Elmira, NY – The Adirondack Thunder completed the 2016-17 regular season on a high note as they defeated the Elmira Jackals by a 5-0 final on Saturday evening at First Arena. The victory gives the Thunder points in 11 straight games as they begin the Kelly Cup Playoffs next week.
Adirondack took a 2-0 lead through 20 minutes of play, thanks to a pair of 2-on-1 goals. First, just over three minutes into the game, forward Cameron Brown fed Dennis Kravchenko across the ice where the Adirondack center buried the puck from the bottom of the left-hand circle for the game’s first goal. Then, towards the end of the first period, Austin Orszulak carried the puck into the offensive zone, used his teammate as a decoy and fired past Elmira netminder Jason Kasdorf for his second career ECHL goal. Alex Wall and Patch Alber collected helpers on the play, Wall’s 39th of the season.
The Thunder increased their lead to three goals just nine seconds into the middle stanza as Orszulak buried his second of the evening. Off of a Cullen Bradshaw faceoff win in the neutral zone, the puck fell to an open Orzsulak, who skated in and beat Kasdorf on the glove side for a power-play goal. The tally was Orszulak’s third of his professional career with Bradshaw collecting his 17th assist of the season on the play.
Just over three minutes later, the visitors scored again as Gunnar Hughes found the back of the net at the 3:28 mark of the second period. With Adirondack just off of a successful penalty kill, Brandon Baddock collected the puck below the goal line and he fed Hughes in front for the goal, his 13th tally of the season. Baddock and forward Brian Ward collected the assists on the play, extending Ward’s point streak to 15 games, tied for the longest active scoring streak in the ECHL.
Adirondack again scored less than a minute into a period it opened up a five-goal lead just 50 seconds into the third period. After the Thunder entered the offensive zone on a 3-on-2 rush, Hughes saw his original shot turned away by Kasdorf, but the rebound went directly back to Hughes, who hit a wide-open Ward at the back post for the goal, his 27th of the season. Hughes has the lone assist on the play, giving him his first multi-point game of the season.With the victory, Adirondack concludes the regular season with a 41-20-7-4 record, good for 93 points and the North Division title. The Thunder’s opponent in the first round of the 2017 Kelly Cup Playoffs will be determined later this evening when other North Division games conclude.
With the victory, Adirondack concludes the regular season with a 41-20-7-4 record, good for 93 points and the North Division title. The Thunder will face the Manchester Monarchs in the first round of the ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs, a best of seven series, beginning Friday night in New Hampshire at 7:00 p.m.