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Royals Jump Into First Place with 5-3 Win over Florida

Saturday, February 7th
Royals Jump Into First Place with 5-3 Win over Florida

Teams     Per: 1          2          3

FLA:               0          3          0= 3 

REA:              1          4          0= 5


FLA: 29-9-2-3=63 (2nd East Division)

REA:  31-13-1-1=64 (1st East Division)


FLA:  Altshuller (Loss) 6-2-1-0 (21/26)

REA: Knapp (Win) 16-7-0-0 (27/30)

Power Play:

FLA: 0-3

REA: 2-8

Reading, PA – The Reading Royals (­­­­­­­­win, 31-13-1-1=64) 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 Florida Everblades (loss, 29-9-2-3=63), 5-3, at Santander Arena in Reading, PA.

In the second match-up of a three-game-in-three-day series between the top two teams in the ECHL’s East Division, the Royals won for the second consecutive night to catapult the team into first place for the first time this season. In this one, Reading scored first with a late period short-handed goal in opening frame; but then found themselves in a wild back-and-forth second period which featured a total of seven goals (four for Reading and three for Florida) and during which the Royals fell behind (at 2-3) for a period of time before ringing off three straight—including two in the final minute of the period—to regain the lead for good and send the big crowd (6,444) into a wild frenzy. The victory, which pushed Reading’s record to season-best eighteen games over .500, stretched the team’s win streak to ten, the second longest in team history.

First Period (1-0, Reading)

18:49 (1-0, Reading) Reading Goal (Short-Handed)

Hatch (7); Wiles and Mullane (rebound of shot after breakaway rush)

Reading struck on the team’s first penalty kill of the night with the team’s eighth short-handed goal of the year. Pat Mullane sprang Sean Wiles on a clean break into the offensive end. Wiles carried to the low slot where he fired a quick snap shot. Goaltender Daniel Altshuller rejected Wiles’ bid; but the rebound fell to the top of the crease, where the trailing forward, Matt Hatch, swiped it home for his seventh of the year—and second short-handed goal of the season.

Second Period (5-3, Reading)

1:19 (1-1, Tie) Florida Goal (Short-Handed)

Florentino (4); Brace and Fournier (snap shot from right circle)

The Everblades tied the game with a short-handed goal of their own. With the two teams playing four-on-four, Florida’s Gleason Fournier thwarted a Reading breakout attempt. Just as the ‘Blades’ Rob Florentino gained possession of the puck in the right circle, Reading’s Michael Caruso stepped out of the penalty box, technically putting Reading on a power play. Florentino fired a snap shot that hit the upper portion of the blocker of goaltender Connor Knapp and fluttered into the net for Florentino’s fourth goal of the year—three of which have been scored against the Royals (and two of which have come while his team was playing short-handed—one for the Elmira Jackals and now one for the Everblades).

2:21 (2-1, Reading) Reading Goal (Power Play)

Heywood (5); Lamarche and Labelle (blast from the mid slot)

The Royals retook the lead 1:02 later while playing on the ensuing power play (on which Florentino just scored for Florida). Maxim Lamarche fed Jordan Heywood in the high slot. Heywood was allowed to move deeper into the mid-slot where he put one a tee and launched it over the blocker arm Altshull for his fifth of the season—and his first power play goal as a pro.

9:29 (2-2, Tie) Florida Goal

Marquardt (4); Burt (rebound punch-back from the top of the crease)

Florida tied the game for a second time of the game on Matt Marquardt’s second goal in two days. Defenseman Cameron Burt stepped up from the left point to rip a blast through traffic that made it through to the Royals’ goal. Knapp blocked that original bid, but the puck bounded off his body back out in front where Marquardt was able to reach around a Reading defender and stuff the puck back in for his fourth of the year.

10:10 (3-2, Florida) Florida Goal

Fournier (5); Florentino and Wahl (jam in from top of the crease)

Florida took what would prove to be their only lead 41 seconds later. Florentino took a shot from the point that Mitch Wahl redirected through heavy traffic on net. Knapp came out in the butterfly to stop that shot, but it fell out in front of his knees, where Gleason Fournier reached in and quickly stuffed it between Knapp’s legs for his fifth of the year.

