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Adirondack Thunder

The Adirondack Thunder’s performance lately sounds a lot like an update one would hear on CNBC. Early signs for 2018 show a positive trend, as well as a good return on investment.

And you can talk about goals, but it starts with making sure you’re secure. The Thunder — 3-0-0-1 in January — have put their security in the hands of goaltenders Drew Fielding and Mackenzie Blackwood.

The Thunder also have relied plenty on Nick Riopel, who had a 9-9-1 record with the team, but he’s been up with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch since Dec. 30, leaving Fielding and Blackwood to share the net.

Fielding, the Thunder’s all-time leader in goaltending wins, was a runner-up for CCM/ECHL Goaltender of the Week, announced Tuesday. He posted a 2-0 record last week, had a 1.98 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage.

Blackwood went 1-1, with a 4-2 win over Brampton on Sunday.

Thunder coach Brad Tapper hasn’t been shy about stating the importance of good goaltending, and it’s even more important during these busy four-game weeks. After the Thunder’s game at Wheeling on Wednesday, the Thunder play at Reading on Friday before hosting Reading on Saturday.

“Drew played well in the win Saturday night, and he’ll start Wednesday against Wheeling because he earned it,” Tapper said. “I thought Blackwood played well Saturday and he’ll start Friday against Reading. And we’ll do that until someone falters.”

Tapper said he naturally wants goalies who realize they are teammates first, but who also have plenty of competitive juices.

“We want goalies who push each other and make each other better every day,” Tapper said.

Tapper joked that goalies are a different breed who aren’t happy unless the puck hits them, but said both Fielding and Blackwood are complete professionals he enjoys working with.

“So long as they want to play hard and win,” Tapper said.

NOTES: Despite Wheeling being a fellow North Division foe, Wednesday will be only the second time they’ve played this season. Wheeling will visit Adirondack on Feb. 25 and March 17. ... Thunder forward Shane Conacher was named Sher-Wood Hockey ECHL Player of the Week for Jan. 1-7. Conacher scored three goals and had four assists in helping the Thunder extend their unbeaten streak to five games (4-0-0-1).

Follow Will Springstead on Twitter @WSpringsteadPSV.



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