It might be hard to believe, given the Adirondack Thunder’s 1-6 record against Reading this season, but the Thunder are two points ahead of the Royals in the standings. That one Thunder victory came in their last meeting on Dec. 17.
So now the hunters become the hunted, and Adirondack has to maintain its position when it starts a home-and-home series with the Royals on Saturday in Reading. The teams return Sunday for Adirondack’s annual New Year’s Eve game at 5 p.m. The Thunder are coming off a 3-1 win over Manchester on Wednesday, when everything seemed to click. Goalie Nick Riopel made 20 saves, the defense slowed down the speedy Monarchs and Troy Bourke returned to the lineup and provided a goal and an assist.
Ty Loney and James Henry also each had a goal and an assist. Loney now leads the team in goals (15) and points (24). The Thunder’s offense also gets a boost in the return of forward Shane Conacher from the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch.
Thunder coach Brad Tapper said he feels his team can change the narrative on its season series with Reading.
“After you get over that first hump, and we did it the last time,” Tapper said. “(Chris) Nell played well. He’ll go again (Saturday). Everyone has to bring something to the table and step up.”
Tapper said if the Thunder play the right way, he believes they can play with any team in the league.
“We played a simple game against them the last time, but we played within our structure, and if we do that again, we can win,” Tapper said.