Split in St. John’s

The latest up north after a 2-1 road trip to start the regular season:

-Congratulations are in order for forward John Edwardh, who took the first ECHL Player of the Week honors for this season.  In his lone appearance on Saturday, he put up two goals and two assists in a 6-3 win over Maine.

-The first signing of the regular season is a familiar name to both Thunder and A-Devils fans, as forward Alexandre Carrier joins the team.  The Quebec native split last season between Atlanta and Allen, where in a combined 59 games he picked up three goals and nine assists.  Since turning pro in 2011, Carrier has mostly bounced around the ECHL, playing for Trenton, Elmira, Wheeling, Orlando, and Utah.  He spent parts of two seasons with the Albany Devils, appearing in a combined 18 games with no points.  In 2015-16, he appeared in 47 games for the Thunder, with 5 goals, 8 assists, and 108 penalty minutes.

-And a reinforcement has been brought in from Binghamton, as defenseman Tariq Hammond was sent down.  Hammond made the Binghamton roster out of camp, but had yet to make an appearance in a game this season.  Last season, he appeared in 5 games for Binghamton after finishing his collegiate career at the University of Denver, with one assist.

Now to recap the two game set against the expansion Newfoundland Growlers…and it was a tale of two Thunder teams as Adirondack earned the split.

On Tuesday night, the Thunder fell behind early and could not recover, dropping a 7-3 decision.  The Growlers scored on a very early power play 58 seconds into the contest, then doubled their lead 6:05 in on a Brady Ferguson goal.  Peter MacArthur was awarded a penalty shot late in the first, but was denied by Growlers goaltender Michael Garteig. Newfoundland made it 3-0 21 seconds into the second, then Edwardh’s third goal got the Thunder to within 3-1.  After Ferguson’s second goal of the night pushed the Growlers ahead 4-1, Conor Riley scored his second to cut the lead to 4-2.  Newfoundland put the game away late in the period on back to back goals by Sam Babintsev and Ryan Moore for a 6-2 lead, chasing Thunder starter Colton Phinney in favor of Alex Sakellaropoulos.  Shane Conacher’s second goal of the season early in the third brought the Thunder to within 6-3, but Newfoundland scored the extra point with a Scott Pooley goal with 4:29 to go in regulation.

Phinney finished with 20 saves on 26 shots in 40 minutes, while Sakellaropoulos only faced four shots, stopping three.  Four Thunder skaters had one assist each.

In the rematch on Wednesday, with a few lineup changes due to injuries the night before, the Thunder earned the split with a 6-4 win.  Matt Salhany drew into the lineup for the first time this season, and scored twice in the first period.  After the Growlers tied the game at two early in the second, Adirondack scored three unanswered goals in a span of 6:40: Conacher and Riley each picked up their third goals, while Shane Eiserman scored in his professional debut late in the period.  Newfoundland made it a game late in the third, scoring twice to cut the lead to 5-4 with 24 seconds remaining, but Conacher scored into an empty net with 3 seconds on the clock to clinch it.  Sakellaropoulos picked up the win in net, stopping 27 of 31 shots.  Cullen Bradshaw added two assists.

The Thunder return home on Saturday, kicking off a home and home series against Brampton.  The two teams will immediately hop their respective buses after the game and head southwest to Ontario for the rematch on Sunday afternoon.

Weekend Coverage…and I did things…

One live game for me this weekend, and of course it will be the Thunder home opener.

And if you missed my other works this week:

-For Inside AHL Hockey ($), I recapped Binghamton’s week that was and how the Checkers spoiled Syracuse’s home opener.

-And in my first October appearance for Raw Charge, I recapped Orlando’s first two games of the season.

November by the Numbers

It’s the end of November, which means…

Time for the monthly Thunder progress report!

(all stats through November 30th)

Record: 9-8-1-1, 20 points.  4th place in North Division, 8th in Eastern Conference, 15th overall.

Home: 3-3-0-0.  Road: 6-5-1-1.

Individual Leaders:

Top 5 Scorers:

Ty Loney, 20 pts; Shane Conacher, 17 pts; James Henry, 15 pts; 2 tied with 14 pts

Goals: Ty Loney, 12

Assists: Shane Conacher, 14

Plus/Minus: Desmond Bergin, +7

Penalty Minutes: Eric Neiley, 36

Power Play Goals: Ty Loney, 5

Shorthanded Goals: 4 tied with 1

Game Winning Goals: Paul Rodrigues, 2

Shots: Ty Loney, 62

Wins: Nick Riopel, 6

GAA: Nick Riopel, 3.79

Save Percentage: Nick Riopel, .882

Team Statistics:

Attendance: 3,003/game, 23rd.

Penalty Minutes: 243 in 19 games, avg 12.79/game, 21st.

Power Play: 22.0%, 4th.  Penalty Kill: 78.8%, 24th.

Goals For/Game: 3.42, 8th.  Goals Against/Game: 3.58, 22nd.

Shots For/Game: 33.47, 10th.  Shots Against/Game: 31.63, 13th.

