Friday Headlines!

Before the weekend begins…let’s catch up on the news of the week!

-Add another rookie to the Thunder ranks, as forward Shane Eisenman was signed on Tuesday.  The native of Massachusetts will begin his professional career after spending 4 years at New Hampshire.  Eisenman appeared in 28 games in his senior season with the Wildcats, picking up 5 goals and 5 assists.  In 120 career collegiate games, he scored 16 goals and assisted on 33 others.  Eisenman is a former Ottawa draft pick, being selected in the 4th round of the 2014 NHL Draft by the Senators while playing for Dubuque of the USHL.

-Forward Brian Ward, who has spent the last two seasons with the Thunder, was rewarded on Thursday with an AHL contract, signing with Binghamton.  He lead all Adirondack skaters with 30 goals last season, finishing third on the team with 53 points in 59 games, followed by another 9 points in 17 postseason appearances.  He also had two separate AHL PTOs: one game with Utica, then two games with Providence, where he picked up an assist.  Ward is no stranger to the AHL Devils–he appeared in 8 games with the Albany Devils in 2016-17, picking up one assist.  Since Adirondack extended Ward a qualifying offer during the offseason, his ECHL rights will stay in Glens Falls.

-Now for some promotions to look forward to in the 2018 portion of the Thunder schedule…

Three specialty jerseys: Military Appreciation on October 27th, with a postgame auction; Hockey Fights Type 1 Diabetes Night on November 24th, which will be warmup jerseys available via silent auction; and Marvel Black Panther on December 15th, available by raffle.

December 15th will also be the annual Teddy Bear Toss.

The annual New Year’s Eve home game is also on tap, with a special 2 for $20.19 ticket special.

December 8th features a coat drive, with all donors receiving a ticket to a game in early January, and a post game skate with the team.

Finally, in case you missed my other works recently:

-Over at Raw Charge, I previewed the AHL’s North Division and used my schedule breakdown skills on OrlandoTwice.

-And in my 2018-19 season debut for Inside AHL Hockey ($), a summary of what has happened in Binghamton this summer.

 

 

 

We Can Has A Goalie?

Now that I’m finished introducing every signing so far…there has been a pair of transactions over the past two days, as we get closer to the start of camp:

-On Tuesday, a trade with Maine saw forward Terrence Wallin go from the Thunder to the Mariners, while in exchange Adirondack receives defenseman Matias Cleland.  Cleland is a 24-year-old defenseman who split his first professional season last year between Orlando and Reading.  In a combined 67 games, the Colorado native had 2 goals and 15 assists.  He also appeared in four playoff games for the Royals, going scoreless.  Prior to turning pro, Cleland spent four years at New Hampshire, then made his pro debut with Wheeling late in the 2016-17 season.  Wallin had a breakout season with the Thunder last year, putting up 21 goals and 29 assists in 59 games, and an additional 6 goals and 4 assists in 17 Kelly Cup playoff contests.  He would also make his AHL debut with Binghamton midseason, going scoreless in 4 games.  Wallin is also a co-founder of Major 4 Sports, a website “for fans by athletes” that covers both pro and college sports, along with pieces by former teammates.

-Wednesday, a goaltender has finally joined the Thunder ranks, with the signing of Colton Phinney.  Phinney comes to Glens Falls after splitting his first pro season between Jacksonville and Indy.  He began the year with the IceMen, going 4-8-2 with a 3.25 GAA and .886 save percentage, then would join the Fuel late in the season, making one appearance on March 11th and getting the win against Toledo.  He would also appear in one game for Manitoba, getting the loss.  Prior to last season, the New Jersey native played four years for Princeton.

Playing Catchup: You Must Be New Here.

In the final (for now) playing catchup post, let’s meet another group of players that will suit up for the Thunder for the first time in October.

Jordan McNaughton

McNaughton is a 24-year-old defenseman who will be making his North American pro debut this fall.  Last season, he appeared in 18 games for Marseille in France, picking up 15 points (3 G, 12 A), and an additional 3 goals and 3 assists in 5 playoff games.  The Ontario native took 2016-17 off after playing one season for Mount Royal University, and two seasons in the Maritime (Jr. A) Hockey League with Truro.

Matt Salhany

Salhany joins the Thunder after splitting last season between Reading and South Carolina.  The 25-year-old forward began the year with a 5 game stint with the Royals, going scoreless.  He joined the Stingrays in mid-December and appeared in 20 games, with 1 goal and 2 assists.  Prior to turning pro, the Rhode Island native played collegiately with the University of Alabama-Huntsville.

