GLENS FALLS — The Adirondack Thunder fell 7-3 to the Florida Everblades in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Friday evening at Cool Insuring Arena. With the defeat, Adirondack now trails the series by a three games to one margin and faces a must-win Game 5 tomorrow evening on home ice.
Forwards Ryan Schmelzer, Troy Bourke and James Henry each scored for Adirondack in the loss as Schmelzer extended his goal streak to four games. Goaltenders Drew Fielding and Olivier Mantha combined to make 25 saves in defeat.
The Everblades struck twice in the back half of the first period to take a 2-0 lead into the first intermission. First, with Adirondack on the man advantage, forward Stephen MacAulay capitalized on a Thunder turnover and scored from close range to open the scoring with a shorthanded tally 14:57 into the first period. With just 43 seconds remaining in the first, the visitors scored again, this time on the power play. Defenseman Zack Kamrass sent a shot from the center point that ricocheted off of a Thunder body and past Fielding for the goal, his second of the postseason.
Adirondack got a goal back early in the second period as a puck deflected off of a Florida visor and in to get the hosts on the board. Schmelzer created a turnover in the offensive end and sent a pass towards forward Terrence Wallin, which deflected off of a Florida stick, off the face of Florida blueliner Logan Roe and in for the Thunder’s first goal. Schmelzer was credited with the goal, an unassisted tally.
Florida scored two additional power-play goals in the second period to take a 4-1 lead through 40 minutes of play. First, 13:18 into the middle stanza, a shot from the left point by Michael Kirkpatrick was blocked down in front, directly to forward David Dziurzynski, who whacked it past Fielding for the goal. The Everblades scored again on the man advantage with just over four minutes remaining in the second as forward Sam Warning weaved through the offensive zone and fired past Fielding over the glove hand for the goal, which ended Fielding’s evening.
The visitors scored twice more in a 69-second span early in the third period to open up the largest lead of the Eastern Conference Finals. First, 4:35 into the period, Florida forward Mitchell Heard buried a Kirkpatrick feed off of the rush to increase the Adirondack deficit to 5-1. Just over a minute later, the Everblades scored again, this off of a 3-on-2 rush. Forward Brett Bulmer entered the offensive zone down the right wing and fed a cross-ice pass to forward Steven Lorenz, who beat new Adirondack netminder Olivier Mantha for the goal, his third of the playoffs.
The Thunder pulled back two goals midway through the third period to cut their deficit back to three. First, with Adirondack on the man advantage and 8:08 remaining in the game, Bourke skated out of the right-hand corner, drove towards the net and jammed the puck past goaltender Martin Ouelette for the goal. Adirondack scored again less than three minutes later as Henry netted his second goal of the series. Stationed behind the net, Bourke sent a shifty pass in front to Henry for a tap-in tally. Bourke and defenseman Mathieu Brodeur collected the assists on the play, Bourke’s second point of the evening.
Inside three minutes to play in regulation, Florida iced the game with an empty-net tally from Bulmer, his second point of the game.
The Eastern Conference Finals are back in action with Game 5 tomorrow evening at Cool Insuring Arena with Adirondack’s season on the line.