Norfolk, VA – The Adirondack Thunder got back to winning ways as they put together a 5-3 victory over the Norfolk Admirals on Friday evening at the Norfolk Scope.
The Thunder opened the scoring 10:52 into the game after a nice sequence in the offensive zone. Mitchell Heard left a nifty drop pass to Gunnar Hughes, who carried the puck into the slot and fired a wrist shot past Norfolk netminder Adam Courchaine to make it 1-0 Adirondack. The goal was the fifth of the season for Hughes and the fifth point over the last six games for both Hughes and Heard. Defenseman Joe Faust found the scoresheet for the second straight game with the secondary assist.
Norfolk capitalized on an Adirondack turnover to knot the score at one with 2:25 left in the opening period. After Adirondack was unable to get the puck deep at the offensive blueline, Michael Pelech hit Jonathan Lessard going the other way and the winger put a shot underneath the crossbar and past Adirondack netminder Drew Fielding for his fourth goal of the season.
It took just 52 seconds for the visitors to respond, however, as Ben Johnson put the puck into the back of the net for the first time this season to send Adirondack into the first intermission ahead 2-1. Adirondack transitioned up the ice and into the offensive zone and forward Michael Kirkpatrick fed the puck across the ice to Johnson in the high slot, where the New Jersey Devils prospect beat Courchaine to put the Thunder ahead. The goal was the first goal and second point for Johnson, while Kirkpatrick remained hot with a point in his third straight game and his 11th point over his past nine games played.
Adirondack took a two-goal advantage 4:36 into the middle stanza, as Mitchell Heard picked up his second point of the night with a goal to make it 3-1. A heads up pass by Faust from his own end crossed three lines and hit Heard in stride into the attacking zone. The big center stepped into the slot and popped the water bottle with his wrist shot for his seventh goal of the season. The assist for Faust gave him his first multi-assist game of the season, while Heard’s goal gave him multiple points in back-to-back games.
The Admirals moved back to within one just 1:46 from the second intermission as Lessard buried his second of the evening to push the score to 3-2. After Drew Fielding made a terrific save on Tommy Mele, a scrum ensued in front of the net, the puck squirted out to Lessard and he slotted it home for his fifth tally of the season. The goal marked Lessard’s fourth in three games against the Thunder and the third multi-goal game of his ECHL career.
The home side opened the third period with the tying goal off the stick of Jordan Hill just 3:15 into the final stanza. After the Admirals just barely kept the puck alive in their own end, Alexis Loiseau moved in on Fielding and dropped the puck off into the slot, where Hill charged in from the point to tap it in.
Adirondack charged back over the next ten minutes and was rewarded with a Kirkpatrick goal with less than seven minutes to play in the game. A nice play from Ryan Constant in the left corner kept the play alive for Adirondack, and the puck worked around the boards to Kirkpatrick at the right circle, where the centerman fired the puck on net and through Courchaine for his team best eleventh goal of the season.
The visitors added an insurance tally with just 3:55 left on the clock as Greg Wolfe made his presence felt in a big way with a breakaway goal to seal the deal for the Thunder. After he served a two-minute minor for slashing in the penalty box, Wolfe streaked into the neutral zone, took a feed from Faust and went backhand to forehand for the finish. The goal for Wolfe was his fourth of the season and came in his first game back since he returned from a loan to Albany in the AHL, where Wolfe had spent the past three weeks.
These two teams will meet again tomorrow evening at the Norfolk Scope, with puck drop slated for 7:15 p.m. Tomorrow evening will be the final game for the Thunder before their holiday break, which ends with a home game on December 26 against Manchester. December 26 is Star Wars Night at the Civic Center, where fans can get a $15 Adult Ticket or an $8 Youth Ticket if they wear a Star Wars costume. Fans can also get $3 off if they wear a Star Wars shirt or show their ticket from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Don’t miss out on the speed, skill, strength and sounds of Thunder hockey with a partial season flex or mini ticket plan today. The Adirondack Thunder have several mini-packs on sale now, consisting of two or four tickets, combined with a taste of downtown food gift card. Send a jolt into your weekends with the gift of Adirondack Thunder hockey. For more information on all Thunder ticket plans, call 518-480-3355 x1 or visit echlthunder.com.
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