Up North with the Thunder 9/21

Three days, three signings!  The Adirondack roster is starting to fill in quite nicely.

-First signing of the week: forward Paul Rodrigues.  He comes to the Thunder from Norfolk, where he scored 12 goals and assisted on 20 others in 57 games for the Admirals.  After finishing his collegiate career at SUNY Oswego, the native of Ontario started his pro career splitting time with Pensacola in the SPHL and South Carolina.  He is also the older brother of the Sabres’ Evan Rodrigues.

-Signing #2: After his rights were acquired by the Thunder in exchange for the rights to Phil Lane back on the 5th, Eric Neiley officially came to terms.

-And to finish it off, a big return for Adirondack: after spending a majority of last season with Syracuse during their run to the Calder Cup Finals, defenseman Mathieu Brodeur will return to the Thunder for a third season.  He began last season in Glens Falls, appearing in 15 games with 19 points, before being summoned to the Crunch in early December on a tryout agreement.  That PTO would eventually be replaced by a standard player contract for the remainder of the season.  In 56 games with the Crunch, Brodeur scored 3 goals and picked up 10 assists, then appeared in 22 games during the playoffs, adding one goal and three assists.

Now that we are getting closer to training camp (AHL camps will start opening over the next few days), let’s look at the Thunder roster so far:

Goaltenders: None.  I’m thinking one goalie from each organization–likely Ken Appleby and Nick Riopel–will split time between the pipes.

Defensemen: Mathieu Brodeur, Mike Bergin, Tim Boyle, Stephen Johnson, Kevin Lough, Conor Riley.

Forwards: J.C. Campagna, Tim Harrison, James Henry, Pierre-Luc Mercier, Eric Neiley, Austin Orszulak, Paul Rodrigues, Terrence Wallin, Brian Ward.

Now, in the ECHL, only 16 skaters and 2 goaltenders are eligible to play on any given night, unlike in the AHL and NHL, which use 18 skaters.  Right now Adirondack is at 15, before New Jersey and Tampa Bay even send down any of their prospects.

Once Binghamton and Syracuse release their training camp rosters–no one has yet to be assigned to either city–I may have a better idea of who may possibly join the Thunder come October.

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Up North with the Thunder 9/8

And more players join the fold in Glens Falls!  Let’s get you caught up with the latest.

-On Tuesday, the Thunder and the Atlanta Gladiators pulled off a 1 for 1 rights deal: forward Phil Lane’s rights were sent to Atlanta in exchange for the rights to forward Eric Neiley.  Neiley is coming off a career year in his second full pro season–in 61 games, the Pennsylvania native scored 27 goals and added 20 assists.  He also made six appearances with Providence, going scoreless.

Lane appeared in just 26 games for the Thunder due to injuries, but was productive in those appearances, scoring 10 times and picking up six assists.

-On Thursday, Adirondack signed forward Tim Harrison, who made his professional debut in Glens Falls late last season.  In four games, the native of Duxbury, MA picked up two assists after coming over from Colgate.

 

Up North with the Thunder 8/31

Closing out August with three more signings and the preseason schedule!

-The Thunder and Reading Royals will face off in a pair of games in early October.  On October 6th, the two teams will face off in Glens Falls at 7 PM.  Two days later, it’s off to Reading for a 4 PM Sunday afternoon rematch.

-As for the newest signings…two rookies and a returning vet join the fold:

-Forward Pierre-Luc Mercier joins Adirondack for his first professional season after a four year collegiate career at Bowling Green State.  Last season, he appeared in 40 games, scoring 6 goals and assisting on 13 others.

-Defenseman Stephen Johnson will also be starting his pro career in Glens Falls, after finishing four years at SUNY Oswego.  He appeared in 27 games in his senior season, picking up 7 goals and 23 assists.

-Finally, defenseman Mike Bergin will return to the Thunder for a third season.  He was limited to 27 games last season due to injuries, but managed to get on the scoresheet with 1 goal and 3 assists.

Up North with the Thunder 8/20

So I took a field trip to Glens Falls on Saturday afternoon…

Only signage so far with the new name.
Good to be freezing in a rink again!

 

 

The new signage outside the CIA.

-On Thursday, the lot outside the entrance to Cool Insuring Arena–which had been known as Civic Center Plaza–was renamed Bill Dineen Way, to honor the former Red Wings coach who passed away in December.

-Forward Brian Ward signed a one year contract on Friday, returning for a second season.  A key member of the offense, Ward started the season in Albany’s training camp, joined the Thunder in early October, and would lead Adirondack in goals with 27.  He would go on to finish his first full pro season with 49 points in 49 games.  He also made 8 appearances with the A-Devils, picking up one assist.  Ward was named the ECHL’s CCM Rookie of the Month for March 2017 after picking up 8 goals and 9 assists in 11 contests, including his first career hat trick.

 

Up North with the Thunder 8/2

It’s been a rather busy two days in Glens Falls…

Let there be ice.  I think the Thunder were the first pro team to install their ice for the upcoming season.

-Just before the ice was revealed yesterday afternoon, a fifth Thunder player joined the ranks, and it’s another returnee–forward Austin Orszulak, who joined Adirondack in early March after finishing his collegiate career at American International College in Massachusetts.  He appeared in 14 games with the Thunder, scoring three times and picking up four assists.  He also appeared in two games during the Kelly Cup playoffs.

