Kalamazoo, MI – The Reading Royals (win, 40-20-2-1=83) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League and the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League, defeated the Kalamazoo Wings (loss, 38-18-2-3= 81), 4-2, at Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Reading struck first and held three separate leads, and the team was able to make the last one stand up. Jesse Todd, who scored his first goal of the year on Wednesday against the Gwinnett Gladiators, scored two tonight including the first of the game and the third period tie-breaking game winner with just 6:08 remaining in regulation. For Reading, this win was the first win of the year at Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo in the fourth and final trip of the regular season to K-Zoo. This win also marks the fifth time in team history that the team has won forty or more games. It was also the team’s twentieth win of the year on the road—and, perhaps more importantly pushed the Royals back into first place in the Eastern Conference.
Reading struck first 2:58 into the game when Jesse Todd, who was well guarded just inside the offensive blue line, took a swipe at one that deflected off the stick of a Kalamazoo player, fluttered high into the air and came tumbling down over the right shoulder of goaltender Joel Martin (loss, 17-8-1-3, 37/41), who appeared to lose sight of the puck. For Todd, that was his second goal of the season—both of which have come in the last two games.
The K-Wings tied things 1:34 into the second after goaltender Riley Gill (win, 17-12-1-1, 32/34) rejected a relatively clean breakaway bid, but a wild scramble ensued which ended when Matt Caria punched through his twenty-third of the year.
Reading got one off a wild scramble of their own which was ignited on one of several offensive flurries for Reading in the second. On this one, it was Yannick Tifu who forced it over the goal line; but the referee needed help from his linesmen and the goal judge before awarding the goal 6:26 into the second.
Reading got what proved to be the game winner off the stick of Jesse Todd, who scored his third goal of the year—all of which have come in the last two games—13:52 into the third. Mike Banwell fired from right point. Martin made the save but the rebound fell to the low slot where Todd settled and snapped it home.
The Royals got some insurance twenty-seven seconds later when Domenic Monardo stole a breakout pass in the offensive zone and ripped a bullet over the right shoulder of Martin for his twenty-fifth of the year, which leads the Royals and all first year pros in the ECHL.
Reading held on down the stretch to snap Kalamazoo’s eight game win streak, as well as their twelve game home win streak.
The Royals return to action on tomorrow (Saturday, March 22 @ 8:15 pm et) when the team travels to Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana, to take on the Evansville Icemen. Saturday’s game night broadcast will kick off at 7:45 pm et on CBS Sports Radio 1240 am and 98.5 with the Highmark Blue Shield Warm-Up Show. As with all Royals’ road games, Friday’s game will be televised live in Berks County, Pennsylvania, on BCTV courtesy of Boscov’s Travel and Apple Vacations.
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