Cincinnati, OH – The Reading Royals (loss, 9-5-0-0=18) 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 Cincinnati Cyclones (10-4-0-0=20), 3-0, at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio.
In the Royals’ first game back in U.S. Bank Arena since winning the Eastern Conference Championship in this building last May, the Cyclones got the last laugh, with Michael Houser—the goaltender who the Royals beat in the best of seven series last spring—pitching the first shutout of the year against Reading. To add insult to injury, it was the former Royal, Barry Almeida, who factored in all three goals, which included scoring the game winner, and would prove to be the game’s first star.
Cincinnati struck first on a counter-punch transition after a golden scoring chance for Yannick Tifu of the Royals. The resulting two-on-one rush up ice was led by Logan Shaw, who slipped a cross-slot pass to a charging Barry Almeida, who in turn ripped a beautiful bullet bar-and-in for his sixth of the season.
The Cyclones built a 2-0 lead 33 seconds into the second with a transition tic-tac-toe which found the Royals standing flat-footed. This one went cross-crease from Almeida to Josh Birkholz who was planted at the left side of the crease and slipped the puck to the low slot where the trailer—defenseman Taylor Aronson, who had started the rush from the neutral zone, had an easy chip for his third of the year.
Cincinnati added to their cushion, when Almeida stepped to the low slot to corral the rebound of a shot by Dan Eves out of the left circle. Almeida spun it home for his second of the night and seventh of the season 6:01 into the third.
The Royals didn’t have the energy to find an answer for Michael Houser, who had all the answers in this one for his first shutout of the season.
The Royals return home on Wednesday (November 27 @ 7:55 pm) when the team will face the Elmira Jackals at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania. The first 1500 fans fifteen years of age and older will receive a Royals’ Championship T-Shirt courtesy of National Penn Bank. Wednesday’s game will also feature the Steak-umm Burger Meal and Ticket Deal, when $20.00 will get fans a purple zone ticket, a Steak-umm Burger, fries and a large soda. Wednesday’s game will also include a post-game ham shoot courtesy of Redner’s Warehouse Markets. The pre-game warm-up show presented by Highmark Blue Shield will kick off at 6:35 pm on CBS Sports Radio 1240 am and 98.5 fm on the Royals Broadcast Network presented by Boscov’s Travel and Apple Vacations.
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