GLENS FALLS — Drew Fielding was at home in Ontario, coaching goaltenders, when he got the call to come back to Glens Falls.
The goalie made himself right at home again, returning to Cool Insuring Arena for the first time this season and leading the Thunder to a 5-3 victory over the Toledo Walleye Friday night.
“As soon as I heard there was a chance down here, I got excited,” said Fielding, who practiced Thursday and found out Friday morning he would be starting. “It’s tough to go from coaching on Tuesday to playing on Friday. I don’t have that hockey wind yet.”
Fielding, who was in camp this fall with Brampton before being cut, got great support from his teammates, who scored four goals in a 13-minute span of the second period and pleased Coach Brad Tapper with their early-game effort.
“We had a good start, finally. We have been worried about the starts,” said Tapper, whose team lost to Greenville, 6-4, Tuesday and is 3-1-1.
Adirondack’s five goals all came from different players.
“It’s nice when you can spread it around,” said Tapper, who was not pleased with giving up two goals in the third period.
Of Fielding, Tapper said, “He played a heck of a game. Reading’s got some big guys, and he stood right in there.”
Nick Riopel, who was in net for Adirondack for the first four games of the season, was a game-day scratch. Tapper said Riopel had the flu.
The backup goaltender for the Thunder was former Queensbury High School and SUNY Geneseo player Peter Fitzgerald, a vice president with D.A. Collins Companies.
Forward Shane Conacher got his first goal of the season, picking up a loose puck near center ice, breaking away and lifting the puck past former Thunder goaltender J.P. Anderson with 54 seconds left in the period. The goal was unassisted. Conacher was playing his first game for the Thunder after being sent down from Syracuse. He was selected as the first star of the game.
Conacher credited Terrence Wallin with setting up the goal.
“I’ve got to give Wally a lot of credit for that. They didn’t give him an assistant, but he made it happen,” Conacher said, noting he got a warm welcome. “The guys here made it easy. They have a great locker room.”
The goal spoiled an outstanding start for Anderson, who turned away the first 14 shots in his first start for Toledo. Adirondack outshot Toledo, 15-7, in the first period.
The game was very briefly tied at 1-1 when Alden Hirschfeld scored with 16:41 left in the second period, but the Thunder got two goals in less than two minutes to go up, 3-1.
On the faceoff following the goal, Brian Ward was set up in front of the net and beat Anderson to make it 2-1 just 17 seconds after the tying goal.
With 15:02 remaining, Pierre-Luc Mercier took advantage of slick passing from J.C. Campagna and Eric Neily, to make it 3-1. Campagna had a number of excellent chances during the period. Mercier’s goal was his first after five assists and pushed his scoring streak to all five of this season’s games.
Just under five minutes later, it was 4-1 after defenseman Desmond Bergin broke for the net and took a pass from Conacher, who was behind it. The goal came with 10:09 left in the period.
Wallin made it 5-1 with 3:36 left in the period, scoring on a rebound off a save by Anderson. That goal came after another show of crisp passing from James Henry and Ty Loney.
Adirondack held a 24-20 edge in shots in the period. With seven seconds remaining. Two players were sent to the penalty box, Mercier was sent off for delay of game after a roughing penalty was called on Connor Crisp.
Toledo scored twice in the third period, including Hirschfeld’s second of the game. Simon Denis got the other.
Thunder 5, Toledo 3
Toledo 0 1 2 — 3
Adirondack 1 4 0 — 5
First Period — 1, Adirondack, Conacher 1 19:01. Penalties — Neiley, Adk (slashing), 3:03; Berschbach, Tol (hooking), 6:57.
Second Period — 2, Toledo, Berschbach 1 (Obuchowski), 3:19. 3, Adirondack, Ward 1 (Bergin), 3:36. 4, Adirondack, Mercier 1 (Campagna, Neiley), 4:58. 5, Adirondack, Bergin 2 (Conacher), 9:51. 6, Adirondack, Wallin 1 (Henry, Loney), 16:34. Penalties — Henry, Adk (interference), 14:12; Crisp, Tol (roughing), 19:53; Mercier, Adk (delay of game), 19:53.
Third Period — 7, Toledo, Denis 2 (Borkowski, Berschbach), 11:05. 8, Toledo, Hirschfeld 1 (Hilbrich, Barnes), 14:19. Penalties — Jenks, Tol (slashing), 3:45.
Shots on Goal — Toledo 7-13-10-30. Adirondack 15-9-3-27.
Power Plays — Toledo 0-2; Adirondack 0-2.
Goalies — Toledo, Anderson 0-1-0-0 (27 shots-22 saves). Adirondack, Fielding 1-0-0-0 (30-27).
A — 2,214.
Referees — Stephen Thomson.