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Royals Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday with Win Over Elmira, 4-2

Monday, January 19th
Royals Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday with Win Over Elmira, 4-2

Teams     Per: 1          2          3

ELM:              1          1          0= 2 

REA:              2          0          2= 4


ELM:  19-15-0-5=43 (4th East Division)

REA: 23-13-1-1=48 (3rd East Division)


ELM: Fullerton (loss) 12-5-0-4 (27/31)

REA:  Knapp (win) 11-7-0-0 (27/29)

Power Play:

ELM: 1-5

REA: 2-3

Reading, PA – The Reading Royals (­­­­­­­­win, 23-13-1-1=48) 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 Elmira Jackals (loss, 19-15-0-5=43), 4-2, this afternoon at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania.

In the Royals’ annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday matinee, the team fell behind early but bounced back quickly, and ultimately took the two points on the strength of a third period tie-breaking game winner from the team’s all-time career goal scoring leading, Olivier Labelle. Reading struck for a pair of power play goals on only three chances with the man advantage and, despite giving up an early power play goal against, came up with a pair of critical kills in the third period to push the team’s record back to the high water mark of ten games over .500 for the second time this season.

First Period (2-1, Reading)

9:41 (1-0, Elmira) Elmira Goal (Power Play)

Nesbitt (8); Hart and Stefinshen (snap shot from top of the left circle)

The Jackals struck thirty-four seconds into their first power play chance of the night. Thomas Nesbitt swung off the left half wall to the top of the left circle where he threw a low snapper through traffic that snuck under goaltender Connor Knapp for his eighth of the season.

12:42 (1-1, Tie) Reading Goal (Power Play)

Marcou (4); Davies and Cruthers (slap shot from right point)

Three minutes later, Reading tied the game on the Royals’ first power play chance of the game. The Jackals penalty killers gained possession deep in their defensive zone and sought to clear up the left wing wall. Defenseman Zach Davies made a difficult play to seal the puck at the left point and threw it side-to-side to a waiting Mike Marcou, who had a lot of space at the right point. Marcou stepped up and stepped in to a slap shot from the right side, blowing the puck by goaltender Travis Fullerton for his fourth of the year—two of which have come on the power play.

14:32 (2-1, Reading) Reading Goal

Labelle (13); Watters (snap shot from the low slot)

Reading took the team’s first lead of the game 1:50 later when a strong stick check by Ian Watters deep in the offensive zone forced a turnover by the Jackals’ defense. Watters quickly took possession and slid a perfect pass to the low slot where Olivier Labelle wasted no time in snapping one by Fullerton on the stick side for his thirteenth of the year.

Second Period (2-2, Tie)

13:05 (2-2, Tie) Elmira Goal

Buehler (2);  Nesbitt and Rashid (snap shot from high in the right circle)

The Jackals re-tied the game at two with the only goal of the second period. Thomas Nesbitt and Ryan Rashid swarmed the puck in the right corner of the Royals’ defensive zone and dug it back to Keith Buehler, who had found a soft seam in the upper reaches of the right circle. Buehler played catch-and-release with a quick snapper that caught the upper right corner for his second of the year.

Third Period (4-2, Reading)

12:17 (3-2, Reading) Reading Goal (Power Play)

Labelle (14); Mullane and Lamarche (snap shot from the low slot)

Reading’s Olivier Labelle bagged what proved to be the third period tie-breaking game winner on the Royals’ third power play chance of the night. Pat Mullane used a strong stick deep in the offensive zone to ward off the pressure from the Jackals’ penalty killers and get the puck to the low slot where Labelle swiped it home for his second of the season—and what proved to be his second game winner of the season.

