Thunder optimistic returning core can guide them back to Kelly Cup Playoffs

GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Adirondack Thunder captivated fans last year with an electric postseason push that saw the team clinch a spot in the Kelly Cup Playoffs on the final day of the regular season. It was the organization’s first postseason berth since 2019, and now that’s the expectation going into the season.

“Down the stretch, we probably played like 30 playoff games it seemed like, just ’cause we were so behind in the standings,” said top returning point scorer, forward Grant Jozefek, who tallied 51 points in his first season in Glens Falls. “Now we kinda got that taste of what (the) playoffs is like, and I know a lot of the guys definitely want more of it. So, the key is to just hit the ground running right here in the beginning of the year, and we’ll be golden.”

Adirondack held its’ third day of training camp Wednesday morning, and will play a preseason game Thursday at Reading before hosting the Royals at Cool Insuring Arena for another preseason tilt Friday.

This is year three for the team under head coach Pete MacArthur, and he’s got a strong core of 10 returners back this season, including one notable addition: goalie Jeremy Brodeur, son of National Hockey League hall of fame goalie and New Jersey Devils legend Martin Brodeur.

On top of experience, there’s another characteristic of this group that has MacArthur optimistic about the season.

“We work; we won’t be fun to play against,” said MacArthur. “The way Coach (Mike) Bergin and I’s teams played here – (we) just work. And then the skill will come through in the end. I think we’re in a better position to start the season this year as it pertains to our experience level. We have that cohesive group that knows how we want to play, and they can help those new guys get assimilated quickly. But we gotta go out there and win hockey games. It’s one thing to talk; it’s another thing to do it.”

Adirondack could still be getting a huge boost with the potential return of last year’s leading scorer Shane Harper, who’s currently mulling retirement. Glens Falls native Shawn Weller has already announced this’ll be his last season with the team, and one last go-around with Harper would be quite the send-off.

“We talk all summer; he’s a good buddy of mine,” said Weller. “The decision is ultimately his, obviously. We would love to have him. He’s an awesome dude, and a great player. He’s taking some time with his family right now to make that decision, and, you know, he’s always welcomed back; we’ll have him back whenever he wants. We’d love to see him, but like I said, that decision’s up to him.”

Puck drop Friday in Pennsylvania is set for 7:00 p.m. Adirondack opens the regular season next Friday, Oct. 21 on the road against Worcester.

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