Reading Builds Two-Games-to-None Lead Against Jackals In Conference Quarterfinals Best-of-Five Series
Reading, PA – The Reading Royals of the ECHL (2-0-0), affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League and the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League, defeated the Elmira Jackals (0-2-0), 4-2, in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal playoff series at Sovereign Center in Reading, Pennsylvania. Reading built a 3-0 lead and held off a strong attack down the stretch from the Jackals to build a two-games-to-none lead in the best-of-five first round series.
Goaltender Mark Owuya (win, 2-0-0, 38/40) had another solid outing and stretched his personal win streak with Reading to six with his second playoff win. Elmira’s Timo Pielmeier (loss, 0-1-0, 21/24, 1 eng) took the loss in his first start in this playoff season. Reading bagged the team’s first two goals while playing with the man advantage (2-3). Elmira’s power play came up empty in a pair of chances with the man advantage (0-2).
Reading struck on the team’s first power play chance of the night. Kenny Ryan fed Yannick Riendeau behind the Elmira net. Riendeau slipped a pass to the low slot where Dale Mitchell found a soft seam for a quick shot and his first goal of the playoff season 2:58 into the game.
The Royals also hit pay dirt on the team’s second power play chance of the night. Matt Caruana took control on the left half-wall and fed the puck to the top of the crease, where a scrum ensued. Olivier Labelle kept the puck alive long enough for Mikael Bedard to step into the fray and swipe the puck behind Pielmeier for his first of the playoff season 12:23 into the first.
Reading extended the team’s lead to 3-0 with just 1:02 remaining in the second period. Caruana came out of the penalty box after serving a minor penalty just in time to go on a two-on-one rush with Ian O’Connor, who carried deep into the offensive end and slipped a cross-ice pass to Caruana, who was charging down the left wing side. The puck skipped over Caruana’s stick, but he was able to track it down in the left corner and pass it behind the net to a waiting O’Connor, who deftly banked the puck off Pielmeier from behind the net, causing it to ricochet in for his first of the playoff season.
Elmira pressed in the third and made a game of it with a couple of goals. The first came 9:48 into the final period, when Owuya mishandled a puck behind the net, allowing Elmira’s Mike Radja to step in and gain possession. Radja quickly slipped the puck to the mid-slot where Dustin Gazely settled and fired before Owuya could get completely set, beating him up high for Gazely’s first of the playoff season.
The Jackals cut the Royals lead to one (3-2) with 49.5 seconds left in regulation. With the goaltender pulled and the sixth attacker on the ice, Gazely fed Radja in the high slot for a hard drive that Artem Demkov deflected on the way in for his first of the playoff season.
Reading was able to take a breath after Kenny Ryan completed the ‘Gordie Howe Hattrick’ with an empty netter with 33 seconds left in the game. With the Elmira net empty again, Denny Urban stole at the defensive blue line and fed Ryan in the center circle. He gained the center red line and threaded a ninety-footer into the empty net for his third of the playoff season to ice the Royals second playoff victory in two nights.
The Royals and Jackals head to Elmira for Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarter Final best of five series on Friday (April 6, 2012 @ 7:05 pm) at First Arena in Elmira, New York. Friday’s game night broadcast will start at 6:35 pm with the Red Robin Gourmet Burger Pre-Game Warm-up Show on ESPN Radio 1240 am in Reading. Streaming audio is available free of charge courtesy of America One through the Royals’ website, www.royalshockey.com. As with all Royals road games this season, Friday’s game will be televised live locally in Berks County, Pennsylvania on BCTV courtesy of Boscov’s Travel and the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.