Reading, PA – The Reading Royals (win, 20-12-1-0=41) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League and the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League, defeated the Toledo Walleye (loss, 12-19-3-0=27), 5-2, at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania.
The Royals scored on two of the team’s first three shots and built a 4-0 lead through two periods before holding off a strong third period push from the Walleye to stretch the team’s win streak to a season long five straight. The win also pushed the Royals’ record to eight games over .500 for the first time this year. Goaltender Brandon Anderson (win, 9-6-1-0, 21/23), who has started seven straight for the Royals, made twenty-one saves to extend his personal win streak to five.
Reading hit pay dirt on the team’s first shot 1:55 into the game. Matt Campanale forced his way into the offensive zone and fed Ryan Cruthers, who in turn dished to Yannick Tifu, floating through the mid-slot. Tifu had all sorts of time and space above the right hash mark, and he drilled a bullet low stick side on Mac Carruth (loss, 4-6-0-0, 28/33) for his tenth of the year.
The Royals followed that in pretty short order with a second goal 3:57 into the first. Brett Flemming fired a snap shot from the right point that Carruth knocked down with the blocker. The rebound fell to the right side of the crease, where a wide open T.J. Syner, who was playing in his first game since December 31 and racked up four points on the night (2g-2a), back-handed it home for his eight of the year.
The Royals dominated the second period, but it wasn’t until the 13:18 mark of the second that the team broke through. A slick passing sequence between Domenic Monardo and Brandon Blandina freed Syner for a shot out of the right circle that wired through Carruth’s legs for Syner’s second of the night and ninth of the year.
Reading pushed the lead to 4-0 on the team’s sixth short-handed goal of the year 15:41 into the second. Syner disrupted Toledo’s power play entry into the offensive zone and sprang Sean Wiles on a short-handed break. Wiles didn’t waste the opportunity, blowing by everyone and then blowing a low rocket through Carruth for his ninth of the year—and his eighteenth point (6g-12a=18pts) in his last nine games.
Toledo pushed back in the third and broke up Anderson’s shutout bid 2:33 into the third, when Aaron Clarke hit through a screen from long range at the left point. Reading responded with a power play goal at 8:33 to regain the four goal advantage. On this one, Monardo forced his way into the left circle and picked his spot low stick side on Carruth for his team-leading twelfth of the year. The Walleye added a power play goal of their own with just 2:21 left, when the Royals’ penalty killers got caught up ice trying to make something happen in the offensive end. That back-fired into a break for Daniel Koger, whose shot out of the right circle beat Anderson five-hole for his fourth of the season. But that would be all for the Walleye, as the Royals pushed the team’s record above .500 on home ice (9-8-0-0) since November 29.
The Royals and Walleye go at it again tomorrow (Saturday, January 18, 2014). Reading will wear special Penn State University inspired jerseys which, with the assisted of the Berks County Chapter of the PSU Alumni Association, will be auctioned off after the game with the net proceeds going to benefit THON the largest student run philanthropic organization in the world which is dedicated to the eradication of childhood cancer. 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 4:35 pm on the Royals Broadcast Network.
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