GLENS FALLS — When Adirondack Thunder officials got the call that Reading’s bus had broken down roughly three hours outside of Glens Falls on Saturday, they could go to the blueprint developed last year.
It’s the second straight year a Reading bus has broken down on the way to Glens Falls. The Thunder made their less-than-punctual guests pay a price, topping the Royals 4-1 in ECHL action at Cool Insuring Arena.
After a wait of about 45 minutes Saturday, a replacement bus picked the Royals up and continued the journey. Reading arrived at Cool Insuring Arena at 6:45 p.m.
The delay caused warmups and pregame to be shortened. The scheduled 7 p.m. faceoff turned into a 7:47 p.m. start.
The Thunder left Reading after their game Friday night, but the Royals opted to leave Saturday morning.
Cool Insuring Arena General Manager Jeff Mead made the best of a bad situation for fans who came expecting an on-time start by playing the NFC divisional playoff game between Atlanta and Philadelphia on the overhead video board.
The late start had one detrimental effect on the Thunder in that they have a 2 p.m. game Sunday at Brampton, six hours and 15 minutes away. But after Saturday’s effort, it appears to be the only negative going for the Thunder.
Adirondack got another solid goaltending effort from Drew Fielding, solid offense from every line, but especially its first line of James Henry, Shane Conacher and Brian Ward, and great physicality.
Drew Fielding made 31 saves to improve his record to 9-3 this season. The first line accounted for three goals and four assists.
The Thunder took a 1-0 lead just 2:56 into the game as Henry picked up the puck in the neutral zone, skated ahead of his defender, waited for a sprinting Ward and then fed across to him. Ward one-timed it past Mark Dekanich for his 10th goal of the season.
Conacher later fed Henry, who waited for a second before snapping one past Dekanich for his 13th goal of the season at 15:17.
The Thunder added to their impressive power-play numbers this season at 12:02 of the second period. Ward fed Conacher, who ripped a slap shot for his ninth goal of the season and a 3-0 lead.
The Thunder made it 4-0 when Pierre-Luc Mercier found Tim Harrison all alone below the right circle, and Harrison notched his sixth of the season at 14:59.
Brian Morgan finally lit the lamp for Reading with a shot that went off Fielding and trickled in at 18:58 of the second.
NOTES: With the late scratch of Ty Loney to an upper-body injury, Henry was chosen as his replacement for Monday’s CCM/ECHL All-Star Classic in Indianapolis. … The Thunder’s Travis Armstrong, Andrew Radjenovic and Vytal Cote all got fighting majors Saturday, however all three clearly had the upper hand, to the adoration of the 3,147 in attendance.