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Adirondack Thunder

Adirondack Thunder

Thunder Rookies Shine in Blowout Over Railers

Thunder Rookies Shine in Blowout Over Railers

GLENS FALLS, NY – Santa Claus was in attendance Friday night when the Adirondack Thunder hosted the Worcester Railers for their final matchup before the Christmas break.  It was the seventh time the rivals had faced off this season, with the Railers winning the first four games in regulation.  The Thunder finally found some success against them in November, picking up a win on Veterans’ Day and falling in a shootout the following night.  Despite a recent five-game losing streak, Adirondack had to be riding that confidence going into the latest game.

Perhaps it was that confidence, or perhaps it was some Christmas magic, but whatever it was, the Thunder continued that success against the Railers Friday night, and they did so in a big way, exploding for six goals in the final frame to send their opponent home with an embarrassing 7-0 loss.

Thunder forward Grant Jozefek got what would be the game-winner only 7:19 into the game after tipping in a shot from fellow rookie Xavier Parent.

Thunder Head Coach Peter MacArthur on Jozefek: “Jozefek drove eight hours through the night to meet us in Quebec [in November].  He played four minutes that game, and he played 15 the next, and now he’s arguably our best forward.”

“He does a lot.  He’s the kind of guy where he makes a lot of plays when you’re watching live, but when you watch the video, he actually made twice as many as you thought he did live.

After that one goal allowed by Worcester’s Henrik Tikkanen, both he and Adirondack’s Isaac Poulter remained perfect throughout the remainder of the first period and all of the second.

It wasn’t until the third period that the Cool Insuring Arena truly came alive.  Ryan Smith doubled the Thunder lead less than six minutes into the stanza after picking up a loose puck just outside the Railers’ zone, skating it in and roofing it over Tikkanen’s shoulder.

MacArthur on Smith: “I don’t know the other teams’ personnel that well, but he’s probably top five penalty-killing forwards in the whole league, which is really really important.  We’re like 87, 88% on the PK.  Tonight he started as the extra, but he was still first over the boards PK and he’s on the power play.  He’s very valuable, and it’s awesome that he scored, but what he does is so important for us, it’s essential.”

A little over 90 seconds later, Ryan DaSilva found Parent, who backhanded the puck past Tikkanen for the 3-0 lead.  At that point, the crowd was going wild, the Thunder had all the momentum, and the victory was all but guaranteed.

Five minutes later, Sebastian Vidmar put the game out of reach when he deflected DaSilva’s shot into the net.

It was DaSilva and Vidmar pairing up for Adirondack’s fifth goal as well.  Vidmar passed to DaSilva, who threw the puck on net, and in the ensuing scramble, Vidmar was able to poke it home.

Then it was the Parent show, with the rookie netting two goals within 77 seconds to close out the scoring at 7-0.  The first came off a shot from the right faceoff circle that appeared to be deflected off a Worcester defender’s stick.  The final goal resulted from a pass from behind the net by newly signed Travis Broughman that found Parent out in front.

Five players had a multi-point night: Parent had four points (three goals, one assist); Jozefek (one goal, two assists) and DaSilva (three assists) each had three points; and Vidmar (two goals) and Smith (one goal, one assist) had two points apiece.

Poulter had a strong night in net for the Thunder.  The rookie only had to make 21 saves, but a few of them were huge saves that kept the Railers off the scoreboard, preserving not only his first ECHL win, but also his first pro shutout.

Poulter on his saves: “It was kind of two-on-one, they made a pass across.  My feet were a little bit too wide, so I had to kind of just go for it, but he draped it right in front of me so I could kind of try to grab it with my glove.  And Jarrod [Gourley] did a great job icing it, so that was awesome.”

“The one in the first, after the breakaway, I don’t know how that didn’t go in, but it didn’t, so I’m thankful for that.”

Additional Quotes:

Jozefek: “I think that all the lines were rolling at the same time, and we kind of haven’t had that in this little stretch here.  I think everybody was kind of building off each other shift after shift.”

Poulter: “That was a great game [Friday], we were clicking on all cylinders, I think we really wanted to get the [losing] streak over with and get a win in before the break, which was huge for the team right now.  It’s what we needed.”

Special Teams

Adirondack’s penalty kill has been strong all season, and Friday was no exception.  With the shutout, the Thunder improved to 86.3% on the penalty kill, good for fourth in the league.

The power play has been a much different story.  Heading into the game, the Thunder were tied with the Toledo Walleye for 17th in the league at 19%.  Adirondack went 3-for-7 with the man-advantage Friday, bringing the team to 20.9%.

Two of those power play goals (Vidmar’s and Parent’s second goals) came from a Reece Newkirk double-minor for high sticking in the third period.

A Regulation Rarity

There was a rare 4-on-3 power play for the Thunder in the first period, though they did not capitalize on it.  Four seconds after Adirondack’s Nick Rivera went to his penalty box for boarding (and a subsequent fight with Noah Delmas), Worcester’s Bobby Butler (slashing) and Philip Beaulieu (unsportsmanlike conduct) headed to their box, giving the Thunder a 4-on-3 for almost a full two minutes.  This is much more common in overtime, when the teams start out skating 3-on-3.  If a penalty is called, it becomes 4-on-3.

Next Up

The ECHL is currently on its annual holiday break.  The Thunder return to action Tuesday and Thursday in Canada, taking on the Trois-Rivières Lions, a team they’ve also had some success against, picking up their first standings point in an overtime loss and their first win back in early November.  Adirondack then returns home Friday to face Worcester for the eighth time, and hosts Trois-Rivières Saturday.

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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