GLENS FALLS, N.Y. – The Adirondack Thunder entered the All-Star break on a positive note, having stomped the Worcester Railers 5-0 on home ice on January 18.
Head Coach Alex Loh noted that:
“You always want to go into any sort of break with a good feeling.”
Forward Matt Salhany added:
“That lightens the spirits. that makes everyone feel good going into break, to be able to rest and watch some video, and to come back on a positive note and ready to attack our second half of the season.”
That second-half attack began Friday night against the Brampton Beast. The night started out great, with bacon pizza in the press box and forward Conor Riley on the ice for warm-ups.
Riley: “It feels like three times as long as I was out. You might be out for seven weeks but it seems like the whole season when you miss that many games…It’s tough when you’re out, especially when things aren’t going our way, it makes it even harder.”
Riley had been out of the lineup since late November due to injury, and his presence was sorely missed.
Mike Szmatula: “Getting a guy like Riley back is huge, not only on the ice, but especially in the locker room.”
Coach Loh: “He wears the ‘A’ for us; he brings a ton of energy. He played his game here tonight. it was good to get him back in the mix.”
Brampton’s Francois Beauchemin tried to spoil Riley’s return with a power play goal 7:24 into the game.
That was only the beginning of an action-packed six-goal first period. The next five goals were scored in rapid succession, in a span of 3:09.
Thunder defenseman Kelly Summers began the barrage at 13:03 with his sixth goal of the season, also on the man advantage.
The Beast regained the lead only 23 seconds later, on a goal from forward Erik Bradford.
Szmatula tied it back up for the Thunder 42 seconds later.
Adirondack took the lead for the first time mark with an odd goal at the 15:16 — the puck went up and over Brampton goaltender Alex Dubeau and into the net. The goal was credited to Thunder defenseman Colby Sissons.
Rookie defenseman Charlie Curti finished the first period scoring less than a minute later. His goal would be the eventual game-winner.
Nikita Popugaev added a second period goal for the Thunder, while Lindsay Sparks added one in the third for the Beast.
Eamon McAdam picked up the win for Adirondack. Dubeau received the loss for Brampton. He was replaced by Andrew D’Agostini following Popugaev’s goal.
Seven skaters had a multi-point night: Brampton’s Beauchemin, Bradford, and Sparks each had a goal and assist in the contest, as did Adirondack’s Curti and Szmatula. Rookies Ara Nazarian and Ryan Walker picked up two assists each.
Riley commented postgame on how the Thunder countered the attack of the Beast on Friday evening.
“They like to play more of a run-and-gun game, and I think we’ve always had more of a structured game. and when we’re playing our structure, we do pretty well against them. But they always seem to have our number if we start playing their style. You don’t want to fall into their style of play, you want to stay with a fairly structured game. Tonight that’s just what we did.”
Adirondack is aiming for a repeat Saturday night when the two teams face off for the second consecutive game in Glens Falls (7:00pm EST). If the Thunder get the victory, it will be the longest win streak of the season for them (three games).
The Thunder then head to Massachusetts Sunday for an afternoon game (3:05pm EST) against the Worcester Railers.
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