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Bingo Bites: Final Thoughts on Adirondack Thunder’s Season, Including Prospects

Two prospects from the BDevils saw ice time during the short playoff run by Adirondack as Tracey Lake breaks it down on the Thunder’s overall season

Photo courtesy of Tracey Lake

As the Binghamton Devils loaned Adirondack goaltender Evan Cormier along with defenseman Colby Sissons to their ECHL affiliate in Glens Falls for the playoffs, the motivation behind the move was to give some additional experience for the two players in their first season at the pro level.

The tandem would present themselves on a platform so to speak, for a post-season run for the Thunder. However, they were ousted in the first round, best of five series against the Manchester Monarchs, 3-2.

Here is Tracey Lake with her final thoughts on the results with some potential prospects on the horizon for the Devils’ Organization next season.

It’s an early summer for the Adirondack Thunder, after the team bowed out of the first round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs to the Manchester Monarchs in five games.

Adirondack came into the postseason struggling, having gone 0-2-1-0 in their final three regular season games and just barely clinching home ice for the first round, finishing one point ahead of the third place Monarchs.

Photo courtesy of Tracey Lake

Despite receiving goaltender Evan Cormier and defenseman Colby Sissons from Binghamton, the Thunder’s late season struggles continued into the playoffs. The team found themselves in a 3-0 hole on April 17th after a 3-2 overtime loss in New Hampshire, being outscored 13-5 and not providing any support for Cormier or Alex Sakellaropoulos, who returned from an extended stint in Springfield on April 4th.

With their backs against the wall in Game 4 on April 19th, the Thunder rallied from 3-1 down after two periods to score three unanswered third period goals en route to a 4-3 win to extend their season at least one more day. Unfortunately, in Game 5, the Monarchs turned a close one goal game after two periods into a blowout, eliminating Adirondack with a 7-1 victory.

Behind the Numbers

Despite the disastrous postseason ending, the Thunder still had a successful regular season. Here are a few stats:

  • Adirondack finished with a record of 37-26-6-3, good for 83 points and second place in the ECHL’s North Division, 11 points behind first place Newfoundland.
  • Thunder captain James Henry finished 5th in the ECHL in scoring with 69 points, tied for second in the league with 54 assists, tied for first with 6 shorthanded assists, and tied for third with 7 shorthanded points.
  • Sakellaropoulos finished tied for seventh among ECHL goaltenders with a 2.51 goals against average.
  • John Edwardh finished tied for third among ECHL rookies with 59 points and 16 power play assists and was third with 24 power play points.
  • Adirondack finished with a 21-9-5-1 on home ice.
  • Special teams were a strong point for the Thunder, finishing second in the ECHL with a 22.3 percent power play success rate and first with a 27.1 percentage on the road, and a league low 3 shorthanded goals allowed. The team’s penalty kill finished 12th at 83 percent, and 11 shorthanded goals scored.
  • The offense finished tied for 9th with 3.25 goals per game, while goaltending finished 9th in the league at 3.06.
  • A total of 44 players, including 9 goaltenders, appeared in at least one game this season. 29 of those players were considered rookies.
  • Of those 44, 12 either earned callups to Binghamton, or were sent down to the Thunder for playing time. This number includes Sakellaropoulos, who had signed a PTO but did not get into a game.
  • Four other players received callups to other AHL teams

Final Player Stats

  • Edwardh was Adirondack’s second leading scorer, finishing with 27 goals and 32 assists in 54 games, not bad for his first professional season. In the playoffs, he led all Adirondack skaters with 6 points in 5 games (1 goal, 5 assists).
  • Mike Szmatula (camp invite): Szmatula also had a strong first professional season, finishing third among Thunder skaters with 27 goals and 21 assists in 60 games. He added one goal and one assist in 5 playoff appearances.
  • Brian Ward (AHL contract): Ward finished with 20 goals and 21 assists in 48 games and lead the Thunder in penalty minutes (104). He picked up two more goals in 5 playoff games.
  • Conor Riley (PTO): Riley had 21 goals and 14 assists in 53 games, despite missing a chunk of the season due to injury. He went scoreless in 5 playoff games.
  • Jake Linhart (camp invite): Linhart finished his first pro season with 8 goals and 22 assists in 60 games. He added three assists in four playoff games.
  • Desmond Bergin (PTO): In 37 games, Bergin finished with 8 goals and 16 assists, then added an assist in 5 playoff games. He has joined the Cleveland Monsters on a PTO, marking his fourth AHL team this season.
  • Sissons returned to Adirondack on April 8th, prior to the start of the playoffs. In 9 regular season appearances, the rookie defenseman had one goal. He then went scoreless in 3 playoff appearances, sitting out Games 4 and 5 of the series.
  • Ryan Walker (ATO): Walker finished scoreless in 5 appearances after coming down from Binghamton in late March. He was on the playoff roster but did not dress.
  • Logan Thompson (PTO): Before joining Binghamton for the final weekend of the regular season, Thompson was giving a good first professional impression in Adirondack. In 8 starts, he went 2-4-0 with a 2.59 GAA and .922 save percentage. An ankle injury in mid-March derailed his strong start, and he returned in time to back up Sakellaropoulos for the final weekend of the regular season. He was released to make room for Cormier on the roster, then ended up making his AHL debut in Binghamton’s regular season finale less than a week later.
  • In 6 regular season starts, Cormier finished 1-4-1 with a 3.87 GAA and .875 save percentage. He started two playoff games, going 0-1-1 with a 3.40 GAA and .892 save percentage.
  • Sakellaropoulos finished the regular season with a 19-6-4 record, 2.51 GAA, and .915 save percentage. He earned the lone Thunder win of the playoffs in Game 4, and in 3 starts he went 1-2 with a 5.06 GAA and .833 save percentage.

Thanks Tracey for your great coverage covering the Devils’ ECHL affiliate this past season and look forward to 2019-’20!

Some overall thoughts.

It’s always a good thing for any prospects to gain some playoff experience with both Cormier and Sissons included. Just look what it did for ‘tender Mackenzie Blackwood and his success this past season. In the same discussion, defenseman Colton White also benefited from playing in the ECHL playoffs with 11 points in 14 games in 2018 for Adirondack.

I like what I’ve seen from 24 year-old forward John Edwardh in the small example size for the BDevils (10 gms, 3 goals) as he produced solid numbers for Adirondack. I envision him being tendered an AHL deal for Binghamton next season and welcome it.

Meanwhile, Cormier was a disappointment for the Thunder. Hopefully, he works hard during the upcoming summer months and shows up with a potential of being “that guy in goal” mentality starting with camp in the Fall, as one of two slated for Binghamton next season. The other being 6’ 5” Switzerland sensation Gilles Senn, a 2017 round 5 pick by the parent club signed to a recent ECL deal. (Profile in the works)

Forward Mike Szmatula also might be a player of interest for an upcoming AHL deal in Binghamton, securing a depth role type of player.

I anticipate lots of changes for the BDevils during the off-season as the first two years of existence has been far from stellar with the club near, or at the bottom of the league in points along with multiple other categories.

Let’s begin the progress of building towards a return to the playoffs in Binghamton with Adirondack as a stepping stone. Besides, they were the lone club to make it from a Organizational view point.