GLENS FALLS — The Adirondack Thunder fell 5-3 to the Manchester Monarchs in Game 1 of the North Division Finals on Friday evening at Cool Insuring Arena. The Thunder now trail the best-of-seven series one game to none heading into Game 2 tomorrow evening back on home ice.
Forward Shane Conacher led the way for the Thunder with a three-point effort, including a pair of goals, while defenseman Mathieu Brodeur also scored in the victory. Goaltender Olivier Mantha made 23 saves for the Thunder in defeat.
Manchester opened the scoring for both the game and the series 4:45 into the first period as forward Sam Kurker tallied his fourth goal of the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs. Kurker streaked down the right wing on a 2-on-1 rush, dragged onto his forehand and beat Mantha with a low shot on the glove side. Kurker’s goal was recorded as unassisted.
The Monarchs opened up a three-goal advantage with a pair of markers 67 seconds apart in the second period. First, 7:26 into the middle stanza, forward Zac Lynch skated down the right wing, deked past Mantha onto his forehand and slid it in for the goal. Just over a minute later, Manchester increased its lead to three goals as forward Kevin Morris tallied for the third time during the 2018 postseason. Forward Spencer Watson sent the puck towards the front of the net from a sharp angle towards Morris, who redirected it in for the goal.
Adirondack struck back with a pair of power-play goals from Conacher in the latter half of the second period. First, forward James Henry fed Conacher with a pass from the goal line and Conacher fired a slap shot past Manchester netminder Charles Williams for his second goal of the playoffs. The Burlington, ONT native struck again less than four minutes later as he connected again on the man advantage. Conacher walked in from the right point and shot past a screened Williams for his second goal of the evening. Henry and defenseman Colton White picked up the assists on both goals.
After a series of offensive pressure from Adirondack, the visitors scored a pair of third-period goals to regain a three-goal advantage. First, just past the halfway point of the final period of regulation, Privitera sent a shot from the point off of an Adirondack stick and past Mantha for his first goal of the postseason. Less than a minute later, the Monarchs pounced on an Adirondack turnover for their fifth goal of the game. Kurker stole the puck behind the goalline and fed Doherty in front, where he cashed in with his first tally of the series.
The Thunder completed the scoring on the evening with less than four minutes to play as Brodeur scored his first goal of the 2018 playoffs to bring the Thunder back to within two. Defenseman Dylan Olsen, stationed at the center point, sent a pass to Brodeur at the top of the left-hand circle, where he fired through traffic in front of Williams for the tally. Olsen and Conacher tallied the assists on the play, Conacher’s third point of the evening.
The Thunder and Monarchs are back in action for Game 2 tomorrow evening at Cool Insuring Arena.