GLENS FALLS — Need a fast start? Get the new guy on the ice.
Nolan Kaiser was with the Adirondack Thunder for just a matter of hours when his booming slap shot opened the scoring of Wednesday night’s game against the Worcester Railers.
However, Kaiser’s first ECHL goal and the team’s fast start did not carry through, as Worcester put the Thunder back on their heels with quick goals early in the second and third periods.
Adirondack managed to salvage a point in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Railers, helping the Thunder maintain their fourth-place spot in the Eastern Conference with 18 games left. They are only two points ahead of Reading and Wheeling.
“That was a huge one point for us to lose — we’re pleased with the point, but we want two,” said forward Andrew Radjenovic, who scored the Thunder’s second goal. “We definitely didn’t play a full 60 minutes tonight, and this late in the season, it’s something that we have to do every single night.”
The Thunder had come out strong in the first period, outshooting Worcester 16-4 and dominating the ice. Kaiser’s goal from just inside the blue line 3:14 into the game was a boost for a team seeking better starts recently.
“I honestly thought it got tipped, just trying to get the shot through from the point,” said Kaiser, who joined the Thunder on Wednesday morning from Huntsville of the SPHL, where the defenseman had scored 77 points over the last two seasons. “They said it was me, so I’ll take it.”
The momentum changed quickly, however, as the Railers evened the score on Yanick Turcotte’s goal 2:55 into the second period, and Worcester kept up the pressure.
“The first period, we looked like the Red Army, we came out really strong,” Adirondack head coach Brad Tapper said. “Then we had a power play to start the second period, and I thought the momentum shifted right there where we made a couple of really bad plays with the puck.”
“We just got away from our structure,” Radjenovic said. “I don’t know if we took our foot off the gas pedal or what, but we have to bring it a full 60 minutes.”
Radjenovic gave the Thunder a 2-1 lead, shoveling in the puck on a rebound with 1:31 left in the second period.
“I saw the rebound kick out to Riles (Connor Riley), and the puck kind of stayed there — so we were whacking away at it and it happened to go in, which is huge,” Radjenovic said.
“Momentum changed and we were swimming the rest of the second period — we couldn’t get out of it,” Tapper said. “We were very fortunate to get that second goal.”
Worcester scored twice in the first 4:15 of the third period to seize a 3-2 lead. Adirondack got the equalizer on a power play when Matthew Spencer blasted a one-timer on a feed from James Henry with 10:56 left in regulation.
In the shootout, Terrance Wallin scored for the Thunder, but Worcester got goals from Barry Almeida and Tommy Kelley, the latter on the final chance in the shootout.
“We were only good for about 30, 35 minutes, but we need to play a whole game. We have to put 60 together here soon,” Tapper said.
“We won the special teams game,” he added. “Our penalty kill was 3-for-3, our power play was 1 for 2, so it was nice to see us to get a power-play goal to help the team at least get a point, which was huge. We’ll take the point.”
Railers 4, Thunder 3 (SO)
Worcester 0 1 2 0 — 4
Adirondack 1 1 1 0 — 3
First Period — 1, Adirondack, Kaiser 1 (Ward), 3:14. Penalty — Doherty, Wor (slashing), 19:49.
Second Period — 2, Worcester, Turcotte 1 (Langkow, McKenzie), 2:55. 3, Adirondack, Radjenovic 6, 18:29. Penalty — Bergin, Adk (tripping), 6:36.
Third Period — 4, Worcester, Masella 2 (Syner), 3:02. 5, Worcester, Kubiak 9 (Hudson), 4:22. 6, Adirondack, Spencer 1 (Henry, Rodrigues), 9:04 (pp). Penalties — Doherty, Wor (delay of game), 7:21; Conacher, Adk (delay of game), 15:49.
Overtime — None. Penalties — Spencer, Adk (interference), 3:45.
Shootout — Worcester 2 (Almeida G, Lane NG, DiChiara NG, Kelley G), Adirondack 1 (Conacher NG, Henry NG, Wallin G, Ward NG).
Shots on Goal — Worcester 4-14-8-4-1-31. Adirondack 16-11-11-2-0-40.
Power Plays — Worcester 0-3; Adirondack 1-2.
Goalies — Worcester, Gillam 10-10-0-1 (40 shots-37 saves). Adirondack, Sholl 4-0-0-1 (30 shots-27 saves).
A — 2,369.
Ref — Alex Garon.