1. Home
  2. News
  3. Royals Stumble Down the Stretch in Loss to Wheeling, 5-2

Royals Stumble Down the Stretch in Loss to Wheeling, 5-2

Saturday, February 8th
Royals Stumble Down the Stretch in Loss to Wheeling, 5-2

Reading, Pennsylvania – The Reading Royals (loss, 25-16-1-0=51) 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 Wheeling Nailers (win, 21-18-1-5= 48), 5-2, at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Reading struck less than a minute into the game, but the Nailers were able to tie the game half-way into the first with the first of what would be two short-handed goals. After a scoreless second, during which the Royals had a penalty shot rejected, the Nailers exploded for four in the final frame, including their second SHG to beat the Royals in regulation for the first time in eight games this season. The loss also snapped a six game home win streak for Reading.

Fifty-nine seconds into the first, T.J. Syner carried from coast-to-coast down the right wing side into the Wheeling end and slipped the puck under and through Nailer goaltender Mike Condon (win, 14-10-0-4 29/31), who had pulled off the right pipe a bit too quickly.

The Nailers tied the game 11:30 into the first with the first of two short-handed goals in the game. As the puck slid into the Royals defensive zone, defenseman Michal Cajkovsky skated over to gain possession; however the puck bounced over his stick, allowing the penalty killing Denver Manderson to gain possession, cut left to right through the slot, and fire back against the grain on goaltender Riley Gill (loss, 11-9-0-0, 27/32 in 57:24) for his third of the year.

In the second, the Royals were awarded the team’s third penalty shot in the last seven games, when Syner was harassed from behind after he was sent on breakaway on a long pass from Brett Flemming 16:42 into the middle frame. In the twenty-seventh penalty shot in team history, Syner went low blocker, but Condon made the save to keep it a one-one game.

Wheeling took the lead for good 1:06 into the third period, while playing on a delayed penalty that was going to be assessed on Michal Cajkovsky, who had stepped up at the left point to lay a hit in the offensive end. The Nailers countered with an odd-man rush on which Jack MacLellan finished for his tenth of the year.

The Nailers got what proved to be the game winner 6:57 into the third, when Manderson slid a pass to Jake Areshenko, who was cutting through the slot wide open and all alone. Areshenko slid a diagonal-down pass to the top right side of the crease, where Sahir Gill was wide open, as well. Gill’s first shot rang off the left pipe, but he got his own rebound and stuffed it in for his ninth of the year.

Wheeling got a little insurance with their second SHG of the game 8:19 into the third. Shane Bakker carried into the offensive zone into the mid-slot, and despite being well covered by two Royals, Bakker was able to chop a back-hand that somewhat miraculously and surprisingly went bar-and-in for his first of the year.

Reading broke through to give the 5213 faithful at Santander Arena some hope, when Mike Banwell scored his first of the year by firing a snap shot from the left point that appeared to deflect on the way in and end up in the upper right corner of the net 13:15 into the final frame.

But Wheeling answered that one, too. An unforced turnover 54 seconds later, resulted in an easy break to the net by Bakker who beat Gill for his second goal of the period to ice it for the Nailers.

Reading and the Nailers go at it again tomorrow (Sunday, February 9 @ 4:05pm) when the two teams face-off at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania. The first 1000 kids fourteen and under get a toothbrush holder in the shape of the Kelly Cup courtesy of Deibler Dental. It is also a Berks Packing Dollar Day with $1.00 hotdogs, soda, popcorn and nachos. You can also bring your own skates to participate in a Post-Game Skate with the Players presented by the Body Zone Sports and Wellness Complex. The Royals will once again wear the team’s Gold Medal jerseys, which will be sold on the Royals’ website starting at 7:00 pm .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 6:35 pm ET on the Royals Broadcast Network.

End 14 02-08