GLENS FALLS — The Adirondack Thunder lived out a transition of Bill Murray movies on Sunday. They went from “Groundhog Day,” where they were forced to relive the same day until getting it right, to “Ghostbusters,” where they vanquished the foe and felt on top of the world.
The Thunder’s 6-2 win over Reading was their first victory in seven tries against the Royals this season. It was a big win for several reasons, the most important being that first feeling of success. Another reason is that Reading is a fellow North Division foe, and divisional wins are most important.
Finally, the deck was again stacked in Reading’s favor. The Thunder were playing their third game in three days and were visiting Reading. They had been the visitor for four of the previous six matchups, and it seems like they were nearly always completing some rough stretch when facing the Royals.
“I think the biggest thing was we came out pretty hard and got pucks to the net,” defenseman Conor Riley said. “We got a couple lucky bounces early, but when you’re competing like that, you end up with the luck you’re (generating).”
“We had some really good breakout situations,” Thunder coach Brad Tapper said. “That’s been our focus the last couple of weeks in practice more and more, trying to hit something with breakouts every day.”
Tapper said he also liked the way the offense moved and scored two power-play goals from three chances. Add to that solid goaltending from Chris Nell and the defense not letting Reading get behind it, and the Thunder may have finally figured out what works.
“I think what we did good Sunday is got pucks behind their D and made their D break it out instead of turning pucks over on the blue line and having them get breakaways,” Riley said.
Now that the Thunder have figured out what works against Reading, they’ll need to employ the same tactics Wednesday against division leader Manchester, who have scored and average of 3.85 goals per game and allowed just 2.81 goals per game — both division bests.
The good news is that while Adirondack is tied for third in points in the division, it owns a 2-0 record against Manchester: a 6-5 shootout win on Oct. 20 and a 5-4 win on Nov. 18.
“They’re similar to Reading in that they’ve got a lot of high-skilled forwards that are fast, so I think it’s more of the same, just making sure the puck is getting behind their D and forechecking,” Riley said.
“We need the same mentality that when we don’t have the puck, we are tracking and reloading hard to get above them,” Tapper said. “They are a quick team, they do have skill, they do have goaltending. We’re home and we have to do a good job.”