GLENS FALLS — Tennis great Bilie Jean King famously said if you’re going to make an error, make it a doozy, but don’t be afraid to hit the ball.
The Adirondack Thunder had several doozies, however, in a 6-4 loss to Greenville in an ECHL game Tuesday night at Cool Insuring Arena. There were breakaways, unmarked men on the crease ready for rebounds, and they all led to the first game where the Thunder (2-1-1-0) didn’t earn at least a point.
The Swamp Rabbits opened the scoring 55 seconds into the game when Evan Jasper sprung free and skated past two defenders and right in on Nick Riopel before burying the shot. They made it 2-0 on a short-side goal at 10:19.
“We’ve come out slow every game we’ve played in,” said Thunder forward Chris Calnan, who scored his first professional goal in the second period. “We’ve got to play more 60-minute hockey. Definitely the first 10 minutes have been a struggle for us. I think the effort was OK.”
Thunder coach Brad Tapper noted that his team was sloppy with the puck early in the game.
“The pucks were hitting our sticks and exploding,” he said. “Energy wise, we’re ready, but we’ve got to put it between the ears and be a little sharper to start these games. Forecheck, neutral-zone forecheck, guys extending shifts way too long. There are only three lines and an extra, so they’ve got to be smarter about that.”
Things also got very physical late in the first period and throughout the second, totaling 13 penalties. It seemed to help wake up the Thunder, as they got a power-play goal from James Henry to make it 2-1. After allowing another rebound goal, they responded with two goals to tie it at 3 on scores from Eric Neiley and Calnan, who hustled in and got a nice pass from Terrence Wallin at 15:20 of the second.
“It was all right. I wanted to get the win, but it was nice to get that out of the way,” Calnan said.
Greenville, which leads the ECHL in power-play percentage, got the first of its two extra-man goals to close the second with a 4-3 lead.
“They got a physical team over there, so we try to match that,” said Mike Bergin, who had a 10-minute misconduct for fighting late in the first. “When things pop off a little, you try to help your teammates out and be strong for them. Good, physical game, we just had too many breakdowns and left Rio out to dry a couple times.”
The Swamp Rabbits’ fifth and sixth goals were groaners. On the first one, Adam Chapie went unmarked and skated in for a breakaway tally. On the final goal, Bretton Cameron was all alone on the far side of the crease and got an easy rebound.
“It’s every aspect: forecheck to backcheck to end-zone play,” Bergin said. “We’ve just got to put it behind us, learn from it and come back ready for the games on the weekend.”
Tim Harrison added a power-play goal for the Thunder for the game’s final score.
“I believe in these guys, but that team hadn’t won yet,” Tapper said. “They were hungry, they played well. I thought we could have thrown even more pucks at the net. The D have to get that puck to the net; a lot of teams are blocking (our) shots. Too many errors that we’re going to see in the video (Wednesday).”
Greenville 6, Thunder 4
Greenville 2 2 2 — 6
Adirondack 0 3 1 — 4
1st Period-1, Greenville, Jasper 2 (McPherson, Flanagan), 0:55. 2, Greenville, Houk 1 (Nevins), 10:19. Penalties-Nevins Grn (elbowing), 8:05. Nevins Grn (fighting—major), 17:10. Loney Adk (fighting—major), 17:10. Calnan Adk (high-sticking), 18:44. Basaraba Grn (slashing), 19:10. Bergin Adk (roughing, misconduct), 19:10.
2nd Period-3, Adirondack, Henry 3 (Harrison, Mercier), 9:21 (PP). 4, Greenville, Leedahl 1 (Sweeney, Herbert), 10:12. 5, Adirondack, Neiley 3 10:58. 6, Adirondack, Calnan 1 (Wallin, Segalla), 15:20. 7, Greenville, Leedahl 2 (Troock, McPherson), 17:47 (PP). Penalties-Gogol Grn (high-sticking), 8:50. Troock Grn (slashing), 11:36. Cameron Grn (instigating, fighting—major), 12:30. Lough Adk (fighting—major), 12:30. Olsen Adk (holding), 16:13.
3rd Period-8, Greenville, Chapie 3 (Leedahl), 2:27. 9, Greenville, Cameron 1 (Zborovskiy, Chapie), 13:26 (PP). 10, Adirondack, Harrison 2 (Calnan, Neiley), 18:35 (PP). Penalties-Calnan Adk (high-sticking), 12:11. Sweeney Grn (interference), 17:07.
Shots on Goal-Greenville 16-10-7-33. Adirondack 10-17-13-40.
Power Play Opportunities-Greenville 2-3. Adirondack 2-5.
Goalies-Greenville, Halverson 1-1-1-0 (40 shots-36 saves). Adirondack, Riopel 2-1-1-0 (33 shots-27 saves).
Referees-Stephen Thomson (27).
Linesmen-JP Waleski (51), Adam Wood (36).