GLENS FALLS — Glens Falls is starting to become a favored destination for the Reading Royals.
They’ve won their last two games at Cool Insuring Arena, one week apart, with an emergency backup goalie and a goalie sent down from the AHL.
For the Adirondack Thunder, however, home ice hasn’t been an advantage lately, as they’ve lost their last three games here, the latest being Reading’s 3-1 victory Saturday.
“Tonight we were a little better than the scoreboard showed,” Thunder coach Alex Loh said. “They did what they needed to do to get a good road win and we just couldn’t find the back of the net for whatever reason.”
Part of the reason was again, goaltending — this time from Callum Booth, who had a 3-1 record in five games with Charlotte of the AHL before being sent down earlier Saturday. He saved 31 of 32 shots.
The Thunder dug themselves an early hole, allowing two first-period goals, and one wouldn’t have seen that coming in the game’s first eight minutes. Through that time, Adirondack had a 10-3 shot advantage. For the rest of the period, Reading outshot the Thunder 10-1.
Chris McCarthy made it 1-0 at 12:27 when he collected Frank Hora’s shot — more of a softly directed pass to the net in the hopes of something happening. Something did: The puck went off two sticks and landed at McCarthy, who poked it past Alex Sakellaropoulos (25 saves).
“I think we start to get a little excited,” Loh said. “We start to play a lot of offense in their zone, then all of a sudden we have to play defense and we’re not quite ready.”
“At the beginning of the year, it seemed like every bounce was going our way,” Thunder forward Conor Riley said of the good and bad bounces. “Throughout the year that’s going to happen.”
Adam Schmidt made it 2-0 at 17:51 when he kept it on a 2-on-1 and rifled the puck in the upper right part of the net.
It stayed that way until 5:09 of the third period when Riley added to his team high by scoring his 12th goal of the season on a rebound of Mike Szmatula’s shot.
The Thunder followed with another hot spurt, but it didn’t translate into another goal.
“The momentum was kind of switching our way there in the third,” Riley said. “A few shifts after that we were all over them and getting chances, guys in front of the net. It was just like deja vu from last week; their goalie played awesome.”
Reading got the insurance goal at 14:46 when Michael Huntebrinker was allowed to stay outside the crease too long and poked in a second rebound.
“There were certain things we could have done to prevent all those goals, so we’ve got to fix those. You can’t really afford to have down spurts against these good teams. ... You can’t get away with having two or three minutes off,” Loh said.
While there is plenty of time left in the season, the Thunder obviously can’t afford the inconsistency they’ve shown recently. Newfoundland is six points ahead of them atop the North Division, and behind them sit Reading just three points back and Brampton and Maine each four points back.
Royals 3, Thunder 1
Reading 2 0 1 — 3
Adirondack 0 0 1 — 1
First Period — 1, Reading, McCarthy 2 (Hora), 12:27. 2, Reading, Schmidt 4 (Swavely, Riley), 17:51.
Second Period — None.
Third Period — 3, Adirondack, Riley 12 (Szmatula), 5:09. 4, Reading, Huntebrinker 7 (MacDonald), 14:46.
Power Plays — Reading 0-2. Adirondack 0-1.
Goalies — Reading, Booth (32 shots-31 saves). Adirondack, Sakellaropoulos (28-25).
A — 2,543.
Referee — Gour.