The Wheeling Nailers and Reading Royals played the second of 12 emotional contests in their 2014-15 season series on Thursday night, and for the second time, it was the home team getting the two points. Reading’s Adam Hughesman scored 34 seconds into the game, and Connor Knapp made 29 saves, as the Royals defeated the Nailers, 3-1 at Santander Arena.
The first period was done in the blink of an eye, as it took only 25 minutes to play the frame. The lone goal was scored at the 34-second mark, when the Royals came out with a spook in their Halloween jerseys. Bryant Molle dished the puck to Adam Hughesman, who wristed a shot through Franky Palazzese’s legs from the right face-off dot.
After a scoreless second, Reading extended its advantage in the third. At the 6:30 mark, Jordan Heywood tossed in a wrist shot from the right point, which appeared to deflect off of something in the slot, before bouncing into the bottom part of the net. Later in the stanza, Olivier Labelle added an insurance tally, when he followed up Cam Reid’s initial chance, batting in a rebound on the right side of the crease. Unfortunately, the Nailers were unable to overcome the deficit, but they did get a goal late, as Sahir Gill dangled through the defense, before sliding a shot into the left side of the goal. The Royals victory came by a 3-1 score.
Connor Knapp was the winning goaltender for Reading, after stopping 29 of the 30 shots he faced. Franky Palazzese came up on the short end for Wheeling, making 19 saves on 22 shots.
The Nailers and Royals will meet again on Saturday night at 7:35, as Wheeling hosts Mascot Mania at WesBanco Arena.