GAME PREVIEW: Jackals Polish Off Home-and-Home Series with Thunder

Game 42: Elmira Jackals (9-27-5-0) vs. Adirondack Thunder (20-13-4-3)

4:05 p.m., First Arena, Elmira, New York

The Jackals conclude a home-and-home series with the Adirondack Thunder, playing the back end of the two-game set this afternoon at First Arena. Adirondack pulled out an 8-2 win in the front end at the Glens Falls Civic Center last night, improving to 5-0-0-1 in six games against the Jackals this season.

The Thunder have points in four of five games since the All-Star Break, going 3-1-1-0 and improving to 20-13-4-3 on the season. With last night's win, Adirondack is up to 47 points on the season, but remains in fifth place in the tough North Division, on the outside of the playoff positions entering tonight.

The Jackals have lost four straight games, dropping to 9-27-5-0 on the season. With 23 points, the Jackals are in sixth place in the North Division and 13th place in the Eastern Conference. This afternoon is the final game of a seven games in 10 nights stretch for Elmira.   
   

Broadcast Coverage

Jackals Pregame at 3:50 p.m. Radio: 1410 WELM

Tickets

4 for $44 packages can be purchased until 12 p.m. today. The package includes 4 tickets, 4 hot dogs, 4 fountain drinks, 4 chuck-a-pucks and 4 frosty coupons, all courtesy of Wendy's, for just $44. Topurchase a 4 for $44 package, call the Box Office at (607) 734-7825.

Blade's Birthday/Post Game Skate

Today we celebrate Blade's Birthday at First Arena. Cupcakes will be given out to kids during the first intermission. After the game, skate with the Jackals during our second post game skate of the season. It is free to skate with the team and skate rentals are available through the Rec Rink. 


Last time out

The Adirondack Thunder scored four goals in the third to run away with an 8-2 win over the Jackals last night at the Glens Falls Civic Center, in the first game of a home-and-home series.

It was a tight game through the first two periods. Adirondack grabbed a 2-1 lead after the first period, getting two early power-play goals by Ty Loney and Stepan Falkovsky. Greg Betzold responded with a tip in goal for the Jackals at 11:25 of the first period. Adirondack opened a two-goal lead in the second period. Brian Ward made it a 3-1 game before Sebastien Sylvestre made it 3-2 at 8:45. Greg Wolfe finished the second-period scoring at 10:14 to make it 4-2 after two.

Adirondack blew the game open in the final frame, with four straight goals over a nine minute stretch. The Thunder got goals by Falkovsky, Patch Alber, Ward and Brett Pollock to pull away with an 8-2 win.

Three-in-three

Tonight concludes the second straight three-in-three weekend for the Jackals, who also played three games in three days last weekend in Manchester. Including last weekend's set in Manchester, the Jackals have six consecutive weeks that include a three-in-three, with one every week in February. Next week the Jackals play three straight--one at home and two on the road--against Brampton.

This is the third such scenario this season; the first came the weekend following Thanksgiving, when the Jackals won a pair of games against the Monarchs and lost once against Reading. In all, the Jackals have 10 three-in-three stretches in 2016-17.
 
Busy time

In addition to this being the second of six straight three-in-three weeks, the Jackals are in the midst of their busiest 10-day stretch of the season. Including last weekend in Manchester, the Jackals will play seven games in 10 days, the only time this season the Jackals go through a stretch like that.

Defensive Struggle

The Jackals have had their issues defensively over the last month and a half, falling to last in the ECHL at 3.93 goals against per game. Since returning from their trip to Florida in early December, the Jackals have played in 19 games, starting with a Dec. 16 game in Manchester.

In 15 of those 19 games, the Jackals have allowed at least four goals, including two games in which they have allowed a season-high eight goals. 

Head-to-head

Tonight is the seventh of 10 matches between the teams and the Thunder have points in all five, posting a 5-0-0-1 record while the Jackals are 1-4-1-0.

Mikkel Aagaard leads the series with nine points (1g, 8a) in the six games. With a four-point night last night, former Jackal Patch Alber is second with eight points (1g, 7a). Sebastien Sylvestre and Greg Betzold lead Elmira with four points (2g, 2a) against Adirondack.

In net J.P. Anderson has won both starts against the Jackals, allowing just three goals. Mason McDonald is 2-0-0 in two starts against the Jackals, allowing a total of five goals. For Elmira, Andy Iles is 0-3-1-0 in three starts against Adirondack and Jason Kasdorf lost in his one appearance.

Scouting the Thunder

The Thunder have points in four of five games out of the All-Star Break, going 3-1-1-0. They are just 4-4-2-0 over their last 10 games and are 20-13-4-3, giving them 47 points, placing them on the outside of the North Division's four playoff spots. 

Adirondack has been decimated with AHL callups throughout the season, but they did get leading scorer Ty Loney back from his loan to Albany. He leads the Thunder with 34 points (16g, 18a). Captain Peter MacArthur is next with 32 points (12g, 20a), including a natural hat trick against the Jackals.

Five different goalies have played between the pipes for the Thunder with Mason McDonald leading the way with 18 appearances. The rookie is 9-6-1-2 with a 2.76 goals-against average and an .897 save percentage. J.P. Anderson, acquired in a trade from Wheeling earlier this season, is 5-3-1-0 with a 3.04 goals-against average and an .896 save percentage in 11 appearances for the Thunder. Drew Fielding is 1-2-1-0 with a 4.05 goals-against average and an .856 save percentage in four starts for Adirondack. 

            
Special teams

The Thunder's power play clicked twice in three chances against the Jackals last night, taking advantage of two chances in the first half of the opening period to set the tone for the game. They are 34-for-156 (21.8%) on the season and are 5-for-19 (26.3%) in the series with the Jackals.

The Jackals power play was 0-for-1 last night and is 0-for-8 over the last five games. This recent stretch has dropped Elmira to 14.7%, going 19-for-129 on the season. They are 3-for-16 (18.8%) against Adirondack.

After turning aside the Jackals lone power play last night in Glens Falls, the Thunder's penalty kill is now at 79.5%, allowing 27 power-play goals in 132 shorthanded situations.

The Jackals allowed multiple power-play goals-two in three chances-last night against the Thunder, making it three times in the last seven games the Jackals have allowed at least two man-advantage goals. Elmira's penalty kill has sunk to 79.0%, allowing 30 power-play goals on the season.