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Royals Hold On and Hold Off Wheeling to Win, 5-4

Friday, December 12th
Royals Hold On and Hold Off Wheeling to Win, 5-4

Teams     Per: 1          2          3

WHL:             0          0          4= 4 

REA:              1          3          1= 5


WHL: 11-9-0-0=22 (3rd North Division)

REA:  11-8-1-1=24 (t-5th East Division)


WHL:  Palazzese (Loss) 7-6-0-0 (31/36)

REA: Ouellette (Win) 6-4-1-1 (34/38)

Power Play:

WHL: 1-2

REA: 2-5

Reading, PA – The Reading Royals (­­­­­­­­­win, 11-8-1-1=24) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the American Hockey League, defeated the Wheeling Nailers (loss, 11-9-0-0=22), 5-4, at Santander Arena in Reading, PA.

In the first of three-in-three days against the Wheeling Nailers, the Royals were able to get out of the gate quickly and build a four goal lead before things started to unravel in the third period. Reading stretched the team’s lead to 4-0 through forty minutes with the help of a pair second period of power play goals. However, the Nailers kick-started their comeback bid with a goal early in the third which also served to break up goaltender Martin Ouellette’s bid for back-to-back shutouts. In relative short order, Reading got the second of the night from Brandon Alderson to re-take the four goal advantage at 5-1. And that goal proved to be critical (and the game winner) because the Nailers proceeded to ring off three more down the stretch, draw within one, and cause the Royal faithful’s collective pulse to quicken to a somewhat scary level. But that would be as close as Wheeling would get, as Ouellette and his teammates were able to hold on by their fingernails to win for the eleventh time this season.

First Period (1-0, Reading)

4:29 (1-0, Reading) Reading Goal

Alderson (2); Cruthers and Coetzee (snap shot from between the hashmarks)

For the eleventh time (in twenty-one games played)—and the eighth time on home ice—this season the Royals struck first when Ryan Cruthers gained possession below the goal line behind the Nailer net. Cruthers feathered a perfect pass that landed soft in the mid-slot, where Brandon Alderson stepped in and drilled a one-time snapper high glove on Wheeling goaltender Franky Palazzese for his second of the season.

Second Period (4-0, Reading)

11:58 (2-0, Reading) Reading Goal (Power Play)

Mullane (8); Cruthers and Coetzee (snap shot from sharp angle deep on the right side)

Reading capitalized on the team’s second power play chance of the night after Cruthers made several aggressive plays to keep the puck alive in the offensive zone. Willie Coetzee then gained possession on the left half-wall and fed Cruthers lower towards the corner. Cruthers threaded a perfect cross-crease pass to a waiting Pat Mullane, who was planted deep on the right side. Mullane wasted no time and drilled a snapper under the bar from a sharp angle for his eighth of the year.

12:22 (3-0, Reading) Reading Goal

Labelle (6); Wiles and Johnston (turn and wheel wrist shot from mid-slot)

The Royals attacked right off the face-off to restart play and hit paydirt twenty-two seconds later when Olivier Labelle carried hard down the center of the ice, protected the puck with has back to the net, and then turned and wheeled a low wrister from between the hash-marks that slipped under Palazzese for his sixth of the year.

16:50 (4-0, Reading) Reading Goal (Five-on-Three Power Play)

Davies (3); Mullane and Cruthers (snap shot from mid-slot)

A roughing minor assessed against former Royal Bobby Shea with twelve seconds remaining in the Royals’ third power play chance of the night gave Reading that amount of five-on-three. The Royals capitalized with the two man advantage when Ryan Cruthers won the offensive zone face-off to Pat Mullane who in turn fed defenseman Zach Davies at the right point. Davies walked the line and then down through the slot taking all the ice that Wheeling’s penalty killers would give him before firing a hard snap shot to the glove side of Palazesse for his third of the year.

Third Period (5-4, Reading)

1:30 (4-1, Reading) Wheeling Goal

Cianfrini (1); Johnson and Seymour (one time snap shot from top of left circle)

The Nailers broke up Martin Ouellete’s bid for back-to-back shutouts and began their comeback push when Chaz Johnson set one on a tee at the top of the left circle for Paul Cianfrini who was able to get a low snap shot off. It appeared that Ouellette did not pick up the shot until it was too late as it slid under him and into the net for Cianfrini’s first of the year.

6:48 (5-1, Reading) Reading Goal

Alderson 2 (3); Cruthers and Coetzee (snap shot from low right slot)

The Royals got what proved to be the game winner on a veritable carbon copy of the first goal of the game, when Ryan Cruthers dished from behind the net to the low slot where Brandon Alderson stepped in and drilled a hot snapper by Palazzese for his second of the night and third of the season.

