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Adirondack Thunder’s season ends in Eastern Conference finals

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GLENS FALLS — The Adirondack Thunder fell 3-2 to the Florida Everblades in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday evening Cool Insuring Arena. With the defeat, Adirondack’s record-setting season comes to a close while Florida advances to the 2018 Kelly Cup Finals.

Forward Mike Szmatula and defenseman Colton White found the back of the net in the loss. Goaltender Drew Fielding made 18 saves as he moved to 5-5 in the 2018 postseason.

The Everblades opened the scoring less than three minutes into the game as defenseman Matt Mackenzie collected his first goal of the 2018 playoffs. After forward Sam Warning fed Mackenzie at the left point, the Florida blueliner weaved through the slot and, after his first shot was kicked aside by Fielding, he snagged the rebound and tapped it in for the game-opening goal. Warning and forward David Dziurzynski collected the assists on the play, Warning’s seventh of the postseason.

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Florida tacked on two more goals to take a 3-0 lead into the intermission. First, 7:37 into the game, forward Michael Kirkpatrick collected his league-leading tenth tally of the 2018 playoffs as he took a feed through traffic from defenseman Gus Young and beat Fielding on the glove side for the goal. The visitors struck again with 5:52 remaining in the opening period as forward Mitchell Heard took a feed from Dziurzynski in front and went forehand-to-backhand for his sixth goal of the postseason, which came on the man advantage.

Adirondack came back to score twice in the third period to move to within a goal. First, 2:39 into the third period, forward Ryan Schmelzer sent a spin-o-rama pass to Szmatula at the back post for a tap-in goal, his fifth of the postseason. The Thunder pulled to within a goal with 7:57 remaining in regulation as White scored his third of the 2018 playoffs. With Adirondack on the man advantage, Henry fed White at the center point and he walked to his left and fired over the glove of Florida netminder Martin Ouelette for the goal.

Despite several opportunities by Adirondack in the closing minutes of the game, Florida netminder Martin Ouelette stood tall to preserve the victory. With the defeat, the Thunder season comes to a close. Adirondack is back in action in October to kick off the 2018-19 season.