Teams Per: 1 2 3
WHL: 0 1 1= 2
REA: 1 1 3= 5
WHL: 14-16-0-0=28 (4th North Division)
REA: 20-10-1-1=42 (3rd East Division)
WHL: Hartzell (Loss) 7-6-0-0 (40/44)
REA: Knapp (Win) 9-5-0-0 (26/28)
Reading, PA – The Reading Royals (win, 20-10-1-1=42) 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, 14-16-0-0=28), 5-2, at Santander Arena in Reading, PA.
In the first home game of Calendar Year 2015, the Royals scored first midway into the first period, but had to shake a pesky Wheeling Nailer club to notch the team’s twentieth win of the year. The Nailers tied the game at one early in the second despite the fact that the Royals were buzzing on high gear in the offensive end virtually the entire period—as evidence by twenty-one shots on goal generated in the second frame. The Royals finally re-took the lead with just 1:21 remaining in the second with a power play goal on the team’s fourth straight chance with the man advantage. Reading then got back-to-back goals early in the third to create some cushion despite the fact that the Nailers did not go away lightly. Nonetheless, the Royals closed this one out to win the team’s third straight and push the club’s record to 11-2-0-0 in the last thirteen played.
First Period (1-0, Reading)
13:32 (1-0, Reading) Reading Goal
Reid (12); Marshall and Hughesman (breakaway snap shot low blocker)
Reading struck first when David Marshall made a perfect eight-foot lead-out pass at the offensive blue line to the charging Cam Reid, who skated onto the puck, broke behind everybody, floated into the right circle and ripped a bullet low blocker on goaltender Eric Hartzell for his team-leading twelfth of the season.
Second Period (2-1, Reading)
5:27 (1-1, Tie) Wheeling Goal
Burton (4); Army and McGrath (snap shot from low slot)
Despite coming out of the gates strong in the second—and ending up with 21 second period shots—Reading found themselves in a tie game early in the second when Wheeling capitalized on a defensive zone miscue that drew both Reading defenders to the corner, which the space out in front of the net completely unguarded. The Nailers Jaret Burton found himself wide open with the puck in that position, and he didn’t waste the chance, sneaking a snap shot through goaltender Connor Knapp, who came out and challenged Burton—and appeared to get a piece of the puck, but not enough to keep it out.
18:21 (2-1, Reading) Reading Goal (Power Play)
Labelle (11); Hughesman and Marshall (hot bullet out of the left circle)
The Royals’ hard work in the second period finally paid off with 1:21 remaining in the frame on the fourth consecutive power play chance for the team. After generating any number of Grade-A scoring chances through the period, including several on the earlier opportunities with the man advantage (which included 51 seconds of five-on-three), the Royals re-took the lead when Adam Hughesman (who would end up with four points on the night) sprang Olivier Labelle into the offensive zone down the left wing side. Labelle carried deep into the left circle and then fired a look-off bullet that blew by Hartzell for his eleventh of the year.
Third Period (5-2, Reading)
4:04 (3-1, Reading) Reading Goal
Heywood (3); Reid and Hughesman (center lane net drive redirect)
Reading got what proved to be the game winner—and triggered a scoring spree—with a goal off the rush early in the third. Reid carried deep down the left wing side and floated a cross-ice saucer that appeared targeted for David Marshall, who was charging deep down the right wing side. However, defenseman Jordan Heywood, who was driving down the middle to the top of the crease, poached the pass and re-directed it behind Hartzell for his third of the year—two of which have proven to be GWGs.
5:17 (4-1, Reading) Reading Goal
Cruthers (5); Wiles (stickhandle and shot from the top of the crease)
The Royals picked up a little insurance 1:13 later, when Sean Wiles stole the puck from the Nailers as they were attempting to break from the defensive zone. Wiles found Ryan Cruthers wide open and all alone in front of the Wheeling net. Cruthers had all day to stick-handle several times and then roof a quick wrister over Hartzell for his eighth of the year.
