PORTLAND, ME – December 7, 2019 – Ty Ronning’s shorthanded goal at 11:40 of the third period broke a 4-4 tie and ultimately gave the Mariners a 5-4 win over the Adirondack Thunder on Saturday night at the Cross Insurance Arena. It was the second such final score of the weekend, after a 5-4 Mariners OT win on Friday night in Glens Falls. Jake Elmer continued his dominance of Adirondack with two goals, including the anticipated “Teddy Bear Toss” goal early in the game.
It didn’t take long for the Mariners to find the Teddy Bear Toss goal, and the goal scorer came as no surprise. Jake Elmer, who had a hat trick capped by the overtime winner on Friday night in Glens Falls, took a pass from Ted Hart in the slot and beat Eamon McAdam to send the stuffed animals flying. Over 1,500 stuffed animals were collected to benefit local fire departments.
Adirondack rallied for three goals between 12:14 and 15:05 of the first period to take a 3-1 lead. Defenseman Colby Sissons ripped a shot off the post from outside the left wing circle at 12:14 to the tie game. Thirty-six seconds later, James Henry redirected a center point drive from Gabriel Verpaelst to put Adirondack ahead. At 15:05, a puck that rolled off the end boards was misplayed by Mariners goaltender Connor LaCouvee allowing defenseman Tommy Parran to fly in and poke it home for a 3-1 Thunder lead. Before the period ended, Ryan Gropp displayed a great individual effort to bring the deficit back to one, as his zone-entry wrister beat McAdam’s stick side.
At 6:11 of the second, the Mariners pulled even when Ryan Ferrill caught McAdam by surprise and cashed a rebound created by an Alex Kile blocked shot. The Thunder regained their lead at 14:36 when they converted on the power play. Casey Pierro-Zabotel was on the doorstep to tap home a shot from Charlie Curti to make it 4-3. Of Adirondack’s nine power play goals to that point on the season, six had come against Maine. The Thunder skated into the third with the one goal lead.
Elmer struck again at 6:04 of the third to tie the game at four. At the end of his shift, Michael McNicholas was able to nudge a puck ahead in the neutral zone and spring Elmer alone on McAdam, who tried to poke check the puck away but left the high glove side open. Of Elmer’s ten goals on the season, nine have come against Adirondack.
“I just seem to have a lucky streak against them,” said Elmer. “Hopefully it will carry on to another team and through the whole group.”
It was also Elmer’s fifth goal of the weekend. He’s now tied for the team lead with Terrence Wallin.
“I think once you get on a roll you can kind of get comfortable with how you’re playing and kind of just get a streak going,” Elmer said. “I’m just trying to carry out with that, try to keep things the same and try not to get in my head.”
The Mariners killed off three crucial penalties in the third with Adirondack up 4-3 and then the game tied at four.
“I felt the penalty kill did well. We were in the box pretty much the whole night,” said Mariners Head Coach and Assistant General Manager Riley Armstrong. “We altered a couple things, made a couple of adjustments and I thought we nailed it down pretty good. [LaCouvee] answered the bell in the third period, making some big saves for us which changed the momentum of the game and kind of put it in our favor. I think the guys really came together in the third.”
During the third of the three penalty kills in the third, Terrence Wallin gained the Adirondack zone with the puck and crossed to the middle, eventually leaving it behind for Ty Ronning near the right wing circle. Ronning powered a wrist shot over McAdam’s glove for a 5-4 Mariners lead, and Maine’s first shorthanded goal of the season. It held up as the game-winner. Ronning was just reassigned from AHL Hartford by the New York Rangers last night.
“You come back you know you’re going to be playing a lot,” said Ronning “I just wanted to go play my game. “I knew I had a lot to prove and I just wanted to play my game. We got the outcome we wanted and it was all around a fun game to play.”
In between the pipes, LaCouvee made 38 saves on 42 Adirondack shots to earn his fifth win. McAdam stopped 19 of 24 to suffer the loss. The Mariners (10-9-0-1) pulled to within four points of Adirondack for fourth place in the North Division, with still four games in hand.
The Mariners and Thunder will play again at the Cross Insurance Arena on Tuesday night at 7:00 PM. Santa Claus will be on the concourse taking photos at no cost. It’s the last chance to catch the Mariners on home ice before Christmas. Groups of 10 or more can get discounted tickets by calling 833-GO-MAINE. Individual tickets can be purchased at MarinersOfMaine.com, at the Trusted Choice Box Office inside the Cross Insurance Arena, or by calling 207-775-3458. Four tiers of holiday packs are also available at MarinersOfMaine.com.