GLENS FALLS — There was singing in the locker room after this one.
The Adirondack Thunder overcame a two-goal deficit early in the third period to snatch a 5-4 shootout win over Florida in an ECHL contest at Cool Insuring Arena on Friday.
The win left the Thunder singing along to Bruce Channel’s “Hey Baby” inside the locker room — their on-key rendition echoing outside the doors — and their coach as happy as he could be.
“That was an exciting game,” Thunder coach Brad Tapper said. “It was hard-nosed, it was gritty. That’s a big team over there and our guys battled their butts off. I really do believe that was a playoff atmosphere.”
Trailing 4-2 with 12 and a half minutes left in the third period, the Thunder got one goal closer on Brian Ward’s second goal of the game and his 14th of the season as he wristed one in from the slot with 6:20 left.
Having pulled goalie Drew Fielding in favor of an extra skater, the Thunder tied it with 7.2 seconds left when Paul Rodrigues knocked down a wobbly pass from Mathieu Brodeur and fired it in.
After a scoreless overtime, James Henry had the only goal in the round-of-three shootout, as he went over the glove of Callum Booth.
“Just kind of watched Terrence (Wallin) go first, kind of watching what the goalie is doing when you’re coming in on certain angles and stuff,” Henry said. “I saw an opening and beat him.”
Fielding saved all three Everblades shots and was solid once again in turning back 25 shots to improve to 11-5 on the season.
“You definitely feel a little momentum the last five minutes,” Henry said of Adirondack’s comeback. “We were getting some chances, spending some time in their zone. You kind of got to hand it to the crowd, they were going pretty wild and everybody kind of fed off that.”
Henry finished with the shootout goal and two assists — part of another memorable performance by the Thunder’s top line. Ward finished with two goals and an assist, while Wallin added a goal and an assist.
The Thunder led 1-0 on Wallin’s 13th of the season at 6:47 of the first, off a patient assist from Henry. Florida tied it at 18:35 on its second shorthanded goal against the Thunder in the last two games.
“We were really good for 18 and a half minutes until that puck went in the net,” Tapper said. “We’ll look at the power play and try to figure it out for (Saturday).”
The Thunder took a 2-1 lead 3:57 into the second period. Ward won the faceoff, getting the puck over to Wallin, who gave it back for the score.
The Thunder then went into a three-goal slide, with Florida taking a 3-2 lead on a power-play goal 1:20 into the third and then making it 4-2 on Brett Bulmer’s rebound at 7:22.
“Alex (Loh, associate coach) and I are happy as pigs in mud with our team, the way they battled back (and) were never down,” Tapper said. “We adjusted with 10 minutes to go. If we’re down by two goals, we’ll do certain things. Just really proud of our group in that room.”
Thunder 5, Everblades 4 (SO)
Florida 1 1 2 0 — 4
Adirondack 1 1 2 0 — 5
First Period — 1, Adirondack, Wallin 13 (Henry, Ward), 6:47. 2, Florida, Kea 9 (McCarron), 18:35 (sh). Penalties — Seymour, Fla (hooking), 18:16.
Second Period — 3, Adirondack, Ward 13 (Wallin), 3:57. 4, Florida, Mackenzie 3 (McCarron, Kea), 15:05. Penalties — Kanzig, Fla, major (fighting), 2:11; Soumelidis, Adk, major (fighting), 2:11; Heard, Fla, minor-major (slashing, fighting), 5:28; Ward, Adk, major (fighting), 5:28; Henry, Adk (goalie interference), 10:32; Bergin, Adk, double minor (high-sticking), 19:32.
Third Period — 5, Florida, Kamrass 4 (Shore, Young), 1:20. 6, Florida, Bulmer 10, 7:22. 7, Adirondack, Ward 14 (Henry), 13:40. 8, Adirondack, Rodrigues 8 (Brodeur), 19:52. Penalties — Berry, Fla (unsportsmanlike conduct), 3:59; Seymour, Fla (roughing), 11:55; Wallin, Adk (roughing), 11:55; Wesley, Fla (interference), 13:27; Rodrigues, Adk (slashing), 13:27.
Overtime — None. Penalties — None.
Shootout — Florida 0 (Heard NG, Cox NG, Lorentz NG), Adirondack 1 (Wallin NG, Henry G, Ward NG).
Shots on Goal — Florida 12-5-10-2-0-29. Adirondack 14-10-11-3-1-39.
Power Plays — Florida 0-3; Adirondack 0-3.
Goalies — Florida, Booth 13-4-1-2 (38 shots-34 saves). Adirondack, Fielding 11-5-0-0 (29 shots-25 saves).
A — 2,665.
Ref — Sean Fernandez.