WORCESTER, Mass. — The Adirondack Thunder rebounded from last night’s defeat to claim Game 3 by a 3-1 final on Sunday evening at the DCU Center. With the victory, Adirondack took a 2-1 series lead heading into Games 4 and 5 on home ice next week.
Forwards Brian Ward, Mike Szmatula and Ryan Schmelzer each found the back of the net in the Thunder victory. Goaltender MacKenzie Blackwood turned aside 28 of the 29 shots he faced as he earned his second victory of the series.
Adirondack opened the scoring midway through the first period as Ward collected his second goal of the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs. With the Thunder on the man advantage, forward Kenton Miller sent a backhanded shot through the crease that deflected to Ward in front, where he slammed it past Worcester netminder Eamon McAdam for the goal. Miller and defenseman Dylan Olsen tallied the assists on the play, Olsen’s third point of the playoffs.
The Thunder doubled their advantage courtesy of Szmatula’s first career professional goal 2:48 into the middle stanza. With Adirondack again on the power play, Miller forced a turnover in the slot to Ward, who skated to his left before he fed Szmatula in front for the goal. Ward was credited with the lone assist on the play as he picked up his first multi-point game of the 2018 postseason.
Worcester pulled a goal back less than four minutes later to cut the Adirondack advantage to a single goal. Forward Jeff Kubiak skated down the left wing, moved around the Thunder defense into the slot and beat Blackwood on the blocker side for his team’s first goal. Forward T.J. Syner and defenseman Connor Doherty collected the assists on the play, the first point of the playoffs for both players.
After a tightly contested third period, Adirondack iced the game with just 12 seconds remaining as Schmelzer went the length of the ice and scored an empty-net goal for the 3-1 lead. Schmelzer’s tally was recorded as unassisted.
The series now shifts back to Glens Falls for Games 4 and 5 next week, beginning with Game 4 on Wednesday, April 18 for at 7:00 p.m.