11:13 (3-3, Tie) Reading Goal

Marshall (14); Johnston and Watters (one-time snap shot from left circle)

Now trailing, the Royals tapped into the energy of the big crowd at Santander Arena and quickly re-tied the game, this time at three. It was Andrew Johnston who dug down deep to ignite the momentum shift in favor of Reading. Johnston chipped the puck behind the Florida net and charged in and tracked it down himself. He dug the puck off the wall, carried it from below the goal line to a spot low in the right circle and then threaded a perfect cross-ice pass to a waiting David Marshall who was set in the left circle for the weak-side one-timer. Marshall, who has scored a goal in four of his last five games for Reading, didn’t miss, bagging his fourteenth of the season.

19:03 (4-3, Reading) Reading Goal (Power Play)

Labelle (17); Lamarche and Hughesman (punch-in from top of the crease)

Reading re-took the lead on the team’s sixth power play of chance of the night with less than a minute remaining in the second period. With the Royals buzzing in the offensive zone, Maxim Lamarche ripped a rocket off the left point that Altshuller kicked out with the left pad. The rebound, however, fell to the top of the crease, where the Royals’ all-time career goal scoring leader, Olivier Labelle, had the inside track for quick slam back and his seventeenth of the year—and what would prove to be his fourth game winner of the season.

19:19 (5-3, Reading) Reading Goal

Wiles (15); Johnston and Hatch (baseball-style swipe of a fluttering rebound)

The Royals bagged an insurance marker right off the face-off to re-start play after the Labelle power play goal. Andrew Johnston carried into the offensive end and fired a quick snap shot from the mid-slot that was stopped by Altshuller; but the rebound fluttered high pad off his left pad and as it was plummeting back to earth a crashing Sean Wiles batted the puck out of mid-air over the left arm of Altshuller for Wiles’ fifteenth of the year.

Third Period (5-3, Reading)


Unlike last night, when the Everblades bagged a couple of third period goals to make it a true nail-biter, Reading played a solid and simple third period that, for the most part, kept Florida at bay—even during a mid-period power play—keeping the Everblades off the board and securing Reading’s fifth consecutive home victory.


