WORCESTER, MA — The Adirondack Thunder were led by a 44-save shutout from goaltender Nick Riopel as they opened a home-and-home set against the Worcester Railers with a 3-0 victory on Friday evening at the DCU Center.
The visitors got goals from Pierre-Luc Mercier, Conor Riley and Tim Harrison as they skated to their first ever win at the DCU Center. Riopel’s 44 saves marked a season high and his shutout was the eighth of his professional career, his fifth in the ECHL.
Adirondack opened the scoring 55 seconds into the third period as Mercier converted on the man advantage for his seventh goal of the season. Defenseman Desmond Bergin, stationed on the left-hand half wall, saw his cross-ice pass to Mercier get deflected by a Worcester defenseman but the Thunder center one-timed the wobbly puck past Railers’ netminder Mitch Gillam for the goal. Bergin and forward Terrence Wallin picked up the assists on the play as Wallin extended his scoring streak to eight games.
The Thunder doubled their advantage at the 6:33 mark of the third as Conor Riley scored for the second time in three games. After Mercier received the puck from teammate Ben Murphy behind the Worcester net, he hit Riley in front where the University of Maine graduate beat Gillam on the blocker side for his third tally of the season. Mercier and Murphy picked up the helpers on the play, the second point of the evening for Mercier.
With just over five minutes remaining in regulation, the Thunder opened up a three-goal lead as Harrison fired home his fourth of the season. The 6-4 winger created a turnover at the offensive blueline, skated in alone on Gillam and fired a wrist shot into the back of the net on the blocker side for the insurance goal. Harrison’s goal was recorded as unassisted.
The Thunder and Railers are back in action tomorrow evening at Cool Insuring Arena, with puck drop set for 7:00 p.m., to complete the home-and-home set.