Elmira, NY – The Reading Royals (win, 18-12-1-0=37) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League and the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League, defeated the Elmira Jackals (loss, 10-18-2-2=24), 4-2, at First Arena in Elmira, New York.
It took three separate leads for the Royals to beat the Jackals for the second time in two nights; but the third time proved to be the charm, as captain Yannick Tifu bagged the third period tie breaking game winner in this one. The Royals and Jackals close out this ‘three-in-three’ tomorrow afternoon (5:05 pm) at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania.
For the second consecutive day, Reading struck early—tonight on the team’s second shot 1:26 into the game. Ryan Cruthers gained possession below the goal line and slipped it into the left circle where defenseman Matt Campanale stepped up and gunned a hot bullet across the body of goaltender Maxime Clermont (loss, 4-9-0-1, 25/29) for his third of the year.
Elmira tied things 6:51 into the second, when defenseman Kyle Bushee fired a seeing-eye wrister from just inside the offensive blue-line that eluded goaltender Brandon Anderson (win, 7-6-1-0, 28/30) high to the stick side for Bushee’s fifth of the year.
Reading took the team’s second lead of the night 18:13 into the second period with Tifu’s first of the night. Sean Wiles battled for a loose puck and passed to Cruthers in the high slot. Cruthers’ shot was deflected on the way in by Tifu, but Clermont stopped that bid with the left pad. Tifu didn’t give up on the puck, however, and dug it out below the goal line and banked it into the net off the back of Clermont’s leg for his eighth of the year.
Elmira bounced right back a minute late to re-tie the game for a second time, when defenseman Patch Alber carried deep on the right wing side and fired from a sharp angle. The puck slipped under and through Anderson for Alber’s third of the season.
The Royals took the team’s third (and final) lead of the game 11:05 into the third, when Tifu corralled a loose puck in the left circle and took a quick, hard snap shot that slipped through the wickets for his second of the night and ninth of the year—and second game winner of the season.
Reading got a little insurance twenty-two seconds later off the rush, when Wiles carried deep into the left corner and threaded a perfect cross-ice pass to the top of the crease where a crashing Cruthers angled it up and over Clermont for his eighth of the year.
Although Elmira pushed down the stretch and the Royals had several moments of trepidation due to a couple of defensive zone turnovers, Reading held on for the team’s third straight win and eleventh road victory (11-4-1-0) of the season.
The Royals and Jackals complete the trifecta tomorrow (Sunday, January 12 @ 5:05 pm) at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania. The Royals will honor the team’s American Hockey League affiliate, Hershey Bears, by wearing special jerseys which will be sold after the game on the Royals’ web site. Some lucky fan will also win a trip to Hershey, which includes an overnight stay at the Hershey Lodge and a $50.00 gift card along with tickets to the Bears game against the Syracuse Crunch on February 22. 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.
End 14 01-11