Teams Per: 1 2 3
SC: 1 0 1 =2
REA: 0 1 3 =4
SC: Jakaitis (loss) 2-2-0 (23/27) (58:26)
REA: Knapp (win) 2-1-1 (27/29) (59:56)
Reading, PA – The Reading Royals (win, 2-1-1) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the American Hockey League, defeated by the South Carolina Stingrays (loss, 2-2-0), 4-2, at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania. With the win, the Royals evened the best-of-seven East Division Semi-Final playoff series at two games apiece with Game Five to be played in Reading on Sunday.
South Carolina struck 39 seconds into their first power play of the contest—just 1:29 into the game—but the Royals dug themselves out of early penalty trouble and tied the game at one on another back-door bullet off the rush by David Marshall in the latter stages of the second period. In the third, Reading rang off three unanswered, which included the team’s first power play goal of the series (and season against South Carolina) which came late in the third against the Stingrays, who answered with one in short-order; but ran out of time before being able to mount a credible comeback.
The Stingrays were awarded their first of seven power plays—five of which came in the first period—fifty seconds into the first period on a disputed delay of game call, which was assessed against Reading when a clearing attempt from the defensive zone—that appeared deflected—went and out of play. Third-nine seconds later, Wayne Simpson won a face-off to the right point where defenseman Marcus Perrier settled, curt towards the slot and ripped a bullet through traffice that slipped under the catching glove of goaltender Connor Knapp for Perrier’s first of the playoff season.
Reading tied the game on the team’s eleventh shot of the game which came 14:11 into the second period. Defenseman Jordan Heywood worked a give and go down the right wing side into the offensive end with Cam Reid, who was planted at the offensive blue line. Heywood took the return feed and carried deep down the right side. Heywood then slipped a cross-slot pass to David Marshall, who came charging down the left side for a hot one-timer that blew by goaltender Jeff Jakaitis for Marshall’s third of the playoff season.
Reading took a 2-1 lead 3:00 into the third period, when defenseman Mike Marcou cut down the middle of the ice and into the South Carolina defensive end, danced his way by a Stingray defender and dangled his way in all alone on Jakaitis—highlight reel style. Marcou laid down the forehand – backhand move and chipped the puck by Jakaitis for his first goal of the playoff season.
The Royals got what proved to be the game winner 3:44 later while the two teams were playing four aside. Defenseman Brett Flemming landed a perfect saucer into the right circle where defenseman Jordan Heywood skated onto the flat landing puck and took a full stride deeper into the right circle and he uncorked a bullet that beat Jakaitis high to the short side by finding what appeared to be a microscopic opening and slipped through for Heywood’s third of the playoff season—and his second GWG for the Royals.
Reading finally struck for a power play goal 17:35 into the third period—on the team’s fifth power play chance of the game—and twelfth of the series—and twenty-fourth of the season against the Stingrays. Cam Reid, who ended up with three assists on the night, set up Olivier Labelle at the left side of the South Carolina net. Labelle drew the attention of the Stingray penalty killers and slipped a perfect behind-the-back blind back-hand pass across the top of the crease to the waiting Pat Mullane who was planted deep on the right side for a quick snap-one timer and his first of the playoff season.
Eighteen seconds later South Carolina’s Andrew Rowe buried from directly at the right side of the cage after Wayne Simpson fired a bullet from the left side that went wide left and came out on the right. Rowe took the ricochet off the end wall and roofed it for his second of the playoff season; but that would be it for the Stingrays as the Royals held on for the team’s first home-ice playoff win of the year.
NEXT UP FOR THE ROYALS
Game Five of First Round East Division Best-of-Seven Semi-Final Playoff Series
Reading Royals v South Carolina Stingrays
@ Santander Arena – Reading, Pennsylvania
Sunday, April 26, 2015 (5:00 pm Eastern Time)
NEXT UP: The Royals and Stingrays face-off in Game Five of the East Division Semi-Final tomorrow (Sunday, April 26 @ 5:00 pm) at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania. The game night broadcast for Sunday’s playoff 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 4:30 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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