Game 72: Elmira Jackals (17-46-7-1) vs. Adirondack Thunder (40-20-7-4)
7:05 p.m., First Arena, Elmira, New York
The Jackals play their final game in franchise history tonight on Fan Appreciation night at First Arena. They host the Adirondack Thunder for the final time in what is the 10th match of the season series. Adirondack has won eight in a row in the series and holds an 8-0-0-1 record against Elmira.
The Thunder are red hot, going 9-0-1-0 in their last 10 games, clinching the North Division title with last night's win over the Jackals. On the season, Adirondack is 40-20-7-4 and they have 91 points, sewing up the division title with a five point lead on Reading and Brampton on the final day of the season.
The Jackals approach the final game in Jackals history on a four-game losing streak, with two losses to Adirondack and two losses to Manchester. Overall, the Jackals are 17-46-7-1 on the season and with 42 points, they are in sixth place in the North Division and 13th place in the Eastern Conference.
Last time out
The Adirondack Thunder scored three in the first and three in the third to run away with a 7-1 win over the Jackals last night at First Arena, clinching the North Division title.
The Thunder stormed out to a 3-0 first period lead on goals from Patch Alber at 4:15, Dennis Kravchenko at 13:59 and Brock Montgomery at 18:12. The Jackals came out with a better second period and pulled within two on a wrist shot from Kenton Miller at 2:29, making it 3-1. The Thunder responded with a power-play goal from Brett Pollock at 9:33 open a 4-1 lead entering the third period.
Adirondack cruised in the final frame, with three straight goals. James Henry got the first at 2:54 of the final period and that was followed with power-play goals from Brett Pollock at 9:02 and Christopher Dienes at 10:34 to give the Thunder a 7-1 victory.
The end of an era
Tonight marks the final game in franchise history for the Elmira Jackals, bringing to an end a tremendous 17-year run of professional hockey in downtown Elmira. The Jackals franchise began play in the UHL in 2000 and remained in the league for seven seasons, making two appearances in the Colonial Cup Final. They finished with a 232-254-46 record in the UHL
The Jackals moved to the ECHL prior to the 2007 season, beginning a run of 10 years in the premier "AA" hockey league. The Jackals qualified for the playoffs in their first six seasons in the league, advancing to the second round twice. Heading into their final game in franchise history, the Jackals ECHL record stands at 344-302-33-40. Combined with their UHL run, their franchise mark is 576-556-119.
Rolling at home
Jackals forward Kenton Miller has played his best hockey on home ice and he is riding a seven-game goal scoring streak at First Arena, netting nine goals in that stretch. By extending his streak last night, Miller is now tied with three players for the longest home goal streak in the ECHL this season, but his is the only one that is active heading into the final game of the year.
Miller, who has 28 points (19g, 9a) over his last 24 games, has dominated opposition in Elmira. In 32 home games with the Jackals, the Redvers, Saskatchewan native has 33 points (22g, 11a). Overall with the Jackals he has 45 points (30g, 15a) and, including his time with Wheeling to begin the season, he has reached 30 goals for the first time in his ECHL career. Last night's goal was also the 100th goal of his pro career, with 70 in the ECHL and 30 in the CHL.
Tonight is the final game of the 10-game season series between the Jackals and Thunder. Adirondack has points in all nine games thus far, posting a 8-0-0-1 record and winning eight straight after the Jackals opened the season series with a shootout win Oct. 25 in Glens Falls.
Brian Ward leads active players in the series with 10 points (5g, 5a) in eight games with the Jackals, trailing only Mikkel Aagaard (2g, 10a) who is on recall with AHL-Stockton. For the Jackals, Mark Bennett is tops among active players with four points in five games.
In net, J.P. Anderson has four wins in four starts against the Jackals, allowing just six goals (1.50 goals-against average) and posting a .934 save percentage. No active Jackals goalie has a win over Adirondack yet this season.
Scouting the Thunder
With points in their last 10 games (9-0-1-0), the Thunder clinched the North Division title with last night's win, improving to 40-20-7-4 record. At 91 points, the Thunder have a five point lead over Reading and Brampton heading into the final day of the regular season. They are four points behind Florida for the best record in the Eastern Conference.
Adirondack's offense ranks fifth in the ECHL at 3.68 goals per game. Captain Peter MacArthur leads the team with 63 points (24g, 39a) in 62 games, with 26 points coming on the power play. James Henry is second with 54 points (20g, 34a) and rookie Brian Ward is third with 47 points (26g, 21a).
In net, J.P. Anderson has appeared in each of the last 11 Thunder games, posting a 9-0-1-0 record in those games and he was named Warrior Hockey ECHL Goaltender of the Month for his efforts. On the season he has appeared in 30 games and is 19-4-4 with a 2.47 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage. He is 15-3-3 in 21 games with the Thunder.
The Thunder torched the Jackals with three power-play goals in five chances last night, 71-for-293 on the season, a 24.2% rating, which is fourth in the ECHL. Against the Jackals, the Thunder are 10-for-32 (31.3%) in nine games.
After being stopped in their only two chances last night, the Jackals have scored power-play goals in eight of the last 10 games (10-for-36). At 41-for-238 the Jackals are 14th in the league with the power play at 17.2%. At home, they are ninth with a 21.4% power play.
Adirondack's penalty kill is 7-for-7 in two games this week, improving their overall penalty kill to 21st in the ECHL at 80.4%. They've given up 49 power-play goals in 250 chances, although only four have come against the Jackals, stopping 85.2% of Elmira's power plays.
The Jackals penalty kill struggled with the Thunder's power play last night, dropping to 23rd in the ECHL at 79.6% after giving up three power-play goals.