GLENS FALLS, NY – John Edwardh recorded Adirondack’s first hat trick in nearly two years and an early first-period surge led the Thunder past Wheeling by a 5-3 final Wednesday night at Cool Insuring Arena.
Edwardh tallied his first of the night to give the Thunder a 2-0 lead at 5:05 of the opening period. Brian Ward held the puck behind the Wheeling net and slid a pass to Edwardh at the left faceoff circle. The UMass-Lowell product collected and beat Nailers goaltender John Muse for the rookie’s tenth score of the season.
The 23-year-old made it a pair early on in the middle frame with a deft floating shot over Muse. After Ward’s offensive-zone faceoff win, Edwardh collected the puck and carried to the red-line extended. He put a perfectly placed floating wrister over the right shoulder of Muse to extend the Thunder advantage to 4-1.
Edwardh finished off the hat trick with an empty-netter at the end of the third. James Henry tussled with the Nailers defenseman Josh Couturier, won the puck battle and left a no-look pass to a streaking Edwardh who finished for the Thunder’s first hat trick since March 11, 2017 when Pete MacArthur completed the task against Manchester.
Matias Cleland’s second score of the season got the Thunder on the board just over two minutes into the game. After a nice check from Alex Carrier to keep the puck in the zone, Cleland collected and appeared to be headed behind the Wheeling net. Instead, he tossed a bad-angle shot from the goal-line extended that snuck by Muse to give Adirondack a 1-0 lead.
After Edwardh’s first, Mike Szmatula extended the Thunder lead to 3-0 with a highlight reel goal, his team-leading 15th of the season. Cullen Bradshaw fed the rookie forward at the edge of the left faceoff circle and Szmatula did the rest of the work. After a forehand-backhand deke, the ECHL All-Star roofed his backhand shot over the shoulder of Muse for a 3-0 lead.
Wheeling found some success on the power play as Yushiroh Hirano and Michael Phillips converted on the man advantage. Defenseman Aaron Titcomb finished the Nailers scoring with a blast from the right point after Edwardh had completed Adirondack’s scoring.
Alex Sakellaropoulos made 25 saves in net to collect the win after he was released from his PTO with the AHL’s Utica Comets earlier this week.
The two teams will meet again Friday evening for their final matchup of the season. For the latest Thunder news, follow the team on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @ECHLThunder.
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