NORFOLK, VA. - The Reading Royals (11-8-1-1) scored four times in the first 40 minutes to bury the Norfolk Admirals (2-12-4-0) 4-1 on Friday night.
The Royals were the first team to get on the scoreboard on Friday, courtesy of a power play goal from Chris McCarthy. With time winding down on Aaron Harstad's tripping minor, Josh Brittain failed to clear the puck, giving Reading clear possession. Mike Pereira sent a pass out in front and after the initial shot was turned aside, the rebound deflected off of John Kurtz's skate and directly to McCarthy for a one-time blast. It was the only tally of the first period, thus giving Reading a 1-0 head start.
In the second Reading extended their lead to 2-0, as former Admiral Mike Pelech went top-shelf on Eetu Laurikainen. It looked like Admirals forward Nick MacNeil was going to be able to clear his own zone with the puck but Tyrell Goulbourne had other ideas as he shuffled the puck along the boards to Matt Wilkins. Wilkins made a nifty between-the-legs shuffle pass over to Pereira, who then worked it even more towards the center of the ice, where Pelech ripped it home to give Reading the two-goal advantage.
Pelech's was the first of three for the Royals in the middle frame and the first of two points on the night for Royals forward Mike Pereira. After Admirals defenseman Alex Pompeo mishandled a pass in his direction at the point, John Dunbar hustled back to recover from the mistake. He pitched a short pass to Gabriel Verpaelst but Verpaelst's attempted give-and-go failed horribly, leaving the puck for Justin Crandall. Crandall found a wide open Pereira in the slot who immediately went upstairs, giving the Royals the lead by three.
Before the middle period concluded, the visiting side would tack on yet another. Paul Rodrigues took a slashing minor, causing his team to be shorthanded and Ryan Penny would make him pay for it. Similar to the first Admirals penalty kill, a failed clear wound up in the lap of Florian Iberer, who then explored his option to the left of Crandall. With no shooting lane present, Crandall sent the puck back to the blue line to Iberer, who then lined up a stupendous one-timer for Ryan Penny to whistle past Laurikainen.
Despite entering the third down 4-0 the Admirals would earn a low-lying highlight in the frame, in the form of a Verpaelst power play goal. It's no secret the Admirals have struggled on special teams thus far this season and being able to get one in that category may be able to spark some change. After an offensive zone draw win by Brodie Dupont, Norfolk was able to work the puck around, eventually allowing #27 to place a puck through traffic for the lone tally of the night.
The Royals and Admirals will go at it again tomorrow night with puck drop beginning at 7:15. It's Star Wars night at Scope, so be sure to come dressed in theme and enjoy the evening! Tickets are still on sale now on Ticketmaster.com as well as in person at the Norfolk Scope box office. For more information on the team, be sure to follow the team's website, as well as all social media accounts.Box Score