GLENS FALLS — Imagine being an actor in college, and you’ve played several leading roles. The producer of an off-Broadway play signs you on Thursday to play one of those roles and tells you you’re doing it Friday with the current cast. And the reviewers from the newspapers will be there.
Now you know what Arthur Brey and, with only one extra day than Brey had, Logan Thompson felt like recently when they joined the Adirondack Thunder. With the call-up of regular starting goalie Alex Sakellaropoulos to the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds, Brey and Thompson have had to mind the cage during one of the more stressful times in the season.
In Brey’s first game after completing four seasons with St. Lawrence, Manchester got the better of him and the Thunder in a 6-3 Monarchs win. Thompson has started the last five games, going 1-3-0-1. But both have shown great promise.
“They both work extremely hard; there’s no question on their work ethic from either guy,” Thunder coach Alex Loh said. “They put in a full day’s work, plus more, on the ice.”
Loh said Brey, 25, has adjusted well in practice since his professional fiery baptism.
“He jumped right into the fray against a very good Manchester team, and all of a sudden you’re playing against pros, which is just a different level than the college game,” Loh said. “Bit of a disadvantage there, however I know he can step in and do the job.”
Thompson, 22, has emerged as the starting goalie until Sakellaropoulos returns, if he does.
“Logan was a touted guy coming out of Canadian college, and we’re happy to get him here so he can get used to the pro game,” Loh said.
Thompson said he had a chance to go to the ECHL coming out of juniors, but it fell through late in the process, which sent him to Brock University this past season.
“Everyone’s been really good,” Thompson said. “The veterans have been really great to me and it’s just a great group of guys to come in with. Obviously with Saks up in the ‘A,’ everyone’s been helpful and supporting to get me up to pace with the speed.”
Brey said likewise about his teammates’ welcoming nature, and both goalies also agree that the speed and skill are the biggest adjustments.
“Obviously if guys get chances here, they’re putting them in the back of the net,” Thompson said. “That’s the biggest difference coming from college. That’s the biggest adjustment: having to be ready every shot.”
“Everyone can shoot the puck, everyone’s got fast hands, everyone can make plays,” Brey said. “They’re a whole step above college hockey, and I think I realized that the first 10 minutes of my first game. A couple shots whizzed by me. I think just mentally knowing that you’re well prepared, all those years of hard work. It’s just believing in yourself and then taking it day by day.”
Thompson said it’s hard not to absorb the feelings surrounding the tight race Adirondack is in for a playoff spot, but that’s the goal.
“Obviously, it’s a real exciting time and everybody’s playing their best hockey. In my mindset, try not to think about it and just take it game by game and shot by shot. I can’t score goals, but I can stop them, so I’m going to do my job as best I can,” Thompson said.
Both seem to be adjusting to the other part of professional hockey: having a little more spare time.
“To be able to get done with practice by noon, 1 o’clock and then have the rest of the day to recover, it’s been the easier part of my transition,” Brey said. “I’m a big cooker, so I love to cook. I’ve got (Mike Szmatula and Cullen Bradshaw) as roommates and they love to cook, too. Having my own kitchen and making sure I can eat what I want to eat, it’s been great.”