With just 8 games left to go, the Royals have hit a rough patch of late, losing three straight games. On Friday night, Reading faced off against the Adirondack Thunder who came into Reading as winners of three straight.
In the first nine minutes of the game, both teams failed to get any prolonged cycle in the offensive zone. The teams alternated offensive rushes until Royals defensemen Jesper Petersson and Todd Perry both failed to get the puck up the ice. The puck ended up on the stick of J.C. Campagna in the high slot, where he fired a wrist shot past Royals goaltender Mark Dekanich to give the Thunder a 1-0 lead with 10:06 left in the first period.
After taking the lead, Adirondack controlled the play, cycling in Reading’s end multiple times to go up in shots 16-7 in the process.
At 6:54, after a missed pass back to the point, defenseman Ryan Culkin, who was beaten on the play, took a tripping penalty, sending the Royals to their first powerplay. However, the Royals were having trouble completing passes and looked unorganized throughout the man-advantage.
5 minutes later, during a puck battle on the boards in the Adirondack zone, Nick Lukko was hooked by Brian Ward, sending Reading to their second powerplay. Yet again, the Royals were unorganized on the powerplay to end the first period, leaving the ice to boos from the crowd.
The Royals started the second period with time remaining on the powerplay but were unable to capitalize. After the powerplay ended, Reading controlled play for the next three minutes, but after an incomplete pass, Adirondack broke in on a breakaway, ringing a shot off the post.
At the seven minute mark, an odd-man rush for the Thunder led to a collision with Dekanich, taking him out of the play. The puck was passed out front and ended up in the net. The original call on the ice was a goal, but after deliberation between the referees, the goal was eventually waved off. However, the Royals’ Jesper Petersson was called for cross-checking on the play.
A few seconds after the Adirondack powerplay began, Dekanich was forced to make a flurry of saves from in close. While the Royals remained down by only 1 goal, they would go down 2 men, as Derik Johnson took a roughing penalty.
Dekanich remained strong during the 5-on-3, making a handful of saves to keep the Royals’ deficit at 1. After the penalty was killed, Reading could not get much going offensively until about 17 minutes into the period when Matt Wilkins broke into the zone and cut by an Adirondack defender to fire a wrist shot off McDonald’s blocker and out of play.
The third period was one full of penalties. At 1:47, Matt Wilkins was seemingly pushed into goaltender Mason McDonald by Patch Alber. However, Wilkins was penalized on the play for charging much to the dismay of the fans and coach Larry Courville.
At 13:20, Adirondack’s Keegan Kanzig took a cross-checking penalty. The Royals finally were able to beat McDonald, as Justin Crandall fired a shot off McDonald’s pad which bounced right to Ryan Perry in the faceoff circle to bury it past McDonald and to tie the game at 1.
Less than 40 seconds later, Reading’s Steven Swavely collided with Adirondack’s McDonald and injured him, which caused a fight between Reading’s Johnny McGinnis and Adirondack’s Austin Orszulak. Orszulak was called for instigating on the play, giving the Royals a chance to take the lead on the powerplay. However, the Royals were not able to capitalize, and the game would go to overtime.
In overtime, the play was mostly controlled by Adirondack. In the waning moments of the overtime session, Ryan Culkin skated around the back of the net, turned around, and sent the puck through the slot to an open Cullen Bradshaw who banked it off Dekanich’s pad and into the net, giving Adirondack a valuable two points and the win.
FINAL: Adirondack Thunder 2-1 OT
SHOTS: Reading Royals 40-38
- Reading loses their fourth straight game, but they pick up a valuable point, gaining a point on the fifth place Wheeling Nailers.
- Royals goalie Mark Dekanich kept the Royals in the game, making 38 saves on 40 shots.
- Adirondack’s J.C. Campagna has worked his way up the hockey ladder. He started out in the OHL, then the QMJHL, followed by U Sports and then signed an ATO with the Adirondack Thunder. He has notched 6 points in 10 games since joining the Thunder.
- Mark Dekanich and Mason MacDonald were run into a combined three times. Goaltender interference rules must be cleared up, as there is no clear consensus on what exactly is goaltender interference.
- Adirondack is now 24-0-2 when leading after the 2nd period after tonight’s win.
The Royals and Thunder meet again on Saturday night in Reading to finish off the second game of the two-game set. The Royals will look to break their four-game skid while the Thunder will look to win their fifth straight.
There are no more scheduled Reading Royals games for GNGHockey during the regular season.
Dean Snock is a writer for Good Night, Good Hockey and a Hershey Bears reporter. You can follow him on Twitter @DSnock97.