READING, Pa. — The Adirondack Thunder had a gangbusters start, but couldn’t finish it Saturday.
After holding a 3-1 lead after the first period, the Thunder gave up four unanswered goals in a 5-3 loss to Reading.
Coupled with Manchester’s win over Maine, the Thunder at least know Manchester will be their opponent in the first round of the ECHL playoffs, but it’s undetermined who will have home-ice advantage.
If the Thunder earn at least one point from Sunday’s regular-season finale against Worcester, they will get second place in the North Division and home ice. If not, Manchester earns second place based on more wins. It will be the fourth straight year the teams have met in the playoffs.
Brian Ward, the Thunder’s all-time leading goal scorer, tallied the first two of the game on rebounds, scoring at 7:34 and 10:27 of the first period. His second goal gave him 20 this season, marking his third 20-goal season with the team. No other Thunder player in the team’s four-year history has two.
Desmond Bergin’s eighth goal of the season put Adirondack ahead 3-1 with 1:26 left in the first. Dylan Walchuk notched two assists in the period, making it his second multi-point effort in three games.
From there, however, it was all Reading. After peppering Royals goalie Jamie Phillips with 18 shots in the first period, the Thunder were held to 11 in the next two.