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Adirondack Thunder

Adirondack Thunder forward Brian Ward, left, and defenseman Mathieu Brodeur (25) fight for possession with Florida Everblades forward Matt Berry during Saturday night's Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Germain Arena in Estero, Fla.

Nicole Raucheisen, Naples Daily News

GLENS FALLS — Considering it’s the Eastern Conference Finals, and that one should expect a grind-it-out, every-moment-counts series, the fact that the Adirondack Thunder came out of Florida with a 1-1 split in the first two games last weekend is a plus.

The Thunder will try to stay on the positive side of things this week for games 3 through 5 on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, all at Cool Insuring Arena.

They’re coming off a 3-2 overtime win over the Everblades on Saturday, but one in which they allowed 54 shots on goal. Drew Fielding had his second 50-plus-save effort in three games, which is great, but the Thunder obviously don’t want him to be quite so busy.

“Shots don’t always reflect how the game is going,” Thunder forward Brian Ward said. “Drew played really well — he has been for us the whole playoffs. A lot of it is puck management on our part. If we turn pucks over and aren’t smart with the puck, that’s when they get their quality chances.”

Thunder coach Brad Tapper said he’s never been a big believer in the shots on goal statistic.

“You could have 200 shots and we could only have four, but if two of them went in, we win 2-nothing,” Tapper said. “Shots are shots, that’s what the goalies are there for. That’s why they get their rest. We listen to them, to our trainers. If Drew’s there to face 60 shots, 70 shots, we go to triple OT, 80 shots, I don’t know. Obviously you want to keep them to the outside, as every coach will say. We’ll try our best to do that. We’re playing a real good hockey team.”

Defenseman Matthew Spencer echoed that turnovers seem to help the Everblades most of all.

“We’ve been doing a good job blocking shots and then trying to do quick transitions up the ice,” Spencer said. “For us to be successful, I think we’ve just got to really bear down in the defensive zone and know who we’ve got.”

Offensively, Tapper wouldn’t say much about his usually preferred style of getting bodies to the net other than the team has talked about it and watched video on it. X’s and O’s aside, it’s a safe bet they’re not abandoning it, because getting pucks by Florida goalie Martin Ouellette is never easy.

“We just have to continue to get pucks on net and bodies in front because he is really good at tracking that first one, but like any goalie, when you get traffic in front of them, it can make life a little tougher,” Ward said.

Beyond that, the Thunder just want to keep things simple and play their way.

“Really trying to play stupid simple — a term that we say a lot,” Spencer said. “It’s just that. Trying to keep things so simple that there’s no confusion on the ice and people always know where they need to be.”

Follow Will Springstead on Twitter @WSpringsteadPSV.



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