READING, PA– The Adirondack Thunder dropped the first game of their season long 12-game road trip as they fell 9-4 to the Reading Royals on Sunday afternoon at Santander Arena.
The Royals started quickly as they scored a pair of goals in the game’s first 3:47. Forward Steven Swavely struck first for the hosts just 93 seconds into the game as he took a feed from Tyler Brown, skated down the left wing and fired a shot past Adirondack netminder Nick Riopel for his first goal of the season. Just over two minutes later, forward Ryan Penny took a stretch pass from defenseman Nolan Zajac and converted on a breakaway for the 2-0 advantage.
The Thunder got on the board midway through the first period thanks to a skillful individual effort from forward Ty Loney. Stationed on the right-hand half wall, Loney moved towards the net, made a move to his backhand and put his shot underneath the crossbar for his fourth goal of the season. Defenseman Desmond Bergin collected the lone assist on Loney’s man-advantage goal, Bergin’s third helper of the season.
Reading would respond with a power-play goal of their own, however, as defenseman Nolan Zajac scored his second of the season. Stationed at the point, Zajac took a feed from Reading captain Derek Whitmore, walked to the middle of the ice and sent a wrist shot past Riopel for the goal. Whitmore and forward Matt Willows collected the assists on the play, the second of the season for Willows.
The Royals scored twice more in just over a five minute span to open up a 5-1 advantage early in the second period. First, 2:11 into the middle stanza, Chase Golightly scored his first goal of the season as he finished off an odd-man rush with teammate Adam Schmidt. Reading took a four-goal lead at the 7:50 mark of the second period as Penny redirected Saverio Posa’s shot past Riopel. The fifth goal would end Riopel’s afternoon as Drew Fielding entered the game for Adirondack.
The hosts would continue to put the pressure on the Thunder as Whitmore scored his second of the season at the 13:10 mark of the middle stanza, the first goal of the night against Fielding. A shot from the point by James de Haas made its way through traffic in front of the Thunder net before it deflected off of Whitmore and into the back of the net. The assists on the play were credited to de Haas and Willows, the second point of the evening for Willows.
Adirondack would pull one back just 20 seconds after Whitmore’s tally as Terrence Wallin scored for the second time in three games to cut the deficit to 6-2. JC Campagna forced a turnover in the neutral zone, skated in and saw his effort turned aside by Reading goaltender John Muse but Wallin crashed the net and buried the rebound for his second goal of the season. Campagna collected the lone assist on the play, his sixth of the season.
Reading would score once more in the second period to take a 7-2 lead into the second intermission. Willows hit forward Alex Krushelnyski on a stretch pass that split the Adirondack defense and the 6-0 winger beat Fielding with a backhanded effort on a breakaway for his third goal of the season. Willows and Mark Naclerio picked up the assists on the play, Naclerio’s third of the season.
Defenseman Colton White moved the Thunder back to within four goals just 95 seconds into the third period as he scored the first goal of his professional career. With the Thunder on the man advantage, forward Shane Conacher fed White at the right point where he one timed the puck past Muse for the goal. Conacher and forward Eric Neiley collected the assists on the play as Neiley extended his scoring streak to seven games.
Reading continued their offensive assault as they tallied twice more to push their total to nine. Brown scored his first goal of the season at the 5:28 mark of the third period, followed by Ryan Penny’s hat trick goal at the 12:04 mark. The hat trick for Penny was the first of his professional career. Krushelnyski and forward Frank Hora collected the assists on Penny’s third goal of the evening.
Adirondack concluded the scoring on the evening with 6:20 remaining in the game as Brian Ward found the back of the net for the third consecutive game. Loney gathered the puck in the neutral zone and led a 2-on-1 rush, where he fed Ward at the back post for the goal. Loney and Thunder netminder Drew Fielding collected the assists on the play.
Today’s game began a 12-game road trip for the Thunder, which continues next Friday in Fort Wayne with puck drop scheduled for 8:00 p.m. EST. The Thunder are home next on Saturday, November 25 at 7:00 p.m.