NORFOLK, VA. - Both goaltenders shined on Saturday night but in the end Mark Dekanich's Reading Royals (12-8-1-1) outlasted Connor Knapp's Norfolk Admirals (2-13-4-0), 2-1.
Justin Crandall had two helpers on Friday night in Reading's 4-1 victory and began Saturday's scoresheet with an unassisted shorthanded goal. Zach Pochiro attempted to coordinate a cross-ice give and go with Gabriel Verpaelst but instead missed his target and the puck scattered out to center ice. It was there where Crandall picked the puck up and used the open space to drive all the way in on Connor Knapp before making a backhand-forehand move in tight to beat the netminder for the first goal of the evening. Crandall's fourth of the year came at the 16:33 mark.
Norfolk would even the game at 1-1 in the second though as Nick MacNeil tipped home his team-leading sixth of the year. Just 33 seconds into the middle frame the Admirals gathered the puck deep in Reading's zone but kicked it back out high to Aaron Harstad. Harstad shuffled the puck to his partner Sam Noreau, where the Montreal native would unleash a blast MacNeil would deflect home.
Most of the second period transpired at a tie score, however with just over two minutes remaining Reading earned a deflection of their own to retake the lead. Olivier Labelle was staked out in front when Chris McCarthy unleashed a one-timer from the point that changed directions via Labelle for his 11th of the season.
No scoring would take place in the third as both Dekanich and Knapp stopped all ten sent their way. Despite a late charge, including pulling Knapp in favor of the extra attacker, Norfolk couldn't find the back of the net, thus resulting in the 2-1 final. When the final buzzer sounded, Reading's netminder stopped 34 of 35 and former Royal netminder Connor Knapp turned aside 32 of 34.
The Admirals will now hit the road for a four-game road trip, beginning on Tuesday in Adirondack. The team takes on the Thunder twice, as well as the Manchester Monarchs in the middle. Following the trip the Admirals will return home for a three game set against the South Carolina Stingrays. It's the Stingrays first trip to Scope this season with games on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Tickets can be purchased on Ticketmaster.com as well as at Norfolk Scope Arena's box office. For more information on the team, follow the team on all social media platforms or call 757-640-1212.Box Score