Greenville, SC – The Reading Royals (loss, 30-18-1-1=62) 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 Greenville Road Warriors (win, 27-20-2-3= 59), 6-2, at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina.
For the first time in eight games, the Royals scored first but that would be the only lead the team would have, as Greenville used a second period power play chance to fuel an offensive charge that would leave Reading standing in the dust. The Royals seemed to be their own worst enemy in this one, failing to capitalize on several golden scoring chances and then falling prey to any number of turnovers that Greenville converted into their own Grade-A chances. The loss marked the first time the Royals had returned to Greenville since clinching the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in April of last season.
After a somewhat lethargic start for both teams, Reading struck off the rush 16:34 into the game. Brandon Blandina fed Josh Brittain through the neutral zone. Brittain in turn dished to a charging Sean Wiles, who drilled a hot snap shot out of the right circle that beat goaltender Jason Missiaen (win, 7-3-0-1, 35/37) low blocker.
The Royals had a number of great scoring chances in the early portion of the second period; but opened the door for the Road Warriors with a too many men on the ice bench minor 7:38 into the period. After a long sequence of offensive zone puck possession, Greenville’s Mike St. Croix fed Andrew Rowe in the right circle for a snap shot. That shot was blocked by a Reading defender, but the rebound fell right back to the stick of Rowe, whose second effort slipped by everyone and beat goaltender Riley Gill (loss, 13-11-0-1, 28/34) over his outstretched right arm 9:16 into the second.
Greenville took their first lead 3:43 later when Mike Marcou fired a long stretch pass into the neutral zone. A Reading defender stepped up to jump the route, but the puck skipped over his stick and went directly to Emerson Clark, who was off to the races on a two-on-one break. Clark took a hard snap shot out of the right circle that beat Gill low blocker for his first as a pro.
1:35 after that, the Road Warriors stretched their lead to 3-1 when an unforced error at the left side of the Royals net resulted in a mad scramble in Reading’s crease that ended when Kyle Jean forced it through for his fourth of the year.
Reading bounced back to draw within one 1:16 later when Marvin Degon settled and fired from the high slot. Defenseman Matt Campanale, who had slipped behind the Road Warrior net on the left side and came out to the low slot on the right, deflected the waist high shot behind Missiaen for his fourth of the year.
But that would be it for Reading, as the Road Warriors pulled away with three more in the third. The first came on another breakaway for Clark after a juicy turnover in the neutral zone by a Reading defender. Clark drilled a hard snap shot low to the stick side on Gill for his second of the game 6:02 into the final frame. Mid-way into the third Greenville got back-to-back goals from Rowe—separated by only forty-seconds—while the teams were playing four-on-four. The first one came when Rowe found a soft spot in the slot for a wide open snap shot. The second one on a deft high deflection of a soft pass out of the right circle to make it 6-2 with 8:16 left in regulation.
With the win, the Road Warriors swept the two-game regular season series against the Royals.
Reading returns to action on Wednesday (February 26 @ 7:05 pm) when the Elmira Jackals visit Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania. As with all Wednesday night home games, the Royals offer the Steak-umm Burger Meal and Ticket Deal in which $20.00 will get you a purple zone ticket, a Steak-umm Burger, fries and a large soda. There will also be select 12 oz draft beer for just $2.50. 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 ET on the Royals Broadcast Network.
End 14 02-23