(Photo Credit: Tom Boland / Reading Royals)
READING, PA. - In a contest filled with 61 total shots on goal on Sunday afternoon in Reading, only three were placed in the back of the net as Mark Dekanich's Reading Royals (34-21-1-2) were able to hold off Brandon Anderson's Norfolk Admirals (21-32-4-0) by a score of 2-1.
Reading was able to strike for one goal in both of the first two periods, first coming on a Matt Wilkins shorthanded tally. The Royals rookie picked up a rebound in his own end, went coast-to-coast, took on three Admirals defenders and fired one past Anderson before any could jostle the puck off of his tape. It was an unassisted mark and it came with just 59 seconds left in the opening period.
Another Matt was able to extend the home team's lead to 2-0 in the second, as Matt Willows split the Norfolk defense and buried on a breakaway. Using his speed, the second year pro from the University of New Hampshire took a feed from Ryan Penny and shifted backhand before sliding one past Anderson.
Ben Murphy gave the Admirals a glimpse of hope in the third though, spoiling Dekanich's shutout bid. While on the power play, #20 caught a piece a Mikael Tam's shot from the circle and redirected it upon the Reading netminder. While Dekanich had the first try stopped, the puck was left loose and a second effort from the Bowling Green product cut the deficit in half for the visitors.
Norfolk was able to use the momentum to garner a few chances in the final seven minutes following Murphy's goal, however Reading's netminder was just too tough on Sunday, earning his team the victory. The former Nashville Predators draft pick stopped 25 of 26 over the course of the battle, just being one better than Brandon Anderson's 33 of 35 for Norfolk.
The Admirals will return home to Norfolk briefly before continuing their road stretch in Elmira later in the week, followed by stops in Manchester and Reading once again in the next nine days. After those tilts the Admirals will settle at Scope for St. Patrick's Day Weekend to host the same Reading Royals.
Friday, March 17 the team will have drink specials for a 7:30 puck drop and Saturday, March 18 is Sell Out The Scope Night, plus Pucks and Paws, as folks are allowed to bring their dog to the game for just a $5 donation to a local animal shelter. Additionally, there is a cap giveaway sponsored by BB&T, green ice and green jerseys to encompass the holiday flare.
Tickets are on sale now on Ticketmaster.com and at the Norfolk Scope box office.