Teams Per: 1 2 3
REA: 1 0 1= 2
ELM: 3 0 1= 4
REA: 21-13-1-1=44 (3rd East Division)
ELM: 19-14-0-4=42 (4th East Division)
REA: Knapp (loss) 9-7-0-0 (1/4) (12:25)
Howe (nd) (13/14) (44:00)
ELM: Fullerton (win) 12-4-0-2 (36/38)
Elmira, NY – The Reading Royals (loss, 21-13-1-1=44) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the American Hockey League, were defeated by the Elmira Jackals (win, 19-14-0-4=42), 4-2, at First Arena in Elmira, New York.
The Royals reached the half-way point of the regular season with the team’s first regulation loss in Elmira’s First Arena since February 15, 2013. The Royals, who were 10-0-1-0 in the team’s last eleven games in this building came out storming and created a number of Grade-A chances in the early going, but it would be the Jackals who would make the most of their early chances, scoring goals on three of their first four shots of the game. That would be enough to chase starting goaltender Connor Knapp at the 12:25 mark of the first; and from that point forward the Royals were the ones chasing. The goaltender at the other end of ice, Elmira’s Travis Fullerton, made the effort in that chase a futile one, as the Royals were never able to get closer than two goals all night long.
First Period (3-1, Elmira)
6:44 (1-0, Elmira) Elmira Goal
Siedel (8); Wetmore and Conboy (snap shot from in tight)
Reading owned the early going, creating several quality scoring chances in a frenetic start between the two teams, but Elmira got the opening goal, when forward Mike Siedel walked around a Reading defender down the left wing side. Siedel carried deep to the left side of the crease and chipped a puck up and over the extended glove of goaltender Connor Knapp for his eighth of the year.
7:26 (2-0, Elmira) Elmira Goal
Rashid (8); Stefishen and Holmberg (center lane net drive redirect of pass off left half wall)
Forty-two seconds later the Jackals took a 2-0 lead when Taylor Stefishen dropped a flat saucer from the left half wall into the low slot, where Ryan Rashid was driving to the top of the crease. Rashid got a enough of the pass to re-direct it between the legs of Knapp for his eighth of the year.
12:25 (3-0, Elmira) Elmira Goal (Short-Handed)
Conboy (3) unassisted
The Jackals stretched the lead to three on the Royals’ first power play chance of the night. Andrew Conboy picked off a puck in the high slot while Reading was trying to salvage a sloppy play inside the offensive blue line. Conboy outraced everybody to the loose puck in the neutral zone and then protected it well enough to the top of the crease, where he slid under and through Knapp for Elmira’s third goal on their fourth shot of the night. At that point, goaltender Joe Howe came on in substitution of Connor Knapp.
15:53 (3-1, Elmira) Reading Goal
Johnston (4); Watters and Davies (cross-crease pass for weak-side settle and finish)
Reading finally broke through with 4:07 remaining in the first when defenseman Zach Davies threaded a snap shot through from the point that goaltender Travis Fullerton rejected to the left side of the net. Forward Ian Watters won the battle for the loose puck and threaded a cross-crease pass through the top of the blue paint to a waiting Andrew Johnston on the right side of the net. Johnston had enough presence of mind (and time) to settle and fire into the open side of the net for his fourth of the season.
Second Period (3-1, Elmira)
Neither team broke through in the second, although Reading probably had the best bid in the early-to-mid portion of the period when Watters carried deep into the left circle and uncorked a bullet across the body of Fullerton that clanged the right pipe and ricocheted out of the zone.