-Earlier today, the Post-Star reported that head coach Cail McLean will not return to the Thunder for a third season behind the bench.  He amassed a 79-48-9-8 record since the Thunder joined the ECHL prior to the 2015-16 season, and lead Adirondack to playoff berths in both seasons, something a Glens Falls-based team was unable to do since the UHL’s Frostbite in the 2005-06 season.

UPDATE: Per a press release by the Thunder, McLean will be joining Stockton as an assistant coach.

 

Up North with the Thunder 7/23

Catching up with the latest from the North Country:

-A third signing was announced on Monday, and it’s another returnee: forward J.C. Campagna re-signs after spending his first 16 professional games with the Thunder at the end of last season.  He had previously played his last two seasons at the Canadian collegiate level with St. Thomas University.  He scored 10 points ( 4 goals, 6 assists) after joining Adirondack in early March.

-Joining Campagna is forward James Henry, who signed on Thursday.  He has spent his entire five year professional career in a Thunder uniform: two with Stockton, the last three with Adirondack.  In 65 games last season, he set career highs in goals (20) and assists (34), ranking second in team scoring behind captain Peter MacArthur.

 

Up North With The Thunder…So Far

What used to be a small paragraph at the end of every weekly recap is now going to become a (mostly) weekly column!

So…what have our friends up in the North Country been up to this offseason?  Quite a lot, actually.

The biggest news actually came back in late February, when the Adirondack Civic Center Coalition, a locally based ownership group, bought the franchise from Calgary, who had brought the team to Glens Falls prior to the 2014-15 season as an AHL franchise from Abbotsford.  The Flames, as they were known, then became part of the AHL west migration, and in turn Calgary’s ECHL team in Stockton would move in to the Civic Center to take its place, and was subsequently rebranded as the Adirondack Thunder.

With local ownership in place, the Coalition began the Keep Hockey Here  initiative, holding numerous fundraisers in the Glens Falls area to do just that.  A recent silent memorabilia auction called Raise the Rink brought in just over $25,000, and the coalition has a dodgeball tournament and a document shredding event scheduled for later in July.

On Tuesday, the Glens Falls Civic Center officially became the Cool Insuring Arena, a name that will stay in place for the next five years.  This is the first name change for the Civic Center, which has been open since 1979.  Cool Insuring is a local insurance agency established by the first mayor of Glens Falls, Charles Cool, back in the late 1870s, and has offices in nearby Queensbury and in Latham (just north of Albany).

As for on-ice?  There’s going to be a new look there as well.

The Thunder are currently without an NHL/AHL affiliation, as Calgary and Stockton have teamed up with the Kansas City Mavericks.  They are one of just three ECHL franchises (Tulsa and Fort Wayne the others) not affiliated.  The other NHL/AHL partnerships without ECHL affiliates, if one wanted to speculate: Ottawa/Belleville, Florida/Springfield (although they sent players to Manchester last season), Arizona/Tucson, St. Louis/Chicago, Tampa Bay/Syracuse, and New Jersey/Binghamton, who while in Albany had a “handshake” agreement to send players north.  No word yet on whether that partnership will continue with the relocation.

Eight Thunder players have already moved on to other teams:

-Defenseman Alex Wall signed with Frisk Asker (Norway)

-Defenseman Roman Dyukov joined Dinamo Minsk (KHL)

-Forward Greg Wolfe signed with Sparta Sarpsborg (Norway)

-Forward Cullen Bradshaw joined Kallinge/Ronneby IF (Sweden Div. 1)

-Forward Dennis Kravchenko stayed in the ECHL and signed with Fort Wayne

-Forward Brock Montgomery signed on with Tilburg (Germany)

-Defenseman Stepan Falkovsky signed with the Kings

-Defenseman Keegan Kanzig was traded to Carolina as part of the Eddie Lack deal.

As far as this year’s roster?  So far two players have signed on for the 2017-18 season:

First to sign is a returnee from last year’s team, second year pro Kevin Lough.  He appeared in 51 games for the Thunder during his rookie season, putting up 18 points (4 goals, 14 assists).  He also made one appearance on a PTO with Binghamton late in the season.

Second is forward Terrence Wallin, who split last season between Adirondack and Rapid City.  After two scoreless appearances with the Thunder in October, he spent the majority of the year with the Rush, picking up 31 points (12 goals, 17 assists) in 47 games.

Then there’s the schedule.  It’s a very…interesting one.

Unlike the AHL, where all teams play each other an even number of times at home and on the road, the ECHL has an unbalanced slate.

For example, the Thunder will play the newest ECHL team, Worcester, 12 times.  The Railers go to Glens Falls 7 times, but Adirondack only goes to Massachusetts 5 times.  Same with Manchester: seven trips to New Hampshire, but only 5 home matchups with the Monarchs.

Also unlike the AHL (well, with the exception of the Pennsylvania teams this season), the Thunder will see opponents outside the Northeast corridor, with three Midwestern teams–Quad City, Fort Wayne, and Toledo–being first time opponents.

The longest homestand will be seven games, from November 25th-December 15th.  That follows the longest road trip of the season, a brutal 12 game swing from October 29th-November 24th that sees the Thunder go to 9 different cities.