GLENS FALLS — There was some gritting of teeth after the Adirondack Thunder’s 4-3 shootout loss to Worcester on Friday at Cool Insuring Arena, but the Thunder also earned a point, so they couldn’t be totally upset.
“That was a huge point,” Thunder coach Brad Tapper said. “We’ll take them as we can get them.”
The Thunder earned the point with 23 seconds left in regulation. Down 3-2 since late in the second period, the Thunder took goalie Mackenzie Blackwood off with 1:40 left in favor of an extra skater. After a couple of tries, Adirondack connected when defenseman Mathieu Brodeur one-timed a shot from the left circle off the pad of Railers goalie Mitch Gillam.
“He was to be the quarterback on the six-on-five and he did a good job of that,” Tapper said of Brodeur. “He’s got a great one-timer. I think we need to utilize him a little bit more sometimes on the PP, just load him up and let him crank some shots at the net.”
While that goal wasn’t a special-teams score, it was what you might call special-opportunity. The Thunder’s other two goals came on special teams.
With the Thunder on a penalty kill, Conor Riley managed a breakaway and was hooked at 5:25 of the first period. He was given a penalty shot and converted on a backhand.
“I think it was (Andrew Radjenovic or James Henry) who got a stick on it early, so nice play by him,” Riley said. “I was lucky enough to go in and them giving me the penalty shot, so definitely nice to get that.”
At 6:09 of the second with the score tied at 1 and the Thunder on a power play, Shane Conacher’s shot got blocked and landed at Ty Loney’s feet. Loney showed his quick hands by gathering and firing it in for his team-high 17th goal.
The success the Thunder were having was short-lived, and it took an even shorter time for Worcester to take over the lead. The Railers’ Woody Hudson and Jeff Kubiak scored 1:02 apart in the second to give the Railers a 3-2 lead.
Just as much as the second-period malaise, Tapper was again concerned with his team’s start.
“I don’t know what it is at home,” Tapper said. “We were minus 10 to start the game, first-period differential in goals for and against. I don’t know if it’s something between the ears, but we need to be better with our starts.”
In the shootout, Adirondack’s Troy Bourke, Conacher and Loney all failed to score. After Worcester missed its first two, it won the game when Kellen Jones scored over Blackwood’s glove.
Riley said the team knows bad starts and bad periods are habits it doesn’t want to get into.
“The second period they pretty much dominated us,” added Riley, who consistently showed good hustle Friday. “We stayed in our zone practically the whole period. It makes for a long weekend if you’re always trying to catch up. Even Wednesday we were down by a couple goals two different times. It takes a lot more energy to crawl back into the game than to play with the lead.”
Railers 4, Thunder 3
Worcester 1 2 0 0 — 4
Adirondack 1 1 1 0 — 3
First Period — 1, Adirondack, Riley (penalty shot), 4 5:25 (sh). 2, Worcester, Doherty 1 (Almeida, Rome), 12:47. Penalties — Bergin, Adk (tripping), 4:03; Mercier, Adk (interference), 8:34.
Second Period — 3, Adirondack, Loney 17 (Conacher, Bourke), 6:09 (pp). 4, Worcester, Hudson 12 (Gammage, Rome), 16:38. 5, Worcester, Kubiak 4 (Saracino, Turcotte), 17:36. Penalties — Jones, Wor (holding the stick), 1:15; Doherty, Wor (slashing), 6:02; Cote, Adk (interference), 8:12; Jones, Wor (interference), 8:56.
Third Period — 6, Adirondack, Brodeur 2 (Conacher, Henry), 19:38. Penalties — Hudson, Wor (hooking), 0:46; Thompson, Adk (holding), 10:20; Lane, Wor, major (fighting), 14:21; Thompson, Adk, major (fighting), 14:21.
Overtime — None. Penalties — None.
Shootout — Worcester 1 (Lane NG, Almeida NG, Jones G), Adirondack 0 (Bourke NG, Conacher NG, Loney NG).
Shots on Goal — Worcester 10-14-5-2-1-32. Adirondack 8-7-7-2-0-24.
Power Plays — Worcester 0-4; Adirondack 1-4.
Goalies — Worcester, Gillam 6-6-0-0 (24 shots-21 saves). Adirondack, Blackwood 0-0-0-1 (31 shots-28 saves).
A — 2,320.
Ref — Alex Normandin.