ECHL Individual Leaders:

Points: Ty Loney tied for 6th (20)

Goals: Ty Loney 2nd (12)

Power Play Goals: Ty Loney tied for 1st (5)

Losses, Goaltender: Nick Riopel tied for 3rd (6)

Minutes, Goaltender: Nick Riopel 3rd (744)

Rookie Scoring: Pierre-Luc Mercier tied for 6th (14)

And before we kick off the December slate, a few blueline changes:

-With Daniel Walcott getting injured in Wednesday’s Crunch win in Toronto, Mathieu Brodeur is going back to Syracuse on a PTO.  This will be Brodeur’s second PTO of the season, after appearing in 7 games with Springfield to start the year.  Since returning to the Thunder, he has appeared in 12 games, going scoreless with a +1 rating.

-Taking Brodeur’s place on the roster will be rookie defensemen Matthew Spencer, who will be starting his second Thunder stint.  He had appeared in three games during the road trip in early November, going scoreless.  Since returning to the Crunch, he has only appeared in two games, not seeing action since November 24th vs. Wilkes-Barre.

-And one more to add to the blue line: second year pro Vytal Cote has signed a standard contract.  The 22 year old Florida native started the season with the SPHL’s Mississippi Riverkings, appearing in 10 games with 3 goals and 3 assists.  He began his pro career last season with Fayetteville and Evansville of the SPHL, playing in a combined 50 games with 2 goals and 9 assists.

Up North with the Thunder 11/22

Yeah, it’s about time I updated this thing.

With one game to go on the Epic Road Trip–record after 11 games is 6-4-0-1–there have been a couple of changes to the roster:

-First, overnight Friday into Saturday, Adirondack struck a trade with Orlando, sending rookie forward J.C. Campagna to the Solar Bears for forward Andrew Radjenovic.

Radjenovic, a 26-year-old Ontario native, is in his second ECHL season, and already on his third team.  He started the year with Cincinnati, appearing in 10 games and scoring twice, before being acquired by Orlando and not dressing for any games.  He has prior ECHL experience with Bakersfield in 2014-15, with 8 points in 22 games.

Campagna had appeared in 12 games for the Thunder before the trade, with 3 goals and 6 assists.  He already has two assists in 2 games so far for the Solar Bears.

-Earlier today, the first non-Binghamton/Syracuse AHL callup, as forward Brian Ward was signed to a PTO with Utica.  This is Ward’s third AHL team in three seasons, having previously appeared in one game for Charlotte in 2015-16 and 8 games for Albany in 2016-17.

Ward is one of six Adirondack skaters to appear in all 17 games so far.  In those 17 games, he has 5 goals and 6 assists.

Reverse Goalie Swap 11/13

So the current #1 goaltender in the ECHL gets a recall to the AHL.  Sounds like a nice reward for a job well done, right?  Or a “let’s see what you can do at the next level” story?

In this case, a rookie backup gets sent down for the weekend to regain some confidence, plays three games in three days, and turns into a virtual brick wall.

After a three game in three day stretch that saw him give up just four goals–not counting a shootout winner–goaltender Connor Ingram was recalled to Syracuse on Monday.  All he did was go 2-0-0-1 with a 1.30 GAA and a .960 save percentage, which currently tops the ECHL among goalies that have played at least 3 games/180 minutes.

Programming alert: tomorrow on my weekly visit to Raw Charge, I’ll have more on Ingram’s weekend, including GIFs!

With Ingram returning to the Crunch, Nick Riopel’s one game stint as backup to Michael Leighton came to an end, and he will return to the Thunder net.

Also recalled to Syracuse: defenseman Matthew Spencer, who also appeared in all 3 Thunder games this weekend as well, going scoreless and +1.  He was paired for most of the weekend with former Crunch defenseman Mathieu Brodeur, incase anyone in Crunchland was wondering.

One other trade I missed from Thursday: a few hours after the Crunch sent down Ingram and Spencer, the Thunder acquired forward Ben Murphy from Norfolk in exchange for defenseman Ryan Segalla.   In 9 games for Norfolk this season, the Massachusetts native has one goal and one assist.  He made his professional debut late in the 2015-16 season with Tulsa after finishing a four year collegiate career at Bowling Green State, where he was a teammate of current Thunder forward Pierre Luc Mercier.  Last season, he appeared in 16 games for Tulsa and 49 games for Norfolk, with a combined 16 goals and 15 assists.  Segalla appeared in 4 games for the Thunder, with 0 goals and 4 assists.

Up North with the Thunder 11/10

Or should I really say, out west with the Thunder, with the road trip still happening.  But anyway, I digress.

There’s going to be a couple of new faces in the Adirondack lineup as they embark on their second three in three weekend of the season:

-On Thursday, Syracuse sent down goaltender Connor Ingram and defenseman Matthew Spencer to the Thunder.  With the Crunch only playing four games in the next 8 days, while Adirondack has 6 games in the same timespan, the plan is for both players to get some extra game action in, much like Colton White did at the end of October with his three game appearance before returning to a regular spot in Binghamton’s lineup.

