Teams Per: 1 2 3
REA: 2 1 1=4
NOR: 1 0 1=2
REA: 41-25-4-2=88 (t-2, North Division)
NOR: 26-40-6-0=58 (7, South Division)
REA: Dekanich (Win, 21-12-3-1) (37/39)
NOR: Desrosiers (Loss, 13-14-0-2) (45/49)
Norfolk, VA – The Reading Royals (Win, 41-25-4-2=88) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, defeated the Norfolk Admirals (Loss, 26-40-6-0=58), 4-2, at The Scope Arena in Norfolk, Virginia.
In the final game of the regular season, the Royals gave up an early power play goal against, but turned things around in relative short-order with a power play goal of their own and pulled away down the stretch to claim the team’s forty-first win of the season—and the second seed in the first round North Division playoffs. Reading pounded the pressure, firing forty-nine shots, and but for a strong performance by goaltender Phillippe Desrosiers things could have been ugly. At the other end, goaltender Mark Dekanich was equally good, recording his fourth consecutive win.
The Royals will face the Brampton Beast in the best-of-seven North Division Semi-Final matchup, which will kick off in Reading on Thursday (April 13) (7:00 pm).
The Admirals struck on their first (and only) power play of the night 3:25 into the first period when Ben Murphy ripped a bullet off the top of the left circle that Dekanich kicked out with his left pad. But the rebound kicked directly to the right circle where a waiting Joey Benik was wide open for the back-door punch-back and his sixteenth of the year.
Reading countered on the team’s second power play chance of the night 7:29 into the first period when Adam Brace got clean look from the top of the right circle and ripped a laser across Desrsoiers’ body and above his blocker for Brace’s eighth of the year—and first as a Royal.
The Royals took a 2-1 lead 15:42 into the first when a strong fore-check by Steven Swavely and Matt Willows on the left half-wall forced a turnover. Swavely stole the puck and slid it to the mid-slot where Olivier Labelle was cutting down the gut wide open and all alone. Labelle settled and ripped a snapper up and over the catching glove of Desrosiers for his team-leading twenty-seventh of the year.
Reading stretched the lead to 3-1 with 2:03 left in the second period, when Olivier Labelle carried down the right wing side, broke around a Norfolk defender and slid a cross-slot pass to a waiting Steven Swavely who uncorked a one-time bomb that blew by Desrosiers for his eighteenth of the year—and what proved to be his second consecutive game winning goal.
The Royals tacked one on with 4:44 left in regulation when Robbie Czarnik went one-on-three in the offensive zone making a highlight reel move out of the right circle to the top of the crease where he swiped a back-hand home for his twenty-third of the year.
The Admirals had one more goal left in them—by John Dunbar with twenty-eight seconds left in the season—but that would prove to be too little, too late, as the Royals ran the team’s record to 6-4-1-0 in the eleven game series with the Admirals.
NEXT UP FOR THE ROYALS
THURSDAY, APRIL 13, 2017
v Brampton Beast
Game One Best-of-Seven North Division Semi-Finals
Santander Arena – Reading, PA
AUDIO: iHeartRadio – Rumba 1340 in Reading
Deibler Dental In Arena Broadcast: 99.3 fm Inside Santander Arena
TELEVISION: Royals’ Road Games are televised locally in Berks County, Pennsylvania
on BCTV, which Can Found at Comcast Reading Cable Channel 15,
Service Electric Cable Channel 19, Comcast Southern Berks Channel 965
Courtesy of Boscov’s Travel and Apple Vacations
STREAMING VIDEO: ECHL.TV powered by NeuLion (Pay-Per-View)
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