6:41 (4-2, Reading) Wheeling Goal
Skelly (2); Gilbert and Torquato (chip in after a scramble around the net)
The Royals’ exuberance in the offensive end resulted in a couple of disorganized sequences in the defensive zone and the come-back hungry Nailers made Reading pay on a mad scramble around the net only 1:24 after Reading had taken the three goal advantage. Shawn Skelly finished with a chip from in tight with bodies falling all around to remind the Royals that they were still in a competitive game.
18:33 (5-2, Reading) Reading Goal (Empty Netter)
Hughesman (11); unassisted (shot from just inside center red line)
Only seconds after Hartzell was pulled in favor of a sixth attacker, Hughesman stole the puck at the center red line, took one stride towards the Wheeling end and buried an 85 footer to ice the win with his eleventh of the year.
- The lone scratch for the Royals tonight was Andrew Johnston (f) (ECHL Reserve).
- The victory stretched the Royals current win streak to three games (3-0-0-0), marking the fourth time this year Reading has won three or more games in a row.
- Reading is 8-1-0-0 in the last nine games and 11-2-0-0 in the last thirteen.
- The victory pushed the Royals record to ten games over .500 (20-10-1-1=42) for the first time this year.
- This was the eighteenth home game of the year for Reading, marking the mid-point with respect to the regular season schedule on home ice. The Royals are 10-7-0-1 at Santander Arena this year.
- Reading has compiled a record of 13-3-0-1 when scoring first this year. Reading is 8-1-0-1 when scoring the game’s first goal on home ice.
- This was the seventh game of the year between the Royals and Nailers with four games played so far in Reading (all four of which have been won by the Royals) and three having been played in Wheeling (all of which have been won by the Nailers). The Royals and Nailers play one another again on Friday—this time in Wheeling. The two teams will play each other a total of twelve times this year (six in Reading and six in Wheeling).
- The Royals are now 14-6-0-0 against teams from the North Division with eighteen more games yet to be played against teams from the North.
- The twenty-one second period shots tied a team season high for shots in a single period for the Royals. The forty-five total shots for Reading establishes a new team season high for that category.
- Cam Reid started the scoring off with his team-leading twelfth goal of the season. Reid also picked up the primary assist on the game winner by Jordan Heywood to record his seventh multi-point performance of the season.
- Olivier Labelle’s goal (his eleventh of the year) was his first power play goal of the season. Labelle is the team’s all-time career leader in goals scored with 82 goals (and 154 points) in his 187 games with the team.
- Jordan Heywood has scored three goals in twelve games with the Royals and two of those goals have been game winners.
- Ryan Cruthers’ goal tonight was his 79th as a Royal (second most all-time). Cruthers is the team’s all-time leading scorer with 246 points (79g-167a) in 243 games with the team.
- Adam Hughesman recorded his eighth multi-point game of the year (1g-3a) which is tied with David Marshall and Pat Mullane for the team lead. His four point night ties the team season high, which has been accomplished twice previously—both by Ryan Cruthers. Hughesman is tied with Pat Mullane for the team scoring leading with thirty points (11g-19a) in thirty-two games.
- David Marshall recorded a pair of assists tonight to rack up his eighth multi-point game of the year.
- The line of Hughesman, Reid, and Marshall accounted for eight points (2g-6a) tonight and played to a collective plus-9 (+9).
- Goaltender Connor Knapp pushed his personal win streak to four games with the twenty-six save victory tonight.
- The Royals power play has scored a goal in each of the last two games. This marks the first time that Reading has scored a PPG in back-to-back games since the team recorded a power play goal in four straight games back in late November (11/21 – 11/26/14).
- The Royals only allowed one power play chance against tonight, which ties the team low in that category. Reading is 14-3-1-1 when the penalty killers keep the opposition’s power play off the board.
NEXT UP FOR THE ROYALS
Reading Royals @ Wheeling Nailers
@ WesBanco Arena – Wheeling, WV
Friday, January 9, 2015 (7:35 pm)
NEXT UP: The Royals and Nailers complete this most recent home-and-home on Friday (January 9) at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling, West Virginia (7:35 pm). Friday’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 7:05 pm. The game will also be televised locally in Berks County, Pennsylvania, on BCTV courtesy of Boscov’s Travel and Apple Vacations. 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.
End 15 01-07