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Royals Clinch Playoff Berth with Win in Brampton, 8-3

Sunday, March 22nd
Royals Clinch Playoff Berth with Win in Brampton, 8-3

Teams     Per: 1          2          3

REA:              2          3          3= 8

BRM:             0          2          1= 3


REA: 41-16-4-2=88 (2nd East Division)

BRM: 21-38-3-0=45 (7th Central Division)


REA:  Knapp (win), 22-8-3-1 (18/21)

BRM:             Van Buskirk (loss) 0-1-0-0 (15/19) (35:25)

            DeMelo (ND) (11/15) (24:35)

Power Play:

REA: 1-4

BRM: 0-3

Brampton, ON – The Reading Royals (­­­­­­­­win, 41-16-4-2=88) 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 Brampton Beast (loss, 21-38-3-0=45), 8-3, at Powerade Centre in Brampton, Ontario.

In the finale of a three-game set between the Royals and Beast, Reading struck early, built a 3-0 lead, held off a second-period counter-punch from the Beast, and then pulled away in the third to notch the team’s forty-first win of the season and clinch a playoff spot in the ECHL’s East Division. Seven different Royals notched goals—and fifteen different players recorded at least in point—as Reading hit the eight goal plateau for the first time this season. Goaltender Connor Knapp made eighteen saves to record his twenty-first win of the year and extend his personal unbeaten streak to eight (5-0-2-1).

First Period (2-0, Reading)

1:49 (1-0, Reading) Reading Goal

Labelle (24); Caruso and Hughesman (rebound off the rush)

Reading struck early off the rush. Adam Hughesman carried into the offensive zone and stopped up short on the right half wall and threaded a perfect pass to Michael Caruso, who had joined the rush and skated onto the pass and ripped a snap shot low glove side. Goaltender Parker Van Buskirk answered with the left pad; but the rebound kicked to the low slot where a crashing Olivier Labelle banged it home for his twenty-fourth of the year.

16:50 (2-0, Reading) Reading Goal (Power Play)

Labelle 2 (25); Flemming and Heywood (re-direct of shot from top of left circle)

Reading struck on the team’s first power play chance when Brett Flemming set for a shot off the top of the left circle. Flemming drilled the puck towards heavy traffic in front of the Brampton net, and Labelle just nicked as it bulleted by, deflecting the puck behind Van Buskirk for his second of the night and twenty-fifth of the year—and his team-leading ninety-sixth career goal in his 219th game as a Royal.

Second Period (5-2, Reading)

1:35 (3-0, Reading) Reading Goal

Marcou (6); Wiles and Molle (drop pass off the rush, stickhandle around goaltender)

The Royals stretched the lead to three early in the second when Sean Wiles carried down the right wing side and used Brandon Alderson, who was cutting through the mid-slot towards the net, as a decoy, and instead dropped the puck to Mike Marcou, who was trailing the play. Marcou picked up with speed, and as Van Buskirk came out of the net to meet him, Marcou stick-handled around him and stuffed it into an essentially open net for his sixth of the year.

14:34 (3-1, Reading) Brampton Goal

Donati (14); Ling and Fawcett  (shot from low slot)

Brampton broke through late in the second, when a strong forecheck by Tyson Fawcett forced a turnover deep in Reading’s defensive zone. The puck slid up the right wing wall, where it was picked off by Jamie Ling, who ripped a quick pass to the low slot, where Justin Donati was wide open for a quick snap shot which slipped by Knapp for Donati’s fourteenth of the year.

15:10 (3-2, Reading) Brampton Goal

Pitton (22); Brown and Austin (back hand chop from the low slot)

Thirty-six seconds later, the Beast pulled within one when Riley Austin fired a shot from the point that was blocked on the way in, but fell to the mid slot, where Jason Pitton took a quick back-handed swipe, forcing a low shot towards the goal that just caught the inside of the left pipe for his twenty-second of the season.

15:25 (4-2, Reading) Reading Goal

Marshall (21); Molle and Mullane (spin-a-rama off the rush)

Fifteen seconds after that, the Royals counter-punched to re-take the two goal lead, when Bryant Molle chipped a puck off the glass from the defensive zone. The puck came fluttering back to earth at the offensive zone blue line where David Marshall took it on the fly (quite literally—Brampton thought that he played it with a high stick), but the play was allowed to continue and Marshall bulled his way to the net; and, as he got close to the cage, protected the puck with a 360 move, releasing it right between Van Buskirk’s legs just as he arrived at the top of the crease for his twenty-first of the season—which proved to be his eighth game winner of the year and which also served to chase Van Buskirk from the game, as Ryan DeMelo came on in substitution.

18:55 (5-2, Reading) Reading Goal

Hatch (9); Johnston (offensive zone face-off win and stuff in from the top of the crease)

Reading re-gained the three goal advantage late in the first when Andrew Johnston won an offensive zone face-off in the right circle. The puck slid towards the top of the crease, where Matt Hatch corralled it, settled, and patiently carried across the top of the crease, causing DeMelo to commit to the ice, which gave Hatch an opening to stuff the puck in for his ninth of the year.