9:26 (5-2, Reading) Wheeling Goal

Fernandez (1); Burton and Army (punch in from deep in the crease)

The Nailers fueled their comeback push with a force-of-will goal, where they simply were not going to be denied. Derek Army, Jarrett Burton and Tyler Fernandez attacked the Royals’ net with a relentless fury forcing the puck into the blue paint of the crease and somehow punched the puck across the goal line. Although the Royals felt that Fernandez had kicked the puck into the net with a distinct kicking motion with the back of his leg, that plea fell on deaf ears.

11:15 (5-3, Reading) Wheeling Goal (Short-Handed)

Murovich (2); unassisted (steal in the offensive zone, cut to the top of the crease and multiple shot put back)

Wheeling took the comeback a step farther with a short-handed goal that was basically a one-man show for former Royal Tyler Murovich. Despite being surrounded by the Royals’ power play unit, Murovich stole the puck in the right wing corner in Reading’s defensive zone, was able to walk to the top of the crease, and took a quick snap shot that was kicked out by Ouellette. The rebound, however, fell right back to Murovich who didn’t waste that chance, bagging his second goal of the year.

18:23 (5-4, Reading) Wheeling Goal (Power Play)

Torquato (7); Gilbert (snap shot from just inside offensive blue line)

An ill-advised penalty late in the third gave the Nailers their second power play chance of the game, which they did not waste. Twenty seconds into the PP, Zach Torquato settled just inside the offensive blue line firing a snap shot that slipped through a bunch of bodies on the way to the Royals net and beat Ouellette to the glove side for Torquato’s seventh of the season. But that would be as close as the Nailers would get, as the Royals were able to hold off the last gasp effort to tie the game to run the team’s record at Santander Arena in Reading to 7-6-0-1.


  • The scratches for the Royals tonight were: Adam Comrie (d), Kevin Walrod (f), Matt Hatch (f) (ECHL Reserve), and Ian Watters (f)  (ECHL Reserve).
  • The win pushed the Royals’ record to 5-3-0-1 through the first nine games of the team’s ten game home stand, which ends tomorrow night against the Nailers.
  • The Royals have scored first eleven times this season and have compiled a record of 8-2-0-1 in those games (and 6-1-0-1 on home ice).
  • Tonight’s game was the first time that Brady Cruthers attended a Royals’ game. Brady, who was born to Ryan and his wife, Julie, on Monday was apparently a pretty solid lucky charm as his dad racked up a season high four assists on the night.
  • Brandon Alderson became the fourth Royal to record a multi-goal game this season, joining Brett Flemming, David Marshall, and Adam Comrie. Alderson’s second goal tonight proved to be his first game winner as a Royal.
  • Tonight, Willie Coetzee had his second three-point performance (0g-3a) (and third multi-point game) in just six games played with the Royals.
  • Pat Mullane recorded his third multi-point performance of the season tonight (1g-1a).
  • The Royals gave up the team’s sixth short-handed goal against this season, which is tied for the most SHGAs given up in the league so far this year.
  • This marked the sixth time this season that Reading has scored more than one power play goal in a single game (2 for 5).
  • Goaltender Martin Oulette has recorded at least one standings’ point in seven of his last eight games (5-1-1-1).


Reading Royals v Wheeling Nailers

@ Santander Arena – Reading, PA

Saturday, December 13, 2014 (7:05 pm)

NEXT UP: The Royals and Nailers go at it for the fifth time this year—and second of what will be three in a row—tomorrow (Saturday, December 13) at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania (7:05 pm). Tomorrow is our world famous ‘Ugly Sweater’ night when the first 2000 fans 15 years of age and older will get a replica of the Ugly Sweater Jerseys that the Royals will wear in tomorrow’s game courtesy of Reading Health System. The game worn jerseys will be also be available for sale on-line immediately after the game. The Royals will also host on Saturday night Diamond Credit Union Shoot for Community ‘Younity’.

Saturday’s game day broadcast can be heard live in the Reading area on CBS SportsRadio (1240 am and 98.5 fm) beginning with the pre-game warm-up show presented by Highmark Blue Shield at 6:35 pm. Streaming internet audio is also available free of charge and can be accessed by following the ‘headset’ icon on the Royals’ website. Streaming video is available on a pay-per-view basis through ECHL.TV.

For more information about the Royals, call 610-898-7825 or log onto www.royalshockey.com.

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