Reading, PA - The Adirondack Thunder fought back in the third period but were unable to complete the comeback as they fell 4-3 to the Reading Royals on Saturday evening at Santander Arena.
For the second straight night, Reading struck quickly, just 19 seconds into the game, to open the scoring. With the puck deep in the Adirondack defensive zone, the Royals capitalized on a clever pass from Nick Luukko to Ryan Penny, with the latter burying for his eighth goal of the season. Luukko and forward Ian Watters collected the assists on the play, the ninth helper of the season for Luukko.
For the second straight night, newly acquired forward Nick Bligh equalized for the Thunder during the first period to knot the score at one. Defenseman Kevin Lough sent the puck to Bligh, who skated down the right wing and by the Reading defense similar to his tally last evening. Bligh then picked a corner and beat Royals’ netminder Austin Lotz for his second goal of the season. Falkovsky and forward Brett Pollock picked up the assists on the play, the second point in three games for Lough.
The Royals scored their second of the opening period at the 5:53 mark to take a 2-1 lead that would carry into the first intermission. Reading forward Ryan Penny carried the puck down the left wing into the corner where he fed Matt Willows in the high slot and the former Thunder winger beat Adirondack goaltender J.P. Anderson for the go-ahead goal. The tally for Willows was his sixth of the season, while Penny picked up the lone assist, his second point of the evening.
Reading opened up the first two-goal lead of the game as Derik Johnson fired a wrist shot from the left point that snuck through traffic and beat Anderson to give the hosts a 3-1 advantage. After center Steven Swavely won an offensive zone faceoff, Johnson collected the puck and fired home for his third goal of the season. Swavely picked up the lone assist on the play, his tenth of the season.
The Thunder pulled within a goal as Greg Wolfe redirected home a shot from the point to cut the Adirondack deficit to 3-2 just past the ten minute mark of the second period. With the Thunder on the man advantage, defenseman Stepan Falkovsky fanned on his attempt from the point, but the puck skittered into the path of Wolfe, who redirected it home for the goal. The tally for Wolfe was his sixth of the season, while Falkovsky and Alex Wall picked up the assists on the play, the team leading 18th this season for Wall.
With Adirondack on the man advantage in search of the game-tying goal, Reading went the other way and converted with a shorthanded goal with 8:45 remaining in the middle stanza. Swavely led Watters with a breakaway pass and the Royals’ winger converted for his second point of the evening and third goal of the season. Swavely picked up the lone assist on the play, his second helper of the evening.
The visitors moved back to within a goal as they capitalized on a fortunate bounce just 1:18 into the third period. After the puck was dumped into the Reading zone, it hit a stanchion behind the Reading net and bounced out right in front of the gaping net, where Gunnar Hughes tapped it home to move the score to 4-3. The tally was Hughes’ fifth of the season with Conor Riley and Bligh collecting the assists, Riley’s second in as many nights.
The Thunder return to next week with a pair of games at the Glens Falls Civic Center, beginning on Tuesday evening against Elmira. Adirondack Thunder individual and group ticket packages are also available for just $13 per ticket in addition to new Thunder mini-packs, consisting of four tickets and a gift card to a local restaurant for just $65. Call 518-480-3355 x1 or visit ECHLThunder.com/tickets to customize a plan and reserve your seat locations today.
Adirondack Thunder Hockey - This Is Our Team