5-1.  Grasso then sealed the deal with an empty-netter with less than five minutes remaining in the game to make the final score 6-1.

Goals and Shots and Saves, Oh My!

With nine goals on the weekend, Adirondack scored more goals in the two games against Trois-Rivières than in the four against Worcester (eight goals).

Six skaters had a multipoint weekend for the Thunder.  Long had four points (one goal, three assists); Grasso had three goals; Gourley had two goals; and Corson had a goal and two assists.  Ryczek and Vidmar each had a goal and assist.  Dubé (two goals) and Galipeau (three assists) were the only two Lions with more than one point through the two games.

Trois-Rivières registered 82 shots on goal over the weekend.  Adirondack’s netminders combined for 77 saves, including these two.

Special Teams

Friday’s game saw three power play goals.  Adirondack went 2-for-7 with the man advantage, with goals from Grasso and Corson, while Trois-Rivières went 1-for-5, with their goal coming from Dubé.

Saturday’s game featured two shorthanded goals, both from the Thunder (Vidmar, Grasso).

New Face in the Lineup

As a result of Taylor’s injury Friday, the Thunder signed Sherbrooke native Wayne Letourneau ahead of Saturday’s game.  Letourneau contributed immediately, picking up an assist on Gourley’s goal.

Next Up

The Thunder (1-4-1-0) next face the Railers (7-0-0-0) for a two-game set in Glens Falls Friday and Saturday.  As of this writing, Worcester is the only team who has not lost a game.  With two games against the Norfolk Admirals Sunday and Tuesday, the Railers have the potential to ride a nine-game winning streak into the weekend.

Download the Field Pass Hockey app from the iTunes or Google Play stores or follow @FieldPassHockey on Twitter for the latest news on the AHL, ECHL, and SPHL throughout the 2023 season!

    Carrie Roberts covers the Adirondack Thunder for Field Pass Hockey. Follow and interact with her on Twitter @FPHAdkThunder.

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