Third Period (8-3, Reading)

0:40 (6-2, Reading) Reading Goal

Caruso (4); Flemming and Cruthers (slap shot from high slot)

The Royals took a 6-2 lead with Michael Caruso’s second goal in two games. Brett Flemming set Caruso up in the high slot. Caruso, who had all sorts of time and space, pulled the puck to a spot on the ice where he had an angle to the net. He then ripped a low bullet glove side on DeMelo for his fourth of the year.

1:02 (7-2, Reading) Reading Goal

Alderson (7); Cruthers and Wiles (finish with weak side tap in on two-on-one rush

Twenty-two seconds later, the Royals blew things wide open on a two-one-one break into the offensive zone. Ryan Cruthers carried down the left side and drew the attention of the lone defender. Cruthers then tossed a cross-ice saucer that landed flat on the right side of the slot for Brandon Anderson, who had an easy tap in for his seventh of the year.

5:57 (8-2, Reading) Reading Goal

Walrod (9); Watters and Marshall (power move down the left wing side, cut to the top of the crease, and stuff)

Reading hit the eight goal plateau for the first time this season early in the third when David Marshall and Ian Watters forced the puck from the defensive zone down the wall into Brampton’s end. It appeared that a Brampton defender was going to be the first player to the puck; but Kevin Walrod charged up the wall, took possession, cut from deep in the left wing corner to the top of the crease and stuffed the puck in on the far-side for his eighth of the year—and his fourth in four games.

17:39 (8-3, Reading) Brampton Goal

Ling (9); Donati and Willmott (shot from the right corner)

Brampton cut the lead back to five after a wild scramble around the net. Knapp made several quality saves in the sequence; but was down and out of the play by the time the puck popped into the right circle where David Ling had a wide open staring him in the face; and he didn’t miss, drilling it home for his ninth of the year.


  • The Royals scratches tonight were Maxim Lamarche (d) and Zach Davies (d) (21-day injured reserve).
  • Today’s win clinched a playoff spot for the Royals in the East Division of the Eastern Conference of the ECHL. This marks the sixth straight season—and the tenth time (in the fourteen year history of the team)—that Reading has qualified for the ECHL post-season.
  • With today’s win, the Royals pushed the team’s record to a season best twenty-five games over .500 (41-16-4-2=88). The team remains in second place in the East Division.
  • Reading has compiled a record of 4-2-2-0 in the team’s last eight games; 8-3-3-1 in the last fifteen; 20-3-3-1 in the last twenty-seven; and 32-8-3-1 in the last forty-four.
  • This was the fifth and final game of the regular season between the Royals and Beast. Reading completed the season series 3-1-1-0 against the Beast.
  • The Royals scored the first goal of the game 1:49 into the contest tonight. The Royals have compiled a record of 28-4-0-2 when scoring the game’s first goal.
  • The eight goals scored tonight by the Royals established a new the season high for goals in a single game.
  • The five goal margin of victory ties the season-high. Reading has won by a five-goal margin four times this year.
  • This game marked the tenth time this year that Reading has scored six or more goals in a single game (9-1-0-0).
  • Reading got goals from seven different players tonight: Olivier Labelle (2g-0a), Mike Marcou (1g-0a), David Marshall (1g-1a), Matt Hatch (1g-0a), Michael Caruso (1g-1a), Brandon Alderson (1g-0a), and Brandon Alderson (1g-0a).
  • Four other players recorded multi-point games: Sean Wiles (0g-2a), Bryant Molle (0g-2a), and Brett Flemming (0g-2a), and Ryan Cruthers (0g-2a).
  • Olivier Labelle (2g-0a) recorded his fourteenth multi-point game of the year and second two goal performance of the season. He is tied (with Cam Reid) for the team lead with twenty-five goals. He now has ninety-six goals in 219 games with the Royals.
  • David Marshall recorded his team-leading eighth game winner of the season this afternoon.
  • Adam Hughesman (0g-1a) extended his personal point streak to five games (1g-4a). He has had at least one point in eleven of his last twelve games (3g-12a).
  • Kevin Walrod is riding a four game goal scoring streak (4g-0a).
  • Goaltender Connor Knapp unbeaten is his last eight games (5-0-1-2). He has compiled a record of 13-1-3-1 in his last eighteen.


Reading Royals v Florida Everblades

@ Santander Arena – Reading, PA

Wednesday, March 25, 2015 (7:30 pm)

NEXT UP: The Royals return home to Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania on Wednesday (March 25 @ 7:30 pm) when the team will face the Florida Everblades. That night we will celebrate the Royals’ 1000th regular season game in team history. Fans can take advantage of the Steak-umm Meal and Ticket Deal that evening, as well, when $25.00 gets you a Purple Zone ticket, a Steak-umm Burger, Fries and a large soda. There will be select draft beer for $2.50. The game night broadcast for Wednesday’s matchup 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 7:00 pm Eastern Time. 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.


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