Fort Wayne, IN – The Reading Royals (win, 12-9-1-0=25) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League and the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League, defeated the Fort Wayne Komets (sol, 10-9-1-4=25), 2-1, at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
The Royals got a game-tying short-handed goal 1:44 into the third period, and then battled their way to the shootout, largely on the back (and everything else) of goaltender Riley Gill (win, 8-5-0-0, 37/38 in 65:00, 5/7 in shootout), where Reading remained perfect on the season (4-0). At the other end of the ice, Fort Wayne goaltender Andrey Makarov (sol, 8-5-0-1, 43/44 in 65:00, 4/7 in shootout).
The winner in the seventh round of the shootout—as was the case in regulation last night—cam on a hot rocket by Michal Cajkovsky. The win, which kept the Royals record a perfect 4-0-0-0 in Fort Wayne over the past two seasons, ties the Royals and Komets for the eighth slot in the Eastern Conference.
After a scoreless first in which Reading was outshot 12-6, the Royals turned up the heat in the second, generating 17 second period shots; but it was the Komets who would strike first, shortly after an extended flurry by the Royals in the offensive end. Mickey Lang ended up with the puck, broke into Reading’s defensive zone and fired from the mid-point of the right circle. The low, hard shot slipped under goaltender Riley Gill for Lang’s league leading seventeenth of the season.
Reading finally solved Makarov with a short-handed breakaway for Brandon Blandina 1:44 into the third. It appeared that Blandina had pushed the puck too far out if front of himself on the break, but he got to it before Makarov and was able to chip it up and over the Fort Wayne goalie for his first of the season.
After a scoreless overtime, the teams went to a seven round shootout. Reading shot first and got goals from Yannick Tifu (shooting third), Ryan Cruthers (shooting sixth) and Cajkovsky (shooting seventh). Fort Wayne’s shootout goals came off the sticks of Mike Vaskivou (shooting fifth) and Mike Embach (shooting sixth). Gill rejected the bid of big d-man Simon Dani-Pepin to win his third shootout in three tries this year.
The Royals take the Holiday Break until Thursday, December 26, 2013 (@7:05 pm), when the team will travel to First Arena in Elmira, New York, to face the Elmira Jackals. The game night broadcast on CBS Sports Radio 1240 am and 98.5 will kick off with the Highmark Blue Shield Warm-Up Show at 6:355 pm. As with all Royals road games, next Thursday’s match-up against the Jackals will be televised locally in Berks County, Pennsylvania on BCTV courtesy of Boscov’s Travel and Apple Vacations.
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