Ingram has made six appearances for the Crunch thus far, going 1-3-1 with a 3.36 GAA and .860 save percentage.  He last started on Saturday in Laval, taking a 5-2 loss against the Rocket.

Spencer has appeared in just two games for Syracuse thus far, with no points and a -1 rating.  He last played on October 28th in Rochester.

To take Ingram’s spot, Nick Riopel was recalled to the Crunch and  will back up Michael Leighton on Saturday at home against Charlotte.  How long he stays up remains to be seen.

-This may not be the only roster action we’ll see before the weekend is out.  By Sunday at 3:00 PM, all 27 ECHL teams must lower their roster limit from 21 to 20 players.  With a seemingly different Thunder lineup every week so far–27 different players, goaltenders included, have made at least one appearance, with 8 appearing in all 10 games thus far–this will be an interesting decision to see who ends up on the chopping block.

Up North with the Thunder 11/4

A quick update on Adirondack as the Epic Road Trip of 2017 continues:

-One transaction to report: after starting the regular season on a PTO with Springfield, defenseman Mathieu Brodeur officially returned to the Thunder on Friday, joining the team in Indiana.  Brodeur appeared in 7 games for the Thunderbirds, picking up one assist and 17 penalty minutes.  He’ll take over for defenseman Ryan Segalla, who was placed on reserve.

-Remember when the ECHL announced its partnership with Marvel?  Well, the Thunder revealed which jerseys they will be sporting on November 25th.  Here’s a hint:

Naturally, when you’re the Thunder, you get the Thor jerseys, as shown in this ECHL press photo. And they’re not bad.  You’ll have the chance to bid on them via MeiGray.com at a later date.

October By the Numbers

We’ll call this the monthly Adirondack progress report.

So how have the Thunder fared through the first month of the season?  Let’s see where they rank as a team and among their ECHL colleagues.

(all stats through October 31st)

Record: 3-3-1-0, 7 points.  5th place in North Division, 7th place in Eastern Conference, 14th overall.

Home: 3-2-0-0.  Away: 0-1-1-0.

Individual Leaders:

Top 5 Scorers:

Eric Neiley, 10 pts; Ty Loney, 9 pts; J.C. Campagna, 8 pts; Pierre-Luc Mercier, 7 pts; Desmond Bergin, 6 pts

Goals: Eric Neiley/Ty Loney, 4

Assists: 3 tied with 6

Plus/Minus: Desmond Bergin, +3

Penalty Minutes: Mike Bergin, 14

Power Play Goals: 6 tied with 1

Shorthanded Goals: None

Game Winning Goals: Ty Loney/Desmond Bergin, 1

Shots: J.C. Campagna, 30

Wins: Nick Riopel, 2

GAA: Drew Fielding, 4.65

Save Percentage: Nick Riopel, .848

Team Statistics:

Attendance: 2,635/game, 25th.

Penalty Minutes: 105 in 7 games, avg 15 min/game, 18th.

Power Play: 18.8%, 8th.  Penalty Kill: 73.3%, 26th.

Goals For/Game: 4.29, 3rd.  Goals Against/Game: 5.14, 27th.

Shots For/Game: 36.29, 8th.  Shots Against/Game: 32.86, 13th.

ECHL Individual Leaders:

Points: Eric Neiley tied for 3rd (10), Ty Loney tied for 4th (9)

Shots: J.C. Campagna, tied for 2nd (30)

Shooting Pct, minimum 3 SH: Troy Bourke, 1st (66.7%)

Shootout Goals: J.C. Campagna, tied for 1st (1)

Shootout Pct, minimum 1 ATT: J.C. Campagna, tied for 1st (100%)

Shootout Winning Goals: J.C. Campagna, tied for 1st (1)

Minutes, Goaltender: Nick Riopel, 1st (329)

Saves, Goaltender: Nick Riopel, tied for 2nd (156)

Shootout Wins: Nick Riopel, tied for 1st (1)

Shootout Pct, minimum 1 ATT: Nick Riopel, tied for 1st (1.000)

Rookie Scoring: J.C. Campagna, tied for 2nd (8); Pierre-Luc Mercier, tied for 3rd (7)

Rookie Assists: J.C. Campagna & Pierre-Luc Mercier, tied for 2nd (6)

Rookie Shots: J.C. Campagna, 1st (30)

Rookie Shootout Goals: J.C. Campagna, 1st (1)

Rookie Shootout Pct, minimum 1 ATT: J.C. Campagna, 1st (100%)

Rookie Shootout Winning Goals: J.C. Campagna, 1st (1)

Defensemen Scoring: Desmond Bergin, tied for 3rd (6)

In Other News…

After a three game stint with one goal scored, rookie defenseman Colton White is headed back up to Binghamton, after Tim Erixon was released from his PTO.  This leaves rookie forward Chris Calnan as the lone Devil assignment in Adirondack, now that it appears Ken Appleby will not be returning after the trade of Scott Wedgewood to Arizona on Saturday.