Toledo, OH – The Reading Royals (win, 23-13-1-0=47) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League and the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League, defeated the Toledo Walleye (loss, 12-22-3-0= 27), 4-1, at Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio.
Reading scored first, built a 3-0 lead with two late in the second and held on through Toledo’s third period push for the team’s eighth win in the last nine games. Although goaltender Brandon Anderson (win, 11-6-1-0, 16/17) only saw seventeen shots, he made several key stops to win his seventh consecutive game in front of 8200 Toledo partisans. The win completed the Royals five game season series against the Walleye with a 4-1-0-0 record.
Reading struck first for the eighth time in the last nine games and the twenty-second game of the season (19-3-0-0). 14:54 into the first, Aaron Gens fired a shot off the right point that was deflected by Domenic Monardo at the top of the crease. Goaltender Mac Carruth (loss, 4-9-0-0, 35/38 in 57:16) made the save on the tip, but the rebound fell directly to the stick of Josh Brittain, who had the inside track at the top of the crease and fired it home for his third goal in three games with Reading.
17:22 into the second, the Royals got what proved to be the game winner after an extended grinding shift of cycling in the offensive zone by the line of Ethan Cox, Kevin Walrod and Julien Cayer. Cox slipped it out of the right corner to Cayer, as he cut down the right side of the slot. Cayer took the puck out of his skates and quickly snapped the puck up over the catching hand of Carruth
1:32 later, the Royals got a little insurance when Brittain fired off the top of the right circle. It appeared that his shot may have been headed wide left, but it ricocheted off the upper body of T.J. Syner at the side of the crease and took a ninety-degree turn into the net for Syner’s eleventh of the year.
Toledo pushed hard in the third and hit pay-dirt 4:13 into the final frame when defenseman C.J. Chartrain fired a hard shot from the left point on which Anderson made a brilliant left pad stop. But the puck rebounded off Anderson’s pad directly to Kevin Lynch in the left circle. Lynch chipped it towards the net, which Aaron Bogosian redirected over Anderson for his second of the year.
Toledo continued their push, particularly when they were awarded several consecutive late game power play chances. The Walleye sought to further capitalize on the advantage by pulling the goaltender to go six-on-four and six-on-three as time wound down. But with about 40 seconds left, Ethan Cox fired a 110 foot shot that missed wide right. Since the Royals were two men down at the time of Cox’s long bid, there was no icing, and Ryan Cruthers, who had just stepped out of the penalty box, was able to take the ricochet off the end wall and jam it in with 27 seconds left to extend his personal point streak to eleven games (8g-12a=20pts).
The Royals return to action tomorrow (Sunday, January 26 @ 3:00 pm) when the Royals return to Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo to take on the Kalamazoo Wings. As with all Royals’ road games this year, Sunday’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 2:30 pm on the Royals Broadcast Network.
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