The Adirondack Thunder enter an important three-game stretch on Friday, the first of three consecutive games against the Maine Mariners.
The Thunder (11-9-0-2) sit in fourth place in the ECHL’s North Division with 24 points. They are six points behind co-leaders Reading and Newfoundland, and three behind Brampton. More importantly, they are seven ahead of Maine for the division’s final playoff spot. Even though playoffs are many moons ahead, while the Thunder want to overtake those in front of them, they first have to make sure they stay comfortably ahead of those chasing them.
The Thunder are on a two-game win streak, both road games, improving their road mark to 7-4-0-1. They are 4-5-0-1 at home.
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Adirondack will face Maine without its top points man. Forward Hayden Verbeek, who had five goals and 14 assists in 21 games for the Thunder, was recalled by the AHL’s Laval Rocket on Thursday. Given what he showed for the Thunder, it wouldn’t be shocking if he stayed there for a long time.
One of Verbeek’s most noticeable assets was his speed, and that’s always hard to replace at the ECHL level. Fortunately, the Thunder’s other speedy forward, Matt Salhany, has produced two goals and one assist in the last two games.
Thursday also was a day for goalie transactions. The Thunder traded Chris Nell to the Florida Everblades for future considerations. The Binghamton Devils sent down Evan Cormier.
NOTES: The Thunder and Hannaford Supermarkets are sponsoring a holiday food drive at the game to benefit the Open Door Mission in Glens Falls. Fans attending the game are encouraged to bring a non-perishable item for donation. Those who do so will receive a voucher for a free ticket to the Thunder home game on Friday, Dec. 20.
Follow Will Springstead on Twitter @WSpringsteadPSV.