Glens Falls, NY – The Adirondack Thunder threw 41 shots on goal but were downed 3-2 by the Reading Royals on Saturday evening in front of a sold out crowd of 4,845 at Cool Insuring Arena.
The hosts received goals from forward Pierre-Luc Mercier and James Henry as the found the back of the net twice on the power play in defeat. Nick Riopel returned between the pipes with 23 saves as the Thunder dropped their third straight game to the Royals.
Reading opened the scoring 5:49 into the game as Adam Schmidt scored against the Thunder for the second straight night. After he took a feed from teammate Matt Wilkins, Schmidt sped around the Adirondack defense on the left wing and beat Riopel on a breakaway for the game-opening goal. Schmidt’s goal was his third of the season with Wilkins collecting the lone helper, his sixth.
After a run of sustained pressure by Adirondack, Reading went the other way with a second breakaway to double its lead just shy of the halfway mark of the middle stanza. Forward Mark Naclerio sprung Ryan Penny on a feed behind the Adirondack defense and the Reading forward scored on the blocker side for the goal, his sixth of the 2017-18 season. Naclerio collected the only assist on the play, his seventh of the year.
Adirondack finally broke through late in the second period as forward Pierre-Luc Mercier scored a power-play goal 3:44 from the end of the period to cut the deficit to a single goal. After we won the offensive zone faceoff back to defenseman Kevin Lough, Mercier took the return feed at the top of the left-hand circle and wired a shot over the shoulder of Reading goaltender Mark Dekanich. Mercier’s tally was his fourth of the season while Lough picked up the assist, his ninth.
The Royals scored their third breakaway goal of the evening with 5:45 left in the third period, this courtesy of Matt Willows. Defenseman Nick Luukko sent a homerun pass between the Adirondack defense to a streaking Willows, who outwaited Riopel on the forehand and slid the puck into the back of the net for his sixth tally of the season. Luukko picked up the lone assist on the play, his sixth of the season.
The Thunder pulled one goal back with 3:04 remaining in the game as they converted on the man advantage for the second time on the evening. After Adirondack controlled the puck in the offensive end, a scramble in front of the net ensued before the puck fell to Henry in the crease, where he stuffed it home to move the Thunder back within a goal. Henry’s goal, his sixth of the season, was recorded as unassisted.
Tonight’s game for the Thunder began a seven-game homestand at Cool Insuring Arena, which continues on Friday against the Worcester Railers. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m.
Adirondack Thunder Hockey – This Is Our Team