GLENS FALLS — The Adirondack Thunder pride themselves on never letting losses pile up. At all.
And while Reading made things exciting Friday, the Thunder delivered on their promise to themselves. Brian Ward scored in the fifth round of the shootout to give Adirondack a 3-2 win over the Royals in an ECHL game before 4,401 fans at Cool Insuring Arena. The Thunder are 3-0 following a loss this season.
“It was a little too close at the end, but getting the two points is what matters,” said defenseman Kelly Summers, who scored his first professional goal in the second period. “(The team) said good teams don’t lose two in a row. We definitely wanted to bounce back tonight, make sure we took the right step forward.”
The Thunder (9-3) took a 1-0 lead at 10:44 of the first period on one of the few positive moments they had in the opening stanza. Despite having six icings and only putting three shots on goal the first 20 minutes, they scored when Jakob Reichert, outside the circle and close to the boards, sent the puck toward the net. It went by one Thunder and right to Cullen Bradshaw at the far post and he redirected it in.
Adirondack made it 2-0 at 2:51 of the second when Shane Conacher’s pass from behind slowly came to a waiting Summers, whose slapshot found the upper left part of the net.
The Thunder’s penalty kill, which allowed two goals in their 5-1 loss to Brampton on Wednesday, stepped up early in the third period. With Dennis Kravchenko serving a four-minute double minor, Bradshaw was whistled for tripping, resulting in 1:35 of 5 on 3 and another 25 seconds of 5 on 4.
Captain James Henry blocked four consecutive shots during the 5 on 3, and Matias Cleland blocked a fifth during the 5 on 4.
“That’s our captain blocking shots right there,” Ward said of Henry.
“That’s a huge momentum shift,” Thunder coach Alex Loh said of killing the penalties.
With its goalie on the bench in favor of another skater, Reading made it 2-1 with Brayden’s Low rebound with 1:58 left. Then, with 0.5 second left, Josh MacDonald’s shot found the net to send the game into 3-on-3 overtime.
“The timing isn’t great, but otherwise it is what it is. We stayed strong mentally and got the job done,” Loh said.
Thunder goalie Cam Johnson and Reading’s second goalie in the game, Angus Redmond, were sharp in the shootout, until Ward finally figured a way past Redmond. Then Johnson responded with a save of Alex Krushelnyski to give the Thunder the win.
“It’s kind of a move I’ve been working on for a while,” Ward said of the goal. “Try to catch them off guard; they don’t think I’m going to shoot it because you’re stick-handling. The five-hole was there. I thought it might work in that situation.”
Summers, in his rookie season after a college career at Clarkson, enjoyed the extra hockey.
“Coming from college, we don’t see those that much anyways,” Summers said. “It’s pretty exciting, it’s fast-moving hockey.”
Thunder 3, Royals 2
Reading 0 0 2 0 0 — 2
Adirondack 1 1 0 0 1 — 3
First period — 1, Adirondack, Bradshaw 2 (Reichert, Edwardh), 10:44.
Second period — 2, Adirondack, Summers 1 (Conacher), 2:51.
Third period — 3, Reading, Low 2 (MacDonald), 18:02. 4, Reading, MacDonald 5 (Luukko), 19:59.
Overtime — None.
Shootout — Adirondack, Ward (5th round).
Power plays — Reading 0-4, Adirondack 0-3.
Goalies-saves — Reading, Komm (24 shots-22 saves), Redmond (5-5). Adirondack, Johnson (25-23).
A — 4,401
Referee — Gour.