GLENS FALLS, NY – After opening the regular season with a pair of games on the road in Worcester, the Adirondack Thunder returned home to host the Railers in the first of a two-game set Saturday. The sellout crowd of 5168 was loud and raucous, but that wasn’t enough to propel the home team to their first win of the season, and Adirondack fell to Worcester 4-2 in what was later described as an “unacceptable” performance.
The Thunder got off to a slow start, icing the puck numerous times in the opening minutes, and in turn were unable to get anything started in the offensive zone. Worcester took advantage of Adirondack’s sluggishness with two early goals.
Following one of those early icing calls (and an ensuing faceoff win by Railers forward Liam Coughlin), Worcester defenseman Ryan MacKinnon fired a shot from the blue line that beat Adirondack netminder Isaac Poulter glove-side.
Only 40 seconds later, Collin Adams roofed one over Poulter’s shoulder for the 2-0 lead.
The Railers goals seemed to ignite something in the Thunder, and they scored two quick goals of their own.
Adirondack forward Nick Rivera skated into the offensive zone with the puck and sailed it around the boards to defenseman Jarrod Gourley, who sent it over to Patrick Grasso. Grasso beat Railers goaltender Henrik Tikkanen five-hole to cut the lead in half.
Gourley followed with a goal of his own only 23 seconds later. Thunder captain Shane Harper passed across the ice to Gourley in the circle. His shot deflected off Tikkanen’s skate and into the net to tie the game at two exactly halfway through the opening period.
The Thunder continued their strong offensive zone presence throughout the remainder of the first, outshooting the Railers 12-6. Both netminders held strong and the teams went into the intermission tied 2-2.
Poulter on the comeback attempt: “I think that really helps, seeing that we can bounce back quickly after getting scored on twice, so that’s really big for us as a team, but now we need to figure out how to keep that going for the rest of the game.”
Any momentum Adirondack possessed in the first period disappeared for the second.
A little over the halfway mark, Worcester regained their lead. Captain Bobby Butler fired the puck toward the Adirondack net, and Blade Jenkins was right on the doorstep to tap it in.
The Railers again extended their lead by two only three minutes later when Brent Beaudoin beat Poulter glove-side. The play began when defenseman Noah Delmas kept the puck in the offensive zone following a failed clearing attempt by Adirondack’s Ryan DaSilva. Beaudoin picked up the puck and sent it over to Nolan Vesey, but he couldn’t get a handle on it and the puck trickled behind the net. Vesey picked it up and passed over to Beaudoin, who beat Poulter from in close for the 4-2 lead.
Unlike the first period two-goal deficit, the Thunder did not rebound from this one.
Neither goaltender allowed another goal the remainder of the night, and the Railers couldn’t take advantage of a Thunder empty net late in the game. The night ended with Worcester’s fourth consecutive victory, three of those coming against Adirondack.
Thunder Head Coach Pete MacArthur shared his thoughts on the team’s overall performance.
“We need to compete. I wouldn’t want to spend my money on a team that’s not going to compete. It’s not about the record, it’s about the character of the guys and their attitude and how they come here and perform. It’s the best job in the world that they have. We need to compete harder.”
Forward Sebastian Vidmar, who led both teams with eight shots on goal and assisted on Gourley’s goal, felt the team was lacking effort.
“I thought we definitely didn’t play good enough, but I also don’t think we should be too worried. There’s a lot of good in there. I think the things we’re lacking we can fix. Effort mostly.”
Perhaps Gourley summed up the loss the best:
“It’s unacceptable to be playing the way we are.”
The teams meet again Sunday afternoon in Glens Falls.
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