Cincinnati, OH – The Reading Royals (loss, 23-15-1-0=47) 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 (win, 25-12-1-1= 52), 4-1, at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio.
For only the fourth time in twenty-three games in which the Royals have scored the game’s first goal, Reading was dropped despite striking first in this one. But the only lead that Reading would hold against Cincinnati in the four game regular season series between the two teams would only last 1:05, as the Cyclones bounced right back, tied the game and then pulled away to complete the four game sweep, during which Cincinnati outscored Reading by a total of 17-4.
Reading took the team’s short-lived lead 17:45 into the first period, when Matt Campanale fired a wrister from the left point that hit a body in front of the Cyclone net and fell low to the right slot where Kevin Walrod powered his way to the puck, and as he was being upended, was able to slip it under goaltender Joe Howe (win, 8-1-1-0, 28/29) for his second goal in two games.
The Cyclones bounced right back 1:05 later on a rebound of their own. This one came on a shot from the left point by defenseman Pat O’Keefe. Goaltender Riley Gill (loss, 10-8-0-0, 15/19) made the save but the rebound fell to the low left slot, where Anthony Luciani roofed one from a sharp angle for his team leading seventeenth of the season.
Cincinnati took the lead for good 5:37 into the second period when the Royals got caught up ice, resulting in an odd-man rush for the Cyclones. Josh Birkholz shot off the rush, and Gill made the save; but the rebound fell to the left side of the crease where a bit of confusion and/or hesitation resulted in an opportunity for Phil Bushbacher to reach in and poke the puck under Gill for his second of the year and what would prove to be the game winner.
The Cyclones gained a two goal advantage late in the second. On this one, Luciani got a point blank look from the low right circle. Gill made the save on that shot, but another rebound ensued, and Josh Shalla was able to reach around Gill for the loose puck and stuff it in for his seventh of the season with 3:20 remaining in the second frame.
Cincinnati stretched the lead to 4-1 1:54 into the third period on their fourth rebound goal of the game. This one came on a shot from just inside the offensive blue line by Jeremie Malouin that Gill stopped with the stick. The rebound ricocheted hard to the mid-slot, however, where Adam Brace was cutting across. Brace chipped a quick back-hand that eluded the catching glove of Gill for his seventh of the year.
Reading caught some bad luck from there, as the team would appear to score twice—but both of the apparent goals were waived off. The first came on an alleged kick-in by Sean Wiles 3:51 into the third after a tic-tac-toe passing sequence from Yannick Tifu to Ryan Cruthers to Wiles. The second came from Wiles, as well. This one on a hot rocket from the high slot that eluded Howe low stick; but the officials ruled play was dead because of a fight which had ignited between Bushbacher and Rob Florentino of the Royals. As if Reading needed more bad news in this one, 10:34 into the third, when Gill suddenly left the ice and went down the runway to the Royals’ locker room due to apparent sickness. Goaltender Brandon Anderson came in at that time, but did not face any shots in the final 9:26.
The Royals return to action on Friday (January 31 @ 8:15 ET pm) when the team continues the team’s season long six game road trip at Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana, against the Evansville Icemen. As with all Royals’ road games this year, Friday’s game will be televised locally in Berks County, Pennsylvania, on BCTV courtesy of Boscov’s Travel and Apple Vacations. 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 7:45 pm ET on the Royals Broadcast Network.
End 14 01-29