  • The scratches for the Royals tonight were: Ryan Cruthers (f) (healthy) (ECHL Reserve), Kevin Sullivan (f), (ECHL Reserve), Kevin Walroad (f) (healthy) and Kenny Reiter (g) (healthy).
  • Goaltender Kenny Reiter, who was loaned to the Hershey Bears on Thursday, was returned by the Bears to Reading today.
  • Defenseman Gentry Zollars, who was signed by the Royals on January 17 and played one game for the Royals (0g-0a=0pts, 0 pims), was traded today by the Royals to the Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL for future considerations.
  • Tonight’s win stretched the Royals overall win streak to a season-long ten games (10-0-0-0), dating to a 4-3 shootout win over the Elmira Jackals on January 17. This is the second longest win streak in team history for Reading. The Royals won eleven consecutive games from November 2 – November 23, 2012.
  • The Royals’ ten game win streak ties the Colorado Eagles (01/06 – 01/25/15) for the longest win streak of the year in ECHL. (The longest regular season win streak in ECHL history belongs to the 2007-08 Cincinnati Cyclones who won seventeen consecutive games, January 13 – February 29, 2008).
  • Reading has won eleven of the last twelve games, fourteen of the last seventeen, nineteen of the last twenty-three and twenty-two of the last twenty-seven played.
  • The victory pushed the Royals record to a season high eighteen games over .500 (31-13-1-1=64).
  • Tonight’s win catapulted Reading into first place in the East Division for the first time this season.
  • Reading’s 31 wins leads all teams in the ECHL’s Eastern Conference.
  • Tonight’s victory stretched the Royals current home win streak to a season-long five games, dating to a 6-2 win over Brampton on January 11.
  • The Royals have compiled a home record of 15-8-0-1 through twenty-four games at Santander Arena.
  • 6,444 fans watched the Royals defeat the Everblades tonight. This marked the fourth game of the season that Reading has had a crowd in excess of 6,000.
  • This was the second game of the year between the Royals and Everblades, who will face each other a total of six times this year (four in Reading and two in Florida). The two teams complete a three-games-in-three-days series tomorrow (@5:05 pm) at Santander Arena in Reading. The two teams will next meet on Wednesday, March 25 at Santander Arena.
  • Tonight’s victory pushed the Royals’ record to 12-5-1-1 against teams from the East Division with ten more games to be played against teams from the East.
  • Reading scored the game’s first goal tonight, marking the twenty-sixth time this season that the Royals have notched the ‘fg’. The team has compiled a record of 21-4-0-1 when the team has scored first.
  • Tonight’s game marked the fourteenth come-from-behind win of the year for Reading.
  • Matt Hatch scored the game’s first goal tonight while the Royals were playing short-handed. That marked Hatch’s third ‘first goal’ of the season. It was also the second short-handed goal of the season for Hatch, who scored a short-handed penalty shot on January 9, 2015, against the Wheeling Nailers.
  • Pat Mullane picked up an assist on Hatch’s short-handed goal tonight. That was Mullane’s seventh short-handed point of the season (3g-4a), which leads the league. (Mullane has factored in seven of the eight SHGs that Reading has scored this season). Mullane, who has twenty-one points (6g-15a) in his last seventeen games, leads the Royals with forty-eight points (17g-31a) in forty-six games
  • The eight short-handed goals scored by Reading places the Royals tied for fifth in the league with respect to SHGs.
  • Florida’s short-handed goal on the Royals marked the eighth short-handed goal against the Royals this season, which is tied for fifth most SHGAs in the league.
  • Jordan Heywood’s (1g-0a) goal tonight was his first power play goal as a pro.
  • David Marshall (1g-0a) has scored a goal in four of his last five games with Reading. He has registered at least one point in eleven of his last fourteen games, during which he has recorded fifteen points (6g-9a=15pts).
  • Olivier Labelle (1g-1a), who recorded his ninth multi-point performance of the season tonight, is riding a three game point streak (1g-3a). Labelle has fifteen points (7g-8a) in his last ten games. Labelle’s goal tonight, which was his fourth power play goal of the year, proved to be his fourth game winner of the season, as well, and his eighteenth regular season GWG (all-time team leader) as a Royal. Labelle now has 171 points (88g-83a) in 202 games as a Royal (eight points short of Yannick Tifu, who second on the all-time scoring list for the Royals).
  • Sean Wiles (1g-1a), who registered his sixth multi-point game of the year, is riding a four game point streak (3g-3a). Wiles has nine goals in his last seventeen games. Wiles has played plus-12 (+12) in his last twenty-eight games with the Royals.
  • Maxim Lamarche (0g-2a) recorded his fifth multi-point performance of the season tonight. Lamarche, who leads the team at plus-20 (+20) overall, has recorded at least one point in nine of his last ten games (4g-9a=13pts).
  • Goaltender Connor Knapp pushed his personal win streak to seven straight with a twenty-seven save win tonight. Knapp has won eleven of his last thirteen games with the team.
  • Reading’s penalty killers have knocked off 39 of the last 41 power play chances for the opposition over the last twelve games, which is a 95.1% kill ratio during that span. Reading’s PK has blanked the opposition twenty-nine times this year, and has compiled a record of 23-4-1-1 in those games.
  • Tonight’s game, which was Head Coach Larry Courville’s 444th regular season game behind the bench for the team pushed, Courville’s career mark to 102 games over .500 at 255-153-36. .


Reading Royals v Florida Everblades

@ Santander Arena – Reading, PA

Sunday, February 8, 2015 (5:05 pm)

NEXT UP: The Royals and Everblades complete the three-game weekend series tomorrow (Sunday, February 8 @ 5:05 pm) at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania, when we’ll have special appearances from Mickey, Minnie and a Minion. As with all Sunday games in Reading, tomorrow’s game is a Super Saver Sunday with FREE PARKING courtesy of RPA and our Berks Packing Dollar Day Specials ($1.00 Hot Dogs, Nachos, Popcorn and Soda). Sunday’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.

End 15 02-07