GLENS FALLS — The Adirondack Thunder suffered a late defeat as they conceded the game-winning goal with less than 30 seconds to play in a 4-3 loss to the Worcester Railers on Friday evening at Cool Insuring Arena.
The Thunder goal two points apiece from forward Brian Ward and Eric Neiley in the defeat. Goaltender Chris Nell, who made his Thunder debut on the evening, made 36 saves in defeat.
After they controlled play early with an 8-4 shots on goal advantage, Worcester struck first at the 7:34 mark of the opening period as defenseman Mike Cornell beat a screened Nell high on the glove side. Stationed at the right point, Cornell stepped towards the net and fired a pinpoint shot through a sea of bodies to open the scoring. Defenseman Patrick McNally and forward Yannick Turcotte collected the assists on the play, the fifth of the season for Turcotte.
After Nell made a series of saves to deny Worcester for the remainder of the first period, Adirondack tied the game 28 seconds into the middle stanza as Eric Neiley found the back of the net for the second straight game. Stationed behind the Worcester net, Ward hit an uncovered Neiley in front, where the Thunder winger went top shelf for his ninth goal of the season. Ward picked up the lone helper on the play, his eighth of the season.
With less than 10 seconds to play in the second period, the Thunder took their first lead of the evening as Ward beat Worcester netminder Mitch Gillam with just 6.5 seconds remaining in the middle stanza. Neiley one-touched a Paul Rodrigues pass to a streaking Ward, who skated down the slot and scored on the blocker side. Ward and Neiley each picked up their second points of the evening on the play, while Rodrigues collected his fifth helper of the season with the secondary assist.
The Railers opened the third period with a pair of goals less than two minutes apart, starting with a goal from defenseman Patrick McNally 3:07 in. McNally walked through the top of the slot and around the left face-off dot before he sent a wrist shot past Nell’s blocker to tie the game at two. Worcester would convert again at the 4:42 mark while on the man advantage as Woody Hudson stuffed in a rebound at the back post after Nell made a pad stop off a Chris Longkow shot from the left point. Langkow picked up assists on the both plays, moving him to 14 helpers on the season.
The Thunder would answer with a game-tying tally of their own at the 5:40 mark, courtesy of a Ben Murphy wrist shot from the high slot. Adirondack center Pierre-Luc Mercier, stationed at the right-hand half boards, hit Murphy in the high slot where he quickly snapped a shot over Gillam’s shoulder for his third tally of the season. Mercier picked up the lone assist on the play, his 11th of the season.
After a third period that saw several power plays and a pair of fights, Worcester scored the game-winning goal with less than 30 minutes remaining. McNally entered the offensive zone, skated the length of the ice around the Adirondack net and scored high on the blocker side past a screened Nell for his second goal of the evening and eighth tally of the season. The goaltender Gillam collected the lone assist on the play, his first of the season.
The Thunder and Railers head to Massachusetts for a rubber match tomorrow evening at the DCU Center.