Michael Sdao

The most experienced professional on the Thunder roster, Sdao comes to Glens Falls by way of Rapid City, where he appeared in 30 games for the Rush, going scoreless.  The 29-year-old defenseman is a former 7th round pick by Ottawa, and Binghamton fans may remember him from his 2+ seasons in the Southern Tier.  Prior to turning pro, the Colorado native spent 4 years at Princeton.

As of this writing, the Thunder roster now sits at 16 players signed–11 forwards, 5 defensemen.  The goaltending situation is a little unpredictable at this point, with Cory Schneider not ready to start the season in New Jersey.  Mackenzie Blackwood and rookie Cam Johnson will likely both be starting the season in Binghamton, leaving Adirondack to find some temporary help between the pipes until that situation is settled.

Binghamton also has three players–two who have spent time with the Thunder–on AHL deals that are also candidates to come down depending on camp: forward Ryan Schmelzer, who made a splash during the Kelly Cup Playoffs and lead the Thunder in playoff scoring; forward John Edwardh, who appeared in 3 games late in Adirondack’s season; and defenseman Tariq Hammond, a free agent signee from the University of Denver.

Playing Catchup: Getting The Band Back Together, Part 2

In this edition of Playing Catchup, more player capsules!

So who’s returning from last year’s Thunder?  As of this writing, there are six returnees from last year’s North Division champs.

James Henry

The only holdover from the team’s days in Stockton, Henry returns for his fourth season in Glens Falls, and sixth overall as a Thunder skater.  He would appear in all 72 games for Adirondack last season, with 19 goals and 35 assists, and he was named as an ECHL All Star replacement after an injury to Ty Loney.  He would score two goals and pick up 13 assists in 17 Kelly Cup playoff games.  Henry also became the franchise’s all time leading scorer, and will enter the season with 148 career Adirondack points.

Shane Conacher

Conacher returns for his second full season with the Thunder on an ECHL contract after a huge year offensively.  He would finish 2017-18 as the team’s leading scorer, with 20 goals and 43 assists in 55 games, while on an AHL/ECHL pact with Syracuse.  He would also appear in 10 games for the Crunch, going scoreless.  He played in 7 playoff games with 2 goals, before a leg injury during the second round against Manchester ended his season.

Conor Riley

Back for his third season is Riley, who had a solid second full year.  In 58 games, he scored 5 goals and added 14 assists, while having to play out of his natural position-defense-in several games due to injuries and recalls.  In the postseason, Riley would appear in 13 games with 1 goal and 4 assists.

Blake Thompson

Thompson began his first professional season with Cincinnati, but would come over to the Thunder via a trade in mid-December.  He would appear in 44 games for Adirondack, with one goal and six assists.  He played in 10 playoff games with an additional goal and three assists.

Desmond Bergin

Bergin returns to the Thunder for his second season after a breakout 2017-18 campaign, his second as a pro.  In 65 games, the defenseman would score 15 goals and add 28 assists, then added 7 points in 11 playoff games.  He would also make his AHL debut, skating in two games for Hartford and going scoreless.

Mike Szmatula

Szmatula returns for his first full professional season after joining the Thunder in late March  from the University of Minnesota.  He would pick up two assists in 6 regular season games, then appear in all 17 playoff games, scoring his first pro goal in Game 3 of the first round in Worcester.  He would finish with 5 goals and 3 assists for the postseason.

 

Playing Catchup: Getting the Band Back Together, Part 1

Let’s continue our catching up series and meet more Thunder signees!

Today, we’re focusing on some of the returning players.

In part one, these three skaters are returning to Glens Falls after spending the 2017-18 season somewhere else:

Peter MacArthur

The first official signing of the 2018 offseason, MacArthur returns to his hometown Thunder after spending last season with the Allen Americans.  He appeared in just 22 games last season, with 5 goals and 8 assists.  In 2016-17, the native of Clifton Park served as Thunder captain and picked up 63 points (24 G, 39 A) in 63 games, then had a goal and an assist in 6 playoff games.

Cullen Bradshaw

Bradshaw returns to the Thunder after spending last season overseas with two different European teams.  The native of Medicine Hat, Alberta, appeared in 20 games for Kallinge/Ronneby IF in Sweden’s Division 1, with 6 goals and 7 assists.  Bradshaw would then appear in 13 games for Brest in France, picking up 5 goals and 4 helpers.  In 2016-17, he appeared in 30 games for Adirondack after starting the season with the SPHL’s Mississippi RiverKings, picking up 24 points (7 goals, 17 assists), then appearing in 5 playoff games with one goal.

