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Royals Fall in Game Four in Stockton, 4-3

Saturday, May 25th
Royals Fall in Game Four in Stockton, 4-3

Reading Scores First But the Thunder Staves Off Elimination with an Energized Performance on Home Ice

Stockton, CA– The Reading Royals of the ECHL, affiliate of the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League and the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League, were defeated by the Stockton Thunder, 4-3, in Game Four of the best-of-seven Kelly Cup Championship Final match-up between the Royals and Thunder at Stockton Arena in Stockton, California. The Royals now lead the series three games to one. Reading scored first, but Stockton rebounded with two quick back-to-back first period goals after goaltender Olivier Roy was knocked out of the game in a collision with Reading’s Nikita Kashirsky. Stockton never trailed from that point forward, despite significant push back from the Royals—particularly in the third period. The win for the Thunder staved off elimination and set up Game Five at Stockton Arena tomorrow night (Saturday, May 25 @ 10:30 pm eastern). Stockton had the first bite at the apple with an early penalty shot awarded when Matt Reber was hauled down after slipping behind the Royals’ defenders. Reber attempted to go stick side on Riley Gill (12-3-1, 30/34) on the PS, but Gill got a chunk of the puck with his stick and blocker to keep the puck out. Reading then broke through 7:54 into the first, when Yannick Tifu dug a puck off the end wall and fed out front to T.J. Syner, who snapped one by Olivier Roy (no decision, 2/3 in 10:25) for his eighth of the playoff season. 10:25 into the first Nikita Kashirsky charged hard down the left wing side cut to the side of the crease and had a heavy collision with the Stockton goaltender, Roy, who had to come out of the game in favor of backup Tyler Bunz (win, 1-0-0, 25/27 in 49:35). But Kashirsky was assessed with a goaltender interference penalty; and Stockton capitalized on the ensuing power play when Shawn Wellar deflected a shot from the high slot by Nathan Deck. The Royals argued that the shot was deflected with a high stick but the goal was ruled good 11:05 into the first. 1:10 after that, a long stretch pass from Shawn Boutin sent Eric Hunter on a clean breakaway. He went forehand, backhand-top shelf for his fourth of the playoff season to give the Thunder a 2-1 lead. Stockton gained their first two-goal lead of the series 11:19 into the second period after a defensive zone turnover by the Royals resulted in a mad scramble around Reading’s crease. As Gill searched for the puck his helmet was knocked off his head just as Reber found the loose puck and slipped it through the pile for his second of the playoff season. Reading drew within one 6:01 into the third when Kirk MacDonald fired off the right wing wall. The puck hit goaltender Bunz in the upper body and rebounded to the mid-slot, where Joel Champagne stepped in and ripped it home for his second of the playoff season. 1:13 later, however, the Thunder re-took the two goal lead when Reading coughed one up in the defensive zone. Hunter gained possession and ripped a hot snapper from the high slot that beat Gill high glove for his second of the night and fifth of the playoff season. Reading drew back within one when Julien Cayer battled to gain possession of a puck at the defensive blue line and fed a breaking Ethan Cox, who in turn hit Ian O’Connor with a pass down the left wing side. O’Connor drilled one low stick out of the left circle that beat Bunz low short-side. The Royals pressed down the stretch, which included a sequence of six-on-four skater advantage in the waning moments after Stockton’s Garet Hunt was assessed with an interference penalty at 19:11. Reading got the chance the team wanted—a multi-shot rebound opportunity in the blue paint—with time ticking down, but never could net the equalizer. The Royals and Thunder play Game Five of the best-of-seven Kelly Cup Championship Finals on Saturday (May 25 @ 10:30 pm eastern time) at Stockton Arena in Stockton, California. Saturday’s game night broadcast on CBS Sports Radio 1240 am and 98.5 fm will kick off with the pre-game warm-up show presented by Steve Moyer Subaru at 10:00 pm eastern time. As with all Royals road games, Saturday’s game will be televised locally in Berks County, Pennsylvania, on BCTV courtesy of Boscov’s Travel and Apple Vacations. Ticket information for the ECHL’s Kelly Cup Championship Finals matchup between the Reading Royals and the Stockton Thunder can be obtained by calling the Royals office (610-898-PUCK) or by logging onto the Royals website: www.royalshockey.com. KELLY CUP CHAMPIONSHIP FINALSReading Royals v Stockton Thunder READING LEADS SERIES THREE GAMES TO ONEGame One: Reading 6 – Stockton 5 OT (Sovereign Center, Reading PA)Game Two: Reading 4 – Stockton 0 (Sovereign Center, Reading, PA)Game Three: Reading 3 – Stockton 1 (Stockton Arena, Stockton, CA)Game Four: Stockton 4 – Reading 3 (Stockton Arena, Stockton, CA)Game Five: Saturday, May 25 (10:30 pm et) at Stockton Arena, Stockton, CAGame Six (IF NECESSARY): Tuesday, May 28 (7:05 pm) at Sovereign Center, Reading, PAGame Seven (IF NECESSARY): Wednesday, May 29 (7:05 pm) at Sovereign Center, Reading, PA