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Royals Hooked, Lined and Sinkered (or at least Sunk) by Walleye, 5-3

Friday, January 3rd
Royals Hooked, Lined and Sinkered (or at least Sunk) by Walleye, 5-3

Toledo, OH – The Reading Royals (loss, 15-11-1-0=31) 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 Toledo Walleye (win, 10-16-3-0=23), 5-3, at Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio.

Reading battled back from three separate deficits but could not rebound a fourth time from the third period power play goal by Toledo’s Louis-Marc Aubry. The Royals got multi-point performances from four players—Ryan Cruthers (1g-1a), Yannick Tifu (1g-1a), Scan Wiles (1g-1a) and Michal Cajkovsky (0g-2a)—but were searching for the energy necessary to generate quality offensive opportunities when the team fell behind in the third.

Toledo struck on their first shot of the game 2:25 in, when Stephon Thorne found Marek Tvrdon cutting down the slot. Tvrdon picked his spot—low blocker—and blew it by Brandon Anderson (loss, 4-5-1-0, 26/30) for his ninth of the season.

Reading tied things up on a somewhat fortuitous bank-shot 5:44 into the first. Tifu took a shot out of the right circle that deflected off a body and slid wide right of the Toledo net. Cruthers battled for possession and slid one from below the goal line, which banked one off the back of the leg of Hannu Toivonen (win, 5-8-0-0, 22/25) and trickled across the goal line for his fifth of the season and sixtieth in 170 career games with the Royals.

Toledo took their second lead 9:42 into the first when Richard Nedomlel fired a high seeing-eye wrister from the wide right point that went through a couple of screens and ended up in the upper right corner of the net for his third of the year.

Reading tied things up for the second time when Cruthers won a puck battle on the left wall, forcing the puck down to the left corner where Wiles took control. Wiles threaded a perfect diagonal up pass to the mid-slot, where a waiting Tifu settled and fired a bullet low glove side on Toivonen for his seventh of the year.

The Walleye took their third lead of the game 10:01 into the second period when they got a fortuitous bank-in goal of their own. Defenseman Joe Gleason shot from the right point. The puck hit the right pipe and ricocheted back towards the crease where it hit Anderson’s back and pin-balled into the net for Gleason’s second of the year.

Eleven seconds later, Reading tied it for the third time, when Sean Wiles charged down into the left circle and took a shot that was blocked directly back to his stick. Wiles didn’t waste the second chance, ripping a high, hard bullet across the body of Toivonen for his fourth of the year (and twelfth point in his last six games: 4g-8a).

The Walleye got the game winner on their third power play chance of the night, when Gleason worked the puck to Kevin Lynch in the left corner. Lynch slipped a nice saucer in the left circle to the pop-out shooter—Louis-Marc Aubry, whose one-timer hit paydirt across the body of Anderson for his fourth of the season.

Seeking late offense, the Royals pulled the goaltender with just over two-minutes left. Reading created a couple of scoring chances but a turnover in the defensive zone turned into a slam-dunk empty netter for Trevor Parkes’ sixteenth of the year, snapping the Royals’ four game road win streak.

The Royals return to action tomorrow night (Saturday, January 4 @ 7:35) pm when the team takes on the Cincinnati Cyclones at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio. 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 7:05 pm on the Royals Broadcast Network. As with all Royals’ road games, Saturday’s matchup will be televised locally in Berks County, Pennsylvania on BCTV courtesy of Boscov’s Travel and Apple Vacations.

End 14 01-03