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Royals Squeak One Out Against Wheeling, 2-1

Wednesday, February 4th
Royals Squeak One Out Against Wheeling, 2-1

Teams     Per: 1          2          3

WHL:             0          0          1= 1 

REA:              0          2          0= 2


WHL: 20-22-0-0=40 (5th North Division)

REA:  29-13-1-1=60 (2nd East Division)


WHL:  Hartzell (Loss) 10-8-0-0 (22/24)

REA: Knapp (Win) 15-7-0-0 (42/43)

Power Play:

WHL: 0-3

REA: 0-3

Reading, PA – The Reading Royals (­­­­­­­­­win, 29-13-1-1=60) 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, 20-22-0-0=40), 2-1, at Santander Arena in Reading, PA.

In the ninth game of season between the Royals and the Nailers, things held true to form in the season series, as the home time won again—this time Reading—in another squeaker of a game that went right down to the wire—quite literally—before the Royals could notch the team’s eight consecutive game in the win column. After a back-and-forth first period, during which the teams’ respective goaltenders traded spectacular saves, the Royals broke through with the team’s seventh short-handed goal of the season and added another in a second period during which Reading only generated a total of three shots. In the third, the Nailers turned up the heat on the full court press, outshooting the Royals 15-6 in the final frame and finally breaking through on a beautiful shot by Josh Archibald, who was just assigned today to the Nailers from the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins of the AHL. The Nailers kept charging down the stretch and with 15.9 seconds left created a dramatic and close call on the goal line that was ultimately waived off by the officials, which allowed the Royals to preserve the one-goal margin of victory and push the team’s record to a season-best sixteen games over .500.

First Period (0-0, Tie)


Despite any number of Grade-A scoring opportunities at both ends of the ice, neither team was able to break through in the first twenty minutes due primarily to stellar goaltending by the Royals’ Connor Knapp and Wheeling’s Eric Hartzell. The stop of the period may have gone to Hartzell, who played his college hockey at Quinnipiac University, when another Quinnipiac grad, David Marshall, got free for a clear cut breakaway and drilled a high, hot snapper that Hartzell flared and snared with the glove.

Second Period (2-0, Reading)

3:56 (1-0, Reading) Reading Goal (Short-Handed)

Mullane (15); Wiles and Molle (slipped through traffic and under the goaltender from right side of the crease)

Reading struck first with the team’s seventh short-handed goal of the season. The Nailers had puck possession in the offensive zone and set defenseman Morgan Ellis for a one-time slapper from the high slot. Ellis fatted the shot and snapped his stick in two, allowing the Royals’ Pat Mullane to pick up the puck and charge into the offensive zone. Eills fronted Mullane as he took the puck to the net, but since he was now playing without a stick, Ellis wasn’t able to back Mullane down as he continued to press towards the net. When Mullane got within striking distance, he slipped the puck along ice through the legs of Ellis and another Wheeling defender who had joined the effort to thwart the short-handed bid. But the puck slid through everyone, including the five-hole of goaltender Hartzell for Mullane’s fifteenth of the year—and third short-handed goal of the season.

13:18 (2-0, Reading) Reading goal

Hughesman (15); Reid and Labelle (top of the crease re-direct of seam pass from the high slot)

Reading got what would prove to be the game winner later in the second when Olivier Labelle carried into the offensive zone on the right wing side. He fired a pass back to the high slot where Cam Reid stepped in to fill the gap. Reid, in turn, threaded a perfect seam pass towards the top of the crease where Adam Hughesman was cutting right to left through the low slot. Hughesman deftly nicked the puck, causing it to change directions through the five-hole of Hartzell for Hughesman’s fifteenth of the season and his first GWG.

Third Period (2-1, Reading)

8:00 (2-1, Reading) Wheeling Goal

Archibald (1); Brace and Cianfrinni (snap shot from the right circle)

After substantially outshooting and out-chancing the Royals for a huge chunk of the game (the shot differential was 28 to 9 over the last 40 minutes), Wheeling finally hit pay-dirt on a beautifully executed face-off play after an icing infraction assess against the Royals midway into the third period. The Nailers won possession of the puck and ran a switch play that resulted in Riley Brace settling high on the right circle, as a wide swath of territory opened up deeper in that circle. Brace landed a soft saucer just inside the dot, where Josh Archibald, playing in his first game in the ECHL skated onto the puck and ripped hot rivet across the body of goaltender Connor Knapp high to the stick side for his first with the Nailers.

