North Charleston, SC - The Adirondack Thunder struck first as they earned a nailbiting 5-4 victory over the South Carolina Stingrays on Friday evening at the North Charleston Coliseum in North Charleston, SC.
Adirondack opened the scoring just 23 seconds into the game, the third time these playoffs they’ve scored in the game’s opening 70 seconds. After a solid forecheck off the opening faceoff, Mitchell Heard fired the puck behind the net, where Peter MacArthur gathered it and scored on a wraparound chance to open the scoring in this series. The tally for MacArthur was his third of the postseason, while Heard’s assist was his fifth.
Just over three minutes later, with Thunder blueliner Mathieu Brodeur in the box for tripping, Adirondack struck again with a shorthanded tally at the 3:48 mark of the first period. After collecting the puck in his own end, Ben Johnson skated all the way down the ice on the right flank, cut to the slot and fired a wrist shot past South Carolina netminder Vitek Vanacek for his first goal of the playoffs. The tally, which came unassisted, was also Johnson’s third point of the postseason.
South Carolina scored their first of the night with 6:23 to play in the first period as Joey Leach collected his second tally of the postseason to cut the Adirondack lead to one. After the Stingrays held the puck in the offensive end, Joe Devin worked the puck up the left-hand wall into Leach’s wheelhouse and the big defenseman fired past Appleby for the goal. Devin and Kelly Zajac collected the helpers on the play, the sixth assist of the postseason for Zajac.
The Thunder capitalized on the man advantage late in the first to increase their lead back to two goals, less than four minutes from intermission. As Adirondack held a 4-on-3 power play late in the opening period, Greg Wolfe fed across to Brodeur at the right point, who fired a one-timer past Vanacek for the goal, his first of the playoffs. Wolfe and Michael Kirkpatrick collected the helpers on the play, Kirkpatrick’s third assist of the playoffs. Adirondack’s third tally chased Vanacek from the game, with three goals against on nine shots.
Midway through the second period, the Stingrays once again cut their deficit to one as Caleb Herbert tapped home a perfectly timed feed from Austin Fyten to move the score to 3-2. Fyten carried the puck behind Adirondack netminder Ken Appleby’s cage and sent a pass behind the back to a wide-open Herbert, who tapped into a gaping net for the goal. Herbert’s tally was his fourth of the postseason, while Fyten and Nick D’Agostino collected the helpers on the play, the sixth point for Fyten in the playoffs.
Adirondack took less than two minutes to respond, however, as they regained their two-goal advantage with 9:29 to play in the middle stanza. After Kirkpatrick had his shot blocked on the rush, the puck ricocheted to defenseman Joe Faust, who sent a pinpoint, cross-ice feed to Wolfe, who swatted it home on the backhand for his team leading fifth goal of the playoffs. Kirkpatrick and Faust collected the helpers on the play, the second point of the playoffs for Faust.
With less than two minutes to play in the second period, Adirondack scored again, finding the back of the net in the fourth different situation tonight with a 4-on-4 goal. With extra room on the ice, Dana Fraser and Ben Johnson executed a give-and-go in the offensive zone, with Fraser burying Johnson’s return feed for his second goal of the playoffs. Johnson and defenseman Patch Alber collected the assists on the play, the first multi-point game of the post season for Johnson.
The home side converted on the man advantage with 13:59 remaining in the third period. South Carolina winger Derek DeBlois weaved his way through the neutral zone through the Thunder defense and got a shot on net from the slot, which was turned aside by Appleby, but DeBlois collected his own rebound and put it home for his second goal of the playoffs. Defenseman Colton Saucerman and goaltender Mark Dekanich collected the assists on the play, the third assist in three games for Saucerman.
DeBlois connected again, this with a 4-on-4 goal, with 5:48 remaining in the third period to cut the Adirondack advantage to 5-4. As he entered the attacking zone on the rush, DeBlois fired a shot from the top of the left-hand circle that deflected off a skate in front and through Appleby’s fivehole. DeBlois’s tally was his second of the evening, while defensemen Nick Jones and Wade Epp collected the helpers on the play, the fifth point of the postseason for Jones.
All 2015-16 full and partial season ticket holders and 2016-17 full season ticket holders can get tickets to Round 2 of the playoffs at $14 per game, not including sales tax or facility fee, starting tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. Any 2015-16 or 2016-17 full season ticket holders should visit the Thunder front office (playoff extended hours of 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.) or call 518-480-3355 x1 to reserve their playoff location. Group tickets are also on sale now at the $14 per game rate. Any group can get tickets for all three Round One games by visiting the Thunder front office or by calling 518-480-3355 x1. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday, April 22 at 10:00 a.m. at the Glens Falls Civic Center Box Office.
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