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Royals Can't Hold Back High-Flying Florida, 4-1

Friday, December 13th
Royals Can't Hold Back High-Flying Florida, 4-1

Reading, PA – The Reading Royals (Loss, 10-8-1-0=21) 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 Florida Everblades (Win, 16-6-1-1=34), 4-1, at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Florida struck on their first power play chance of the night, but the Royals weathered that storm and tied the game at one mid-way into the second. However, the Everblades responded with back-to-back goals within two-and-a-half minutes of that strike to build a two-goal lead they would never relinquish. Despite generating 39 shots on goal—and getting several Grade-A opportunities, the Royals were left with only one goal (or less) to show for it for the fifth time this year.

For the sixth straight game, the opposition scored first on Reading. In this one, the Everblades scored six seconds into their first opportunity with the man advantage 7:19 into the first period. Mathieu Roy won an offensive zone face-off to the right point, where Braden Birch took a low, hard slap shot. Royals’ goaltender Riley Gill (loss, 6-4-0-0, 39/42) made the save in pile of traffic, but the rebound slid out to the low slot where the leading scorer in the league, Mathew Pistilli, gained possession and lifted a back-hand up and over Gill for his fourteenth of the year.

Reading tied the game 11:27 into the second, when Marvin Degon fired a shot from the right point that sailed through the legs of Florida goaltender Trevor Cann (win, 3-2-0-0, 38/39), who got just enough of the puck to cause it to hit the right pipe and fall above the goal line. However, Dustin Gazley got to the puck first and stuffed it in for his fifth of the year.

1:06 after that, Florida re-took the lead when Olivier Dame-Malka fired a shot from just inside the blue line on the left side that somehow eluded Gill and slid across the goal-line for Dame-Malka’s third of the season. 1:28 after that, the Everblades got some insurance with another shot from just inside the blue line. This one was off the stick of Birch and went through several floating screens out in front of Gill, who seemed to react late by lunging with his left arm; but the puck went over his out-stretched arm and into the net for Birch’s first of the year.

Reading had several chances to get back into it; but hit a pair of second-period cross-bars (one by Yannick Tifu, the other by T.J. Syner) and couldn’t finish on a clean breakaway in the third for Tifu and a point blank power play chance a little after that from the top of the crease for Louie Caporusso.

The Everblades got a late game empty-netter from Kellan Tochkin, but by that time, the damage in this one had been done, as the Royals winless streak was stretched to a season long four games (0-3-1-0).

The Royals return to action tomorrow night (Saturday, December 14, 2013 @ 7:05 pm) when the team will face the Elmira Jackals at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania. The first 1500 fans fifteen and older will get a Royals Kelly Cup Championship Holiday Ornament. Saturday is the team’s Teddy Bear Toss night when fans are encouraged to throw a stuffed animal on the ice when the Royals score their first goal of the night. The stuffed animals will be collected by members of U.S. Marine Corps and donated to Toys for Tots. The Royals will also wear the world-famous ‘Ugly Holiday Sweater’ Special Jersey, which fans can purchase online (www.royalshockey.com) starting at 10:30 pm after the game. A portion of the proceeds from the special jersey sale will go to Toys for Tots. We’ll also have our ‘Saturday Night Shoot for Cash’ courtesy of Diamond Credit Union. And we’ll also host a post-game ham shoot courtesy of Berks Packing. Saturday’s game night broadcast on CBS Sports Radio 1240 am and 98.5 will kick off with the Highmark Blue Shield Warm-Up Show at 6:35 pm.

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