GLENS FALLS, NY – The Adirondack Thunder began a two-game preseason set with the Reading Royals Friday night at the Cool Insuring Arena. After receiving standout goaltender, Ken Appleby, on loan from the Binghamton Devils, the Thunder seemed to be in good position to at least split the two preseason games against the Reading Royals. Instead, the Royals walked away with a decisive 6-2 victory in Friday’s game, and a less lopsided 3-1 win in Sunday’s match at Santander Arena in Reading, PA.
Friday’s game started out in Adirondack’s favor with the Thunder providing plenty of pressure to Reading’s goaltender, John Muse. The Thunder had 15 shots on goal in the first period. In contrast, the Royals had only two, with the first coming at the 6:00 mark. That first Reading shot beat Appleby and resulted in a goal for Chris McCarthy, assisted by Adam Schmidt and Nolan Zajac. After a high sticking penalty to Matt Wilkins, Adirondack’s Desmond Bergin set up Austin Orszulak on the power play to tie things up. The teams entered the second period tied 1-1.
The tide quickly turned in Reading’s favor early in the second period. Scott Tanski took a slashing penalty, resulting in an Adirondack power play; Reading capitalized twice. Less than a minute after the Tanski penalty, the Royals’ Wilkins scored a shorthanded goal, set up by Mark Naclerio and Ryan Segalla. 35 seconds later, still short-handed, Wilkins scored again, this time with the assist going to Frank Hora. The Thunder did not give up just yet. At 9:25 of the second period, with Wilkins in the box for delay of game, Kevin Lough, and Ty Loney set up J.C. Campagna for a power-play goal to keep the home team in the game. Reading quickly answered with a goal of their own, this time from Schmidt, assisted by former Adirondack Phantom Tyler Brown and McCarthy. Less than two minutes later, Schmidt scored again, set up this time by Brown and Zajac. The second period came to a close with Reading leading the Thunder by a score of 5-2.
The third period started out similarly to the second with Reading scoring early once again at the 1:05 mark. Brown continued his strong game, setting up McCarthy for what would be the final goal for either team. Adirondack had the perfect opportunity to mount a comeback when the Thunder’s Brian Ward goaded Reading’s Loic Leduc into taking a five-minute aggressor penalty. They couldn’t capitalize, and the game ended in a 6-2 Reading victory.
The Thunder had another chance to defeat the Royals on Sunday afternoon. This game had a first period similar to Friday’s, but with the Royals dominating the shots on goal. The first Thunder shot came at 6:15. Once again, the Royals scored first, with Schmidt getting his third goal of the preseason, set up by Alex Krushelnyski and James de Haas. The next goal wouldn’t come until the 11:26 mark of the second period when Reading’s Michael Huntebrinker and Emil Romig set up K.J. Tiefenwerth to give the Royals a 2-0 lead. Adirondack kept themselves in it with a Bergin power-play goal, set up by Lough and Campagna. The score would remain 2-1 until 17:15 of the final period, when Brown and Nick Luukko set up Wilkins for the final goal of the match-up.
There were a few players who stood out for each team. Adirondack’s Lough logged a lot of ice time, made some good defensive plays, and ended the weekend with two assists; Campagna had a goal and assist, plus eight shots-on-goal; and Orszulak had a goal and nine shots-on-goal. Reading’s Muse made an impressive 36 saves on 38 shots Friday; Wilkins and Schmidt each had three goals; Brown had four assists, and McCarthy had two goals and an assist.