Chase for Kelly Cup 2018: R. 1 – Adirondack Thunder vs. Worchester Railers

Chase for Kelly Cup 2018: R. 1 – Adirondack Thunder vs. Worchester RailersThe Chase for the Kelly Cup begins with a Round 1 matchup between the Adirondack Thunder and the Worchester Railers. Adirondack narrowly beat out the Manchester Monarchs for the North Division title by winning their last game of the season. They enter as the division winner with the fewest points (89) in a division that saw the top four teams separated by just 7 points. Adirondack lost the season series, 4-5-0-3.

Game 1 – Friday, April 13 at 7 p.m. ET at Adirondack
Game 2 – Saturday, April 14 at 7 p.m. ET at Worcester
Game 3 – Sunday, April 15 at 5 p.m. ET at Worcester
Game 4 – Wednesday, April 18 at 7 p.m. ET at Adirondack
Game 5 – Saturday, April 21 at 7 p.m. ET at Adirondack (If Necessary)
Game 6 – Monday, April 23 at 7 p.m. ET at Worcester (If Necessary)
Game 7 – Wednesday, April 25 at 7 p.m. ET at Adirondack (If Necessary)

Statistics Comparison (Numbers in Parenthesis are ranking in the ECHL)

Adirondack Thunder

Overall Record: 41-24-3-4 (7)
Home Record: 22-11-1-2 (8)
Away Record: 19-13-2-2 (8)
Last 10 Games: 7-3-0-0
Goals Scored: 233 (11)
Goals Allowed: 221 (11)
Power Play: 18.8% (4)
Penalty Killing: 83.3% (14)

Worchester Railers

Overall Record: 37-27-4-4 (10)
Home Record: 21-13-2-0 (12)
Away Record: 16-14-2-4 (9)
Last 10 Games: 7-2-0-1
Goals Scored: 194 (27)
Goals Allowed: 193 (5)
Power Play: 13.9% (23)
Penalty Killing: 84.2% (11)

Thunder Players to Watch:

Shane Conacher: 55 games, 20 goals, 43 assists, 63 points; James Henry: 72 games, 19 goals, 35 assists, 54 points; Brian Ward: 55 games, 30 goals, 23 assists, 53 points

Drew Fielding: 29 games, 17-8-2-0, 2 ShO, 3.12 GAA, .902 save percentage

Worchester Players to Watch:

Barry Almeida: 68 games, 22 goals, 39 assists, 61 points; Chris Langkow: 50 games, 18 goals, 27 assists, 45 points; Nick Saracino: 61 games, 12 goals, 25 assists, 37 points

Mitch Gillam: 41 games, 23-14-0-2, 5 ShO, 2.15 GAA, .925 save percentage; Eamon McAdam: 29 games, 13-10-4-2, 2.84 GAA, .910 save percentage

Analysis:

Adirondack has an exceptional power-play and they play solid hockey on both ends of the ice. Four players scored at least 20 goals this season, and there were two others that netted 19. Putting the puck in the net has not been a challenge for them, but they are going to have to get more solid goaltending if they are going to move onto the next round. McAdam can be dominating, but he is going to have to be at his best.

Worchester does not have an outstanding power-play and they were last in the ECHL in goals scored this season, but what they do best is take care of the puck. They get strong goaltending and take care of their end. That is the style that a team needs to play come playoff time, where the checking gets tighter and the tension gets thicker. There was only one player on this team that had as many as 20 goals, but 10 different players had at least 10 goals. The Railers need a different hero every night if they are going to advance.

Chase for Kelly Cup 2018: R. 1 – Adirondack Thunder vs. Worchester RailersWho Will Win:

The advantages looks to be on the side of the Thunder, but the truth is that Worchester has owned Adirondack this season. Add to it that they have the more consistent goaltending and there are plenty of reasons to like the Railers. Expect all of these games to be one goal affairs as Worchester wins 4 games to 2.

By Robert Pannier

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