GLENS FALLS, N.Y. − The Thunder are heading into their first three games-in-three days weekend of the year, starting Friday at home against the Worcester Railers.
Adirondack, currently second in the ECHL’s North Division, travels to Maine on Saturday before coming home Sunday for a 3 p.m. rematch against Worcester.
The Thunder (5-3-0-1) have gotten off to a strong start, thanks largely to the solid goaltending tandem of Michael McNiven (3-1, 1.75 goals against average), the league’s reigning Goaltender of the Week who already has two shutouts, and Eamon McAdam (2-2, 2.19 GAA), a former New York Islanders draft pick who stopped 43 of 44 shots in a tough 1-0 loss at Reading on Sunday.
The afternoon contest was played following a long bus ride through the night after Adirondack defeated the Railers on Saturday night. Coach Alex Loh didn’t use that as an excuse for the Thunder loss.
“Sunday games are part of the business,” he said. “Nobody was ready to play when the game started except Eamon. We’ve got to do a better job.”
The weekend slate is a big one as only four points separate the division’s top four teams.
Suddenly, there’s somewhat of a logjam in the Thunder net as goaltender Evan Cormier was reassigned to Adirondack on Thursday from Binghamton of the AHL. The problem is good one to have as no team ever has enough good goaltending, especially with three games in three days.
Cormier, 22, played in six regular-season contests with Adirondack last season, while also starting in two playoff games. The Bowmanville, ON native posted a 3.87 goals-against average and a .875 save percentage in those six regular-season matchups. This season with Binghamton, Cormier has played in six games and has a 3.39 goals against average and .901 save percentage. He signed an NHL contract with the New Jersey Devils following a short stint at the University of Guelph last season.
Loh firmly believes the ECHL is now a legitimate development league and that the North Division in particular has many of the best players. It’s geographically situated close to several AHL franchises, which makes it easier for players to get called up to the next level.
In contrast, some older players sign with Southern teams in warmer climates as a good way to finish out their careers.
“This is the toughest division in the league,” Loh said. “Young, hungry guys come here out of juniors and college. They can come to this level, improve and can make it all the way up to the NHL.”
Adirondack is the New Jersey Devils’ ECHL affiliate.
“It’s good to know if you perform well that you could get called up,” forward Matt Salhany said. “It’s a tough business. You’ve got to show up every day and earn your playing time.”
NOTES: Sunday is Marvel Super Hero Day. The Thunder will wear special jerseys and fans will get to meet Spider-Man.