Teams Per: 1 2 3
NOR: 1 1 3=5
REA: 1 0 2=3
NOR: 18-26-4-0=40 (7, South Division)
REA: 28-17-1-2=59 (2, North Division)
NOR: Anderson (win, 11-5-0-0) (37/40)
REA: Ouellette (loss, 11-7-0-1) (25/29) (58:26) (1 eng)
Reading, PA – The Reading Royals (loss, 28-17-1-2=59) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, were defeated by the Norfolk Admirals (win, 17-26-4-0=38), 5-3, at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania.
In the back-end of a two-game set between the Royals and Admirals, Norfolk completed the sweep despite the fact that Reading scored first—and last—but in between the Admirals built several multi-goal leads at 3-1, 4-2, 5-2 and ultimately 5-3. The Royals, who squandered 1:53 of five-on-three power play early in the second, had considerable difficulty solving goaltender Brandon Anderson, a former Royal, who came back to haunt the team with thirty-seven saves. The Royals have now lost three (or more) consecutive games for the third time this season and have fallen into a three-way tie with Adirondack and Brampton for second place in the North Division.
Reading poured heavy pressure in the early going, and despite several big saves by Anderson, bagged the game’s first goal 6:16 in, when Florian Iberer picked off a clearing attempt at the left point and fired a wrist pass that Johnny McInnis deftly redirected on net. Anderson kicked that bid out with the left pad, but McInnis stayed with the play and chipped the rebound up and over Anderson into the upper reaches of the net for his tenth of the year.
Norfolk answered 15:34 into the first when Joey Benik fired a shot from the high slot that went wide right, but ricocheted hard off the end wall and bounced back above the goal line on the right side, where defenseman Frankie Simonelli stepped up for a quick snapper that beat goaltender Martin Ouellette on the short-side before he could get to the pipe to seal off the opening.
The Admirals took their first lead 7:21 into the second period, shortly after thwarting the Royals’ long sequence of five-on-three power play. Dmitri Sergeev fired a hot snapper from the right point into heavy traffic in front of the Royals’ net. The Royals defenders, who had the inside track at the top of the crease, blocked the shot, but it fell to a spot where Brady Vail was perfectly positioned for the put back and his ninth of the year.
Norfolk shoved a dagger to the heart of the Royals 4:56 into the third period, when a turnover in the neutral zone resulted in a steal and charge into the offensive zone for Ben Murphy, who carried deep into the right circle where, despite being well guarded, he was able to fire a hard snap shot that slipped by Ouellette on the short side for his twelfth of the year.
Reading pressed hard at that point and hit pay-dirt 9:21 into the final frame to make it 3-2 when Nick Luukko drilled a shot from the mid-slot that Anderson kicked out with the right pad. The rebound, however, fell to the left side of the crease where McInnis had the inside track for a punch-back rebound goal and his second of the game and eleventh of the year.
As the Royals pushed for the equalizer, Reading was awarded a power play chance 11:50 into the third, during which defenseman Reece Willcox had a golden look from the mid-slot but that bid was foiled by a diving block by Norfolk’s Brodie Dupont.
In relative short-order after the conclusion of the Royals’ power play chance, the Admirals regained the two-goal advantage when Paul Rodrigues made a spin move at the left side of the Royals’ net and attempted to slip the puck to the low slot. This time, it was Willcox who went down attempting to block the pass, but unfortunately the puck his arm and quickly slipped into the net for Rodrigues’ eighth of the year 16:20 into the final frame.
Reading pulled out all the stops at that point and pulled Ouellette in favor of a sixth attacker with over two minutes left. Simonelli made the Royals’ pay with 1:14 remaining when he threaded a bouncing, spinning, rolling 185-footer from deep in his defensive zone directly into the middle of the net for the 5-2 lead.
If nothing else, the Royals did get the game’s last goal when Tyrell Goulbourne made a strong power move out of the right circle to get to the top of the crease where he stuffed the puck behind Anderson for his sixth of the year; but that was too little, too late to salvage anything out of a pointless three-game home stand for the Royals.
NEXT UP FOR THE ROYALS
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2017
@ ADIRONDACK THUNDER
Glens Falls Civic Center – Glens Falls, NY (6:00 pm)
AUDIO: iHeartRadio – Rumba 1340 in Reading
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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