19:45 (2-1, Reading) NO GOAL

With 15.9 seconds remaining in regulation and the goaltender pulled and the sixth attacker on the ice, it appeared that Wheeling tied the game when Archibald beat everyone on the edge as he charged down the left wing side. Archibald slid the puck into the blue paint where a crashing Chaz Johnson came sliding into goaltender Knapp. The puck went directly across the goal mouth and along the goal line. As the puck arrived to the left pipe, it appeared that the referee signaled that it was a good goal; but after a lengthy discussion, the officials ruled that the puck never crossed the goal. And after a face-off to restart play, Reading held on for the win.


  • The scratches for the Royals tonight were: Andrew Johnston (f) (healthy) (ECHL Reserve), Kevin Sullivan (f), Gentry Zollars (d) (ECHL Reserve), and Kenny Reiter (g) (healthy).
  • Tonight’s win stretched the Royals overall win streak to a season-long eight games (8-0-0-0).
  • Reading has won nine of the last ten games, twelve of the last fifteen, seventeen of the last twenty-one and twenty of the last twenty-five played.
  • The victory pushed the Royals record to a season high sixteen games over .500 (29-13-1-1=60).
  • The Royals have won three consecutive home games, dating to a 6-2 win over Brampton on January 11.
  • This was the ninth game of the season between the Royals and Nailers. Reading has a 5-4-0-0 record against Wheeling with three more games to be played between the two teams. So far, the home team has won every game played in the series. Reading is 5-0-0-0 at Santander Arena, and 0-4-0-0 at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling, where the two teams will meet next (on Friday, February 13).
  • Tonight’s victory pushed the Royals’ record to 18-7-0-0 against teams from the North Division with thirteen more games to be played against teams from the North.
  • The Royals have compiled a record of 20-4-0-1 when scoring the game’s first goal (and 10-1-0-1 on home ice when scoring first).
  • The Royals scored the team’s seventh short-handed goal of the year tonight. Five of the Royals’ seven short-handed goals have been scored against the Nailers, who have given up more short-handed goals against than any team in the league (13).
  • Pat Mullane scored his third short-handed goal of the season tonight—which was also his third ‘first goal’ of the year. Mullane scored the Royals’ first goal of the 2014-15 season, which also happened to be a short-handed goal against the Nailers back on October 18.
  • Mullane has recorded six short-handed points this season (3g-3a), which leads the ECHL.
  • Sean Wiles picked up an assist on Mullane’s SHG. That was the fourth short-handed point of the year for Wiles (2g-2a).
  • Bryant Molle registered the secondary assist on Mullane’s SHG. That was Molle’s third short-handed assist of the season (0g-3a).
  • Adam Hughesman registered his first game winning goal of the season tonight. Hughesman is the eleventh different player to score a GWG for Reading this season.
  • Cam Reid, who picked up the primary assist on the game winner by Hughesman tonight, has eleven points in his last eight games (5g-6a).
  • Olivier Labelle, who played his 200th game as a Royal tonight, picked up the secondary assist on Hughesman’s goal. Labelle has 168 career points with the Royals (87g-81a), which is third on the team’s all-time scoring list (11 points behind Yannick Tifu: 66g-113=179 in 184 games with the Royals).
  • Connor Knapp pushed his personal win streak to six games tonight. Knapp has won ten of his last twelve decisions for the Royals.
  • Knapp’s 42 saves established a new team-season high tonight. (The 43 shots taken by the Nailers on the Royals’ goal is also a new team season high for total shots against).
  • This marked the twelfth game of the year in which Reading has held the opposition to one goal or less (12-0-0-0).
  • Tonight’s game marked the eighth time in the last ten games that Reading’s penalty killers have blanked the opposition’s power play (3-3). The team has killed 34 of the last 36 power plays against that the team has faced during that span, which is a  94.4% kill ratio.
  • The Royals penalty killers have blanked the opposition’s power play twenty-seven times this year, and the team has compiled a record of 21-4-1-1 in those games.


Reading Royals v Florida Everblades

@ Santander Arena – Reading, PA

Friday, February 6, 2015 (7:30 pm)

NEXT UP: The Royals kick off a three-games-in-three-days series against the top team in the East Division, the Florida Everblades, starting on Friday (February 6 @ 7:30 pm) at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania. Friday is Ladies Night with a special appearance from Soap Opera star Tyler Christopher. It is also a Free Shirt Friday when the first 1500 fans fifteen years of age and older will get a t-shirt honoring Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer courtesy of V&M Towing. There will also be a charity auction for an opportunity to have dinner with your favorite Royal after the game. 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 7:00 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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