NORFOLK, VA – The Reading Royals (11-8-1-1) defeated the Norfolk Admirals (2-12-4-0) 4-1 for the team’s fifth straight win and spoiled Admirals head coach Robbie Ftorek‘s debut. This game was the first meeting between the two teams but they will face-off ten more times throughout the season.
The Admirals started putting on the pressure quickly, getting four shots-on-goal within the first two minutes. Norfolk’s play slowed down when Aaron Harstad took a tripping penalty 3:24 into the period. Nick Luukko started off the power play strong when he ringed a shot off of the crossbar but it would be Chris McCarthy who would make them pay, rocketing home the first goal of the game from the left slot.
Norfolk got their first power play of the game just 42 seconds later thanks to a high-stick from Robbie Czarnick. The Admirals were able to keep the puck in the offensive zone for the majority of the power play, although they were not able to register a shot-on-goal.
The Royals started the second period strong putting a lot of pressure on Norfolk’s goaltender Eetu Laurikainen. Michael Pelech made an incredible play to keep the puck in the offensive zone at the blue line only to score the team’s second of the night just moments later.
The Admirals were looking to come back from a 2-0 deficit but the Royals had other plans. Justin Crandall forced a turnover behind the Admirals’ net and set up Mike Pereria for an easy goal from the right slot. Pereria’s goal extended the Royals’ lead to 3-0 and it was his second point of the night after registering an assist on the McCarthy goal.
The Admirals continued to struggle after Paul Rodrigues got called for a slash 12:02 into the second period. The Royals’ power play had been on point so far and this time was no different. Reading made short work of the man-advantage as Ryan Penny blasted a one-timer from Florian Iberer to make it a 4-0 game.
The Admirals put the pressure on Reading’s Mark Dekanich during the third period but the netminder looked phenomenal the entire game. Dekanich stopped 33 straight shots-on-goal, ten of those coming in the third period alone. Gabriel Verpaelst breathed a little life back into his team when he scored the Admirals’ lone goal on a power play with 5:43 left in the period, closing the door on a shutout. Dekanich ended the game saving 35 of the Admirals’ 36 shots, posting a 0.972 SV%.
The Royals face-off against the Admirals again on December 3rd at 7:15 PM EST.
3 Stars of the Game:
3: Gabriel Verpaelst (NOR) – 1 goal
2: Justin Crandall (REA) – 2 assists
1: Mike Pereria (REA) – 1 goal, 1 assist