18;43 (4-2, Reading) Reading Goal

Hatch (5); Labelle and Reid (breakaway back-hand, fore-hand cutting across the top of the crease )

Reading got a bit of insurance—and put Elmira’s come-back hopes to bed—with a late third period goal by first year pro Matt Hatch. Labelle punched a loose puck out of Reading’s defensive end to the neutral zone, where Hatch skated onto the puck and took off to the races. He busted hard down the right side, blew by an Elmira defender, beat that defender on the edge at the mid-point of the right circle, cut to the middle of the ice, and—without losing stride—went back-hand, fore-hand five-hole for his fifth of the year.


  • Forward Derek Mathers was assigned by the Flyers from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms to the Royals prior to today’s game. Mathers engaged in his second fight as a Royal in his third game with the team when he fought Elmira’s Justin Sawyer 13:05 into the second period—right after Elmira had tied the game at two.
  • Reading also signed goaltender Matt DiGirolamo to a Standard Players’ contract today. This is the second stint for DiGirolamo with the Royals this season. (He served as the team’s backup in the 4-3 win over the Jackals on December 27, 2015.)
  • The only scratch for the Royals today was Gentry Zollars (d) (healthy).
  • This afternoon’s win pushed the Royals record to a season best ten games over .500 for the second time this year. (Reading was also ten games over at 20-10-1-1.)
  • Reading now leads the Demet’s Candy Challenge Cup Series against the Jackals with an overall record of 6-3-1-1 in eleven played against Elmira. The Jackals have a 5-4-0-2 record against Reading. The two teams have four more games to be played in the fifteen game season series.
  • Reading has compiled a 14-5-0-0 in the team’s last nineteen games; and 11-4-0-0 in the last fifteen.
  • Today’s win marks only the third home game this season in which Reading has given up the first goal of the game and still won (3-7-0-0). Overall, Reading is 8-9-1-0 when allowing the game’s first goal.
  • Ultimately, this afternoon’s game proved to be Reading’s eleventh come-from-behind victory of the season—three of which have come against the Jackals.
  • The two teams entered the third period of today’s contest tied at two. Reading has gone 8-2-1-0 when entering the third period tied with the opposition.
  • Mike Marcou’s power play goal today gives him twelve power play points (2g-10) on the season, which is tied with Ryan Cruthers (1g-11a) (who picked up an assist on Marcou’s goal) for the team lead in power play points.
  • Cruthers’ assist today was his 252nd point (80g-172a) in his 249th game with the team.
  • Olivier Labelle, who now leads the Royals with fourteen goals, became the tenth different player to record a two-goal game this season for the Royals. He also became the sixth player on the team to have more than one game winning goal after his PP GWG today. (That was his second power play goal of the year.) Labelle, who recorded his sedond three point game of the year this afternoon (2g-1a)—and sixth multi-point performance, is the all-time leading goal scorer for the Royals with 85 goals (and 161 points) in 194 games with the team.
  • Maxim Lamarche, who picked up an assist on the third-period tie-breaking game winner by Labelle, played plus-1 (+1) today and currently leads the team in plus-minus at plus-12 (+12) in thirty-two games with the team.
  • Connor Knapp recorded his eleventh win of the year for Reading this afternoon.


Reading Royals v South Carolina Stingrays

@ North Charleston Coliseum – N. Charleston, SC

Saturday, January 24, 2015 (7:05 pm)

NEXT UP: The Royals take off on a five-game, ten-day road trip that will take the team to Charleston, South Carolina; Duluth, Georgia; Evansville, Indiana; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Cincinnati, Ohio. It all starts against the South Carolina Stingrays this Saturday (January 24, 2015) @ 7:05 pm at North Charleston Coliseum. That night the game can be heard live on CBS SportsRadio 1240 am and 98.5 in Reading, Pennsylvania, starting with the pre-game warm-up show presented by Highmark Blue Shield at 6:35 pm. As with all road games this season, Saturday’s game will be televised live locally in Berks County Pennsylvania on BCTV courtesy of Boscov’s Travel and Apple Vacations. Streaming audio is available free of charge on the Royals’ website (follow the ‘headset’ icon); and 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.

End 15 01-19