Third Period (4-2, Elmira)
8:14 (4-1, Elmira) Elmira Goal
Shamanski (9); Nesbitt and Buehler (tap in finish off two-on-one weak side feed)
The Jackals used a patient and opportunistic approach to regain the three goal advantage mid-way into the third. With the Royals’ offense chasing and sputtering a bit, Reading was forced to take a risk, and it paid off—for the Jackals—when Keith Buehler was able to punch one free into the neutral zone. Thomas Nesbitt skated onto the loose puck and carried through the neutral zone and hard down the left side of the slot. The back-checking Reading defender went with Nesbitt as he dropped a perfect pass to a trailing Steven Shamanski, who was well above the next wave of Reading back-checkers and had enough time, space and speed to deke Howe (forehand – backhand) for his ninth of the year.
16:31 (4-2, Elmira) Reading Goal (Power Play) (Sixth Attacker)
Cruthers (9); Johnston and Marcou (rebound slam back)
Down by three with time ticking down, Reading pulled out all the stops—and the goaltender—when the team got a late game power play opportunity. The strategy paid off when Mike Marcou walked down the middle and fired a hard snapper that was deflected by Andrew Johnston. Fullerton rejected that bid, but the rebound fell to the low left circle where Ryan Cruthers was planted. Cruthers wasted no time drilling home his ninth of the season—and his first goal of the year on the power play. That goal gave the Royals a burst of energy which they used to continue the push down through the waning moments; but the team was unable to solve Fullerton again, dropping to 2-1-1-0 in four games at First Arena this season.
- All sixteen available skaters and both goaltenders played for the Royals tonight.
- The Royals have now lost back-to-back road games for the first time this season. Reading lost the team’s most recent road game prior to tonight, 6-5, to the Wheeling Nailers one week ago (Friday, January 9) at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling, WV.
- This game marks the first away loss of the year for the Royals in a building other than WesBanco in Wheeling, WV.
- Tonight’s game was only the second regulation loss for Reading this season when the Royals have given up the game’s first goal on the road (5-2-1-0). Overall, Reading is 7-9-1-0 when allowing the first goal of the game.
- The Royals gave up the team’s seventh short-handed goal of the year tonight. That is tied for fourth most in the ECHL at this point of the season. Tonight’s SHGA was the second given up to the Jackals this year. (Rob Florentino scored an SHG for Elmira in the Royals’ 4-3 shootout loss to the Jackals on November 26.)
- Andrew Johnston has scored the Royals’ first goal in the last two consecutive games. Johnston also picked up a helper on Ryan Cruthers’ power play goal to record his first multi-point game of the season. Johnston has seven points (3g-4a) in his last eleven games.
- For Ryan Cruthers, tonight’s goal was his first power play goal of the year—and his eleventh power play point of the season (1g-10a) which is tied with Mike Marcou for the team lead. It was also his 80th goal in his career as a Royal (second most to Olivier Labelle, who has 82). Cruthers is the team’s all-time leading scorer with 249 points (80g-169a) in 247 career games with the Royals.
- Mike Marcou pushed his current assist streak to four games (0g-5a) with the power play helper on Cruthers’ goal tonight. Marcou is tied for sixth in defensemen scoring with twenty-three points (3g-20a) in thirty-five games with Reading. His ten power play assists is tied for the league lead amongst defensemen.
- This marked the fourth time this season that goaltender Connor Knapp has been pulled in favor of substitution, and the second time against the Jackals. (The other being the 4-3 shootout loss to the Jackals on November 26.)
- Reading has scored at least one power play goal in the last six straight games. The power play has gone 7 for 28 in that span (25.0%).
- Tonight’s game marked the twenty-first time that Reading’s penalty killers have blanked the opposition’s power play. The team is 15-4-1-1 in those games.
NEXT UP FOR THE ROYALS
Reading Royals v Elmira Jackals
@ First Arena – Elmira, NY
Saturday, January 17, 2015 (7:05 pm)
NEXT UP: The Royals and Jackals go at it again tomorrow, Saturday (January 17) at First Arena in Elmira, New York (@ 7:05 pm). The game night broadcast for Saturday’s 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. As with all Royals’ road games this season, next Friday’s game will be televised live 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 01-16