04/08/2018 7:09 AM
Glens Falls, NY – The Adirondack Thunder clinched their second consecutive North Division title with a victory over the Brampton Beast on Sunday evening at the Powerade Centre. With the victory, Adirondack will take on the Worcester Railers in the first round of the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs.
Forwards Tererence Wallin and James Henry led the way for the Thunder with three points apiece while goaltender Olivier Mantha earned his fourth victory of the season with 34 saves in net.
Brampton opened the scoring midway through the first period as forward Vincent Dunn netted his ninth tally of the season 14:29 into the game. Stationed at the point, defenseman Jordan Henry wired a shot wide of the Adirondack net but the rebound kicked off the back wall and directly to Dunn at the left post, where he slotted past Mantha for the game’s first goal. Henry collected the lone assist on the play, his 20th of the season.
Adirondack returned fire inside the final minute of the opening period as Wallin reached the 20-goal milestone with the game-tying goal 49 seconds from the first intermission. Thunder forward Brian Ward danced down the right wing around a Brampton defenseman and slid a cross-ice feed to Wallin for the goal. Ward and forward James Henry collected the assists on the play, Henry’s 34th helper of the season.
The Thunder took their first lead of the evening inside the first five minutes of the second period as Henry netted a shorthanded tally 4:47 into the middle stanza. With Adirondack a man down, Mercier and Henry entered the offensive zone on a 2-on-1 rush, before Mercier fed Henry with a cross-ice feed for the goal. Henry’s tally was his 19th of the season while Mercier tallied the lone helper on the play, his 25th assist.
The visitors opened up a three-goal advantage with a pair of goals to take a 4-1 lead into the second intermission. First, with 5:13 left in the middle stanza, forward Brian Ward tallied his 30th goal of the season off the rush to set the Thunder’s single-season franchise record for goals in a season. Just over four minutes later, Adirondack struck again as forward Pierre-Luc Mercier scored a highlight-reel goal for his second point of the evening. Mercier dragged the puck around a Brampton defenseman, was tripped and scored while falling onto his stomach to complete the dazzling effort.
The Beast pulled a goal back 6:46 into the third period as Dunn tallied for the second time in the game and the tenth time on the season. After Brampton sustained possession in the offensive end, the puck cycled below the goal line to forward Eric Bradford, who fed Dunn in front for the goal. Bradford and defenseman Paul Cianfrini collected the assists on the play, Bradford’s 36th of the season.
Adirondack regained its three-goal advantage as Wallin scored his second goal of the evening midway through the third period for the 5-2 lead. With the Thunder on the power play, Henry fed the puck to Wallin in the slot, where he one-timed his shot past Brampton netminder Chris Dreidger for his 21st tally of the season. Henry and forward Ryan Schmelzer collected the assists on the play, Henry’s third point of the evening.
The Thunder concluded the scoring with five seconds remaining as forward Austin Orszulak tallied his sixth goal of the season into the empty net, an unassisted tally.
Adirondack will begin the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs on Friday, April 13 at Cool Insuring Arena at 7:00 p.m. Visit ECHLThunder.com or call 518-480-3355 x1 to get tickets for all Thunder home playoff games.
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