The statistics hissed and sizzled in the press packet before the conclusion of Wednesday’s game, impossible to ignore.
When leading after the first period, the Adirondack Thunder were 10-1. When tied after the first, they were 11-1. When trailing after the first, however, they were 1-15-1-1.
So Thunder head coach Brad Tapper had reason to be concerned after the first period, with Florida leading 2-1, but Tapper’s not a numbers guy, so he couldn’t care less about some statistic.
What he didn’t like was his team’s effort. He saw two costly turnovers lead directly to Everblades goals. And the message to his team, however forcefully delivered, resonated. The Thunder righted the ship to outscore Florida 2-0 in the second period.
Suddenly the press packet sizzled again.
When leading after the second period, the Thunder were 15-1.
Adirondack improved that to 16-1 with a 4-2 win in the first of the three-game series with the Everblades at Cool Insuring Arena.
“I thought after 20 minutes, we played the way we need to to win a hockey game,” Tapper said.
Call-ups have made Adirondack’s first forward line as fluid as water this season, but getting Terrence Wallin back from Binghamton of the AHL helped measurably. He collected two goals and an assist, and nearly completed the hat trick late in the game with a long-range shot on an empty net that hit two posts but stayed out.
Unsurprisingly, though, what won it for the Thunder was depth. Everyone contributed positive minutes, but especially Tim Harrison. After a fighting minor and 10-minute misconduct, he returned and did a lot of the small-area work Tapper likes to see.
“He’s buying in, he’ll put his body on the line for the team, he’ll fight for his teammates and he’ll do whatever he can to stay in the lineup,” Tapper said of Harrison.
NOTES: With it looking increasingly like Nick Riopel is staying in Syracuse for a while, the Thunder got No. 1 goalie Drew Fielding some full-time help on Wednesday. They signed Tomas Shell from the Evansville Thunderbolts of the SPHL. Sholl, 23, posted a 14-2-2 record with Evansville, leading the SPHL in victories. He had a .924 save percentage and 2.31 goals against average. ... The Syracuse Crunch of the AHL have recalled forward Ty Loney from the Thunder. The 25-year-old forward has appeared in six games with the Crunch this season. He also has 32 points in 31 games with Adirondack.
Follow Will Springstead on Twitter @WSpringsteadPSV.