Dennis Kravchenko

Kravchenko returns to where his professional career began in 2016-17, after spending last season in Fort Wayne.  The native of California appeared in 50 games for the Komets last season, scoring 19 goals and adding 27 assists.  He would also appear in 11 playoff games, with 2 goals and 6 assists.  Kravchenko spent his rookie season in Glens Falls after two years at UMass-Amherst, and he would become a key member of the offense–in 41 games, he scored 17 goals and assisted on 25 others, then added four goals in 6 playoff games.

Playing Catchup: The Rookie Class

In the latest installment of getting everyone caught up before the season, we’ll introduce you to several first year players the Thunder have brought in for this season.  As of this writing, a total of 4 signees will be starting their professional careers in Glens Falls this fall.  Now for a little background on each of them:

Daniel Perigo, F

Perigo, the second player signed this offseason, comes to the Thunder by way of the University of Waterloo in Canada.  The 24-year-old native of Nova Scotia appeared in 28 games last season for the Warriors, scoring 6 goals and picking up 15 assists.  Prior to attending Waterloo, Perigo played four seasons for the MHL’s Truro Bearcats, and had a brief 6 game appearance for the QMJHL’s PEI Rocket.

Jakob Reichert, F

Reichert, checking in at 6’5″ and 227 pounds, comes to Adirondack after finishing a four year collegiate career with Bowling Green State University, where he was a teammate of former Thunder players Pierre-Luc Mercier and Tomas Sholl.  In 2017-18, the 24-year-old only appeared in seven games for the Falcons, with just one assist, and was named to the WCHA All-Academic team for the third time.

Nikolas Olsson, F

Olsson is a 24-year-old California native who just completed a four year collegiate career at Boston University.  In his senior season, he appeared in 30 games for the Terriers, picking up 3 assists and serving as an assistant captain.  Before joining BU, Olsson spent two years in the U.S. National Development Program, then spent two seasons with the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers.

Jake Linhart, D

Linhart, a 22-year-old Wisconsin native, joins the Thunder after finishing four years as a Wisconsin Badger.  In his senior season in 17-18, he appeared in all 37 games, scoring once and adding 12 assists, while serving as an alternate captain.  After his college season ended, he signed an amateur tryout deal with Rochester on March 11th, but would not dress.  Prior to Wisconsin, Linhart spent two seasons with the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers.

 

Playing Catchup: The Coaches

In the first of many “let’s get everyone caught up on the Thunder offseason news” posts, let’s first begin at the top, as the look behind the bench is a lot different than it was last season.

-After a successful head coaching debut that saw his team finish one round shy of the Kelly Cup Finals, Brad Tapper was hired as an assistant coach by the Grand Rapids Griffins in early July.  As the second head coach in ECHL Adirondack history, Tapper finished with a 41-24-3-4 regular season record, and carried a Glens Falls-based franchise to a conference final for the first time since the AHL’s Adirondack Red Wings won the Calder Cup in 1992.

-As for Tapper’s replacement, the Thunder did not have to look very far, as associate coach Alex Loh was promoted to head coach and Director of Hockey Operations.  This will be Loh’s first head coaching opportunity after being an assistant with the Thunder since the team moved from Stockton in 2015, moving up to the Associate Coach role last season.  Before joining Adirondack, Loh spent three years with the Portland Pirates on their coaching staff, and has amateur coaching experience at both the high school and college levels.

Recently the new coach became the first guest on the new Thunder podcast, hosted by team broadcaster Evan Pivnick:

-So who would replace Loh as the associate coach?  How about the son of a former Glens Falls coaching legend with an extensive background as a player, coach, and scout?

The name Dineen is very well known in the Glens Falls region, thanks to former legendary Red Wings coach Bill Dineen, whose name now hangs in a banner in the Cool Insuring Arena’s rafters, and the road outside the entrance to the building now bears his name.  His son Pete will now continue the coaching tradition in the North Country as Loh’s associate coach.  The younger Dineen brings quite the resume to the table: 25 years as a professional scout for five different NHL teams, three years as head coach for the IHL’s Houston Aeros in the mid-1990’s, and a 11 year playing career in the AHL, IHL, and NHL.  He was a member of the Adirondack Red Wings’ 1989 Calder Cup champion squad.

As we get closer to training camp, I’ll have player capsules coming up.  So far the Thunder have nine forwards and three defensemen under contract, with six of those players returning to the team, two after a one year layoff.