Reading, PA – The Reading Royals (1-0-0-0=2) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League and the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League, defeated the South Carolina Stingrays (0-0-0-1=1), 3-2, in a shootout before 6,079 at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania.
On a night that started with the Royals raising the 2013 ECHL Kelly Cup Championship Banner to the rafters of the recently re-named Santander Arena, Reading scored first—and had a number of other quality early scoring chances—but needed a third-period game-tying power play goal from newcomer Louie Caporusso to get the shootout, which was won in the sixth round by T.J. Syner. Reading got to the shootout only after killing off a full two-minutes of five-on-three power play against in the overtime.
The Royals came out storming and, but for several excellent saves by the Stingrays’ Jeff Jakaitis (SOL, 0-0-0-1, 26/28 in 64:41), could have run away with this one. As it was, the Royals struck first on the team’s second power play chance of the year, when Dustin Gazely, David Marshall and T.J. Syner connected on a precision-passing play that set Syner up for a hot bullet from the right hash-mark that beat Jakaitis high glove side 5:49 into the game.
South Carolina hung on and took the lead with back-to-back goals separated by only 1:35 early in the second period. The first came when the Royals got caught in a terrible change, which allowed Kevin Quick to lead a three-on-one rush into Reading’s end. Although goaltender Riley Gill (win, 1-0-0-0, 20/22 in 64:44) rejected Quick’s original bid, he was unable to prevent Jack Downing, who was charging the crease, from stuffing in a rebound pass from Quick 4:23 into the second. South Carolina then capitalized on the power play when Gill stopped Scott Campbell’s bid from the right point, but Jordan Owens stuffed back the rebound 5:58 into the second.
Reading tied the game 4:10 into the third on the team’s sixth (and final) power play of the night. Stanislav Galiev timed a perfect diagonal-down pass off the left point to a hard-charging Caporusso, who slipped through the right circle, cut across the top of the crease, and stuffed his first of the season into the net.
The Royals’ collective backs were decidedly against the wall 1:40 into overtime, when simultaneous tripping minors were assessed against Bryant Molle and Yannick Tifu. But the PK held strong and killed two-minutes of five-on-three to get to the shootout. The skills competition took six rounds. Tifu (shooting second) scored for the Royals; but Jordan Owens (shooting fourth) answered for the Stingrays. After Gill rejected Wayne Simpson’s bid, shooting sixth for South Carolina, Syner snapped his chance by Jakaitis to pull out the come-back win.
The Royals and Stingrays go at again tomorrow (Sunday, October 20 @ 4:05 pm) at Santander Arena. The first 3500 fans get a schedule magnet courtesy of Deibler Dental. It’s also a Berks Packing Dollar Day ($1.00 hot dogs, nachos, popcorn and sodas). There is also a post-game Bring Your Own Skates Skate with the Players.
End 13 10-19