GLENS FALLS — Based on Sunday’s outcome, Alex Loh may have a future in the motivational speaking business after his coaching career ends.
With his team riding a three-game losing streak, including a 5-1 drawback at Maine on Saturday night, and playing its third game in three days, Loh challenged his players before Sunday’s ECHL home game against Worcester.
The result was probably Adirondack’s best home performance this early season. The Thunder clicked on all cylinders in a 6-2 win before 3,351 fans.
“I’m sure they took it upon themselves, but I challenged them,” Loh said. “I made sure they were aware they needed to be good, and they really were, so it’s awesome. Good job by them to have that response and come out with a really big win today.”
Ara Nazarian led Adirondack (6-4-0-2) with two goals, while defensemen Jake Linhart and Colby Sissons had four and three assists, respectively. Evan Cormier, starting his second game since being sent down from Binghamton, had a sharp performance with 32 saves.
“Friday night didn’t go the way I wanted it to,” Cormier said. “I think it was more of an adjustment thing. Tonight was good and it was good to get the win.
“It’s getting a little more comfortable with this team and how they do things,” Cormier added. “It’s a little bit different pace; the structure’s a little different than the AHL. Here you’ve just got to expect everything.”
“It’s a little more scrambly,” Loh said of the ECHL. “Things can happen in a hurry, like you saw on their first goal — they just randomly fired a puck in front of the net and it went off a skate — so you never know what’s coming at you. As a goalie, it’s really hard to play at this level, so he did a really good job.”
The Thunder took a 1-0 lead 3:49 into the game on Nazarian’s first goal, then made it 2-0 less than three minutes later when Hayden Verbeek used his speed to carry the puck around the goal and feed a cutting Alexandre Carrier, who one-timed a shot through the legs of Linus Soderstrom for his first goal of the season.
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“It’s always fun to contribute to the success of the team, especially when you win,” said fan-favorite Carrier. “Everybody pitched in, everybody was on point. It really showed on the ice that we wanted it more than them and the score speaks for itself.”
Worcester’s first goal came at 11:14 of the second when Cody Payne, with no angle, fired one off defenseman Kelly Summers’ skate, but the Thunder answered a minute and a half later as Mike Szmatula poked home a rebound for his third goal this season.
Matt Salhany and Worcester’s Matt Schmalz traded goals 27 seconds apart in the third, but Adirondack sealed it with Conor Riley’s empty-net tally with 1:54 remaining.
Just for good measure, with Soderstrom back in, Nazarian notched his second of the night on a great play. Holding the puck with a two-on-one, he kept the puck, deked Soderstrom and slid it in.
“We were playing not with desperation, but with passion. We knew it was a three-in-three and the tank was pretty empty, but everybody played a big game and that makes a huge difference,” Carrier said.
“We always say good teams win on Sunday, because it’s a challenge to win on Sunday,” Loh said. “You don’t want to wait ‘til Sunday to get your first win. You want to make sure we’re sharp going into next week because it’s a similar schedule in that we’re home Friday and Saturday we’re in Maine. We have to make sure we win those two games because we don’t have a Sunday to come back and feel good about ourselves.”