GLENS FALLS — This two points came from every time the Adirondack Thunder players finished a sprint in practice when they rather wouldn’t have.
Playing their third game in three days, and looking every bit of it, the Thunder called upon all their inner reserves Sunday in beating Wheeler 3-2 in overtime in ECHL action at Cool Insuring Arena.
Desmond Bergin scored on a breakaway with 54 seconds left in the overtime for the game winner. Tomas Sholl was outstanding in goal for the Thunder, making 39 saves.
Adirondack won the game in similar fashion to Saturday night, with a breakaway. From the defensive zone, Terrence Wallin found Bergin alone at the Wheeling blue line. Bergin finished the game with a backhand past Union College graduate Colin Stevens for his 13th goal of the season, which ties him for third most in the league among defensemen.
The win improved Adirondack to 31-20-3-3, and its 68 points keeps it in second place in the North Division with 15 games left in the regular season.
The Thunder looked fresh in the first period, jumping out to a 2-0 lead on goals from Pierre-Luc Mercier and Wallin. Mercier completed a nice give-and-go from Austin Orszulak at 12:37 for his 14th goal of the season, while Wallin notched his 18th on a power-play score off a nice assist from Troy Bourke at 16:09.
In the second period, however, the wear-and-tear of Adirondack’s five games in seven days showed. Wheeling outshot the Thunder 24-2, with Sholl constantly at work. Only Freddie Tiffels’ score with 22 seconds left in the period escaped him.
“It was kind of like the exact opposite of the first (period),” said Sholl, who improved to 5-0-1 with the Thunder since coming up from Evansville. “That one was four shots, then 24. Just try to stay in the game after the first (period) and take each shot as it comes, I guess.”
“They had some fresh bodies come from Wilkes-Barre last night or this morning, and you could see the amount of games we’ve played and the energy we’ve spent really caught up to us in the second period, being outshot 24-2,” Thunder coach Brad Tapper said. “It looked like the Harlem Globetrotters versus the Washington Generals. (Sholl) did really, really, really well.”
Sholl said he stayed focused on taking one shot at a time during the second period and not thinking about the barrage, or else it could have gotten mentally overwhelming.
Tiffels’ second goal of the game early in the third period tied it at 2, but the Thunder defense did what it had to to force the game into overtime.
“We’re so proud of our players,” Tapper said. “To be that tired, to have the ice shifted that slopey against you and come out with two points was really good. I want them to enjoy themselves tonight — be smart and have a good time, because they deserve it.”