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Thunder Lose Harper in Loss to Growlers

Thunder Lose Harper in Loss to Growlers

GLENS FALLS, NY – The Adirondack Thunder hosted the Newfoundland Growlers for the third time this season Friday night.  The teams had faced off in a two-game set back in November, with Adirondack picking up hard-fought regulation wins in both contests.  This game was about as different as they come, with the Growlers coming out on top by a final score of 5-1.  It was a tough night for the Thunder, as they lost much more than the game.

The game began like most Adirondack games this season, with the opponent getting on the board first.  Zach Solow passed the puck from one offensive zone faceoff dot to the other, and Zach O’Brien continued his dominance of the Thunder with his eleventh goal of the season.  Although that was O’Brien’s first goal of the season against the Thunder, he has been a thorn in their sides in previous seasons with twelve.

The first period featured a pair of Zachs teaming up for a goal, and the second period featured the Jordans.  Jordan Escott extended the Newfoundland lead less than four minutes into the frame with his first pro goal.  Former Adirondack forward Jordan Kaplan made a nifty move to get past defenseman Matt Stief before backhanding a pass to Escott for the 2-0 lead.

A little over four minutes later, the Thunder experienced their biggest loss of the night (and arguably the entire season) when Growlers defenseman Chris Martenet laid a hit on forward Shane Harper.  It was an awkward hit that left Adirondack’s captain and top point-producer in a heap for several minutes before being helped off the ice.  While Harper was being tended to, Shawn Weller came off the Adirondack bench to go after Martenet.  And go he did, unleashing a fury of punches that took down the 6’7″ Martenet.  At the end of all this, Harper was eventually helped off the ice, and Martenet and Weller were both tossed.

Play eventually resumed, and a little over a minute later, so did the Newfoundland scoring.  Brennan Kapcheck skated into the offensive zone and sent a behind-the-back pass to Pavel Gogolev, who rifled the puck past defender Jarrod Gourley and netminder Francis Marotte for the 3-0 lead less than halfway through the second period.

Adding insult to injury, forward Brandon Kruse added yet another Growlers goal later in the period.  Keenan Suthers sent a pass from behind the net straight to Kruse skating in on Marotte.

The Growlers got their fifth straight less than seven minutes into the final frame when Michael Joyaux‘s shot from the blue line snuck through traffic and past Marotte.

A couple minutes later, Thunder defenseman Jeff Taylor broke Keith Petruzzelli‘s shutout bid when his shot made it through traffic and past the Growlers goaltender.

Although losing the game was tough for the Thunder, losing Harper to what is likely a season-ending (possibly even career-ending) injury is even tougher.  The team was already without forwards Noah Corson (leave of absence) and Patrick Grasso (Utica Comets), and will now be without Weller for the duration of his upcoming suspension and without Harper indefinitely.

Thunder Head Coach Peter MacArthur on Harper’s injury: “I hope he plays hockey again.”

The Thunder did claim forward Brandon Schultz off waivers from the Norfolk Admirals earlier Friday, but he won’t be available until next week, so it’s looking like the team will have to make do for the time being.

Taylor: “I think guys will step up.  I mean this is a regular thing in this league, where you lose players throughout the year, it’s nothing that these guys haven’t dealt with.”

Go-go-Going on a Hot Streak

Since being returned to the Growlers from the Toronto Marlies back in November, Gogolev has been on a tear.  The talented Russian forward has played in all ten of Newfoundland’s games in that time and has picked up at least one point in nine of them, for a total of 17 points (five goals, twelve assists).  He had three points Friday against Adirondack (one goal, two assists).

Suspensions Upcoming

Weller received penalties for instigating and fighting after leaving the bench, while Martenet received majors for fighting and an illegal check to the head.  Weller’s leaving the bench and Martenet’s check to the head not only got the two players tossed from the remainder of Friday’s game but will also lead to lengthy suspensions.

MacArthur on Weller’s leaving the bench to fight Martenet: “I don’t mind that he did that.”

Next Up

As the Growlers (18-5-1-0) move on to Massachusetts to face the Worcester Railers (16-7-1-0) Saturday and Sunday, the Thunder (5-12-3-1) will remain at home to take on the Maine Mariners (10-10-1-0) in a two-game set, also Saturday and Sunday.  Maine swept Adirondack in a three-in-three a couple weeks ago.

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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