Teams Per: 1 2 3
REA: 0 5 1 =6
SC: 0 1 0 =1
REA: Knapp (win) 3-2-1 (18/19)
SC: Jakaitis (loss) 3-3-0 (18/22) (37:06)
Witt (ND) (10/12) (22:54)
North Charleston, SC – The Reading Royals (win, 3-2-1) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the American Hockey League, defeated the South Carolina Stingrays (loss, 3-3-0), 6-1, at North Charleston Coliseum in North Charleston, South Carolina, to stave off elimination, even the series at three games apiece, and force a Game Seven in the East Division Semi-Final tomorrow at North Charleston Coliseum.
After a scoreless first, the Stingrays struck first but that only ignited the Royals attack, as Reading rang off three goals in a span of 2:36—the third of which was the first of what would prove to be four power play goals on the night—to win going away and set up the dramatic Game Seven tomorrow. Six different Royals racked up multi-point performances, including Cam Reid who scored the first and third goals for the team and Adam Comrie who buried a couple of power play blasts within 1:20 of one another late in the second. For the first time in the series, the Royals outshot the Stingrays (34-19), generating 22 shots on goaltender Jeff Jakaitis before he was pulled in favor of rookie Clay Witt 17:06 into the second period.
After a relatively tight to the vest first period in which both teams had a couple of quality chances—including a bullet off the bar late in the first by Reading’s Andrew Johnston—the Stingrays struck first 1:27 into the second when Sean Dolan got loose down the left wing side and broke in all alone on goaltender Connor Knapp. Knapp rejected Dolan’s bid, but the puck rebounded off his right pad directly to the trailer Joe Devin who forced it home for his fourth of the playoff series.
Forty-eight seconds later, the Royals tied the game at one when defenseman Brett Flemming set Cam Reid for a clean look from the right circle. Reid fired the puck through the Stingray defender fronting him, and the snapper bulleted by Jakaitis on the short side for Reid’s second of the playoff season.
Directly off the face-off to restart play, Reading attacked with a vengeance, opening up a multi-chance shooting gallery which ended only when Andrew Johnston sniped one into the upper reaches of the net from the top of the crease. For Johnston that goal, which proved to be the game winner, was his first of the playoff season.
Reading then went on a power play binge, going three-for-three on the PP in the second period. It started with another snapper by Reid—this one from the left circle that beat Jakaitis low blocker 4:51 into the second to make it 3-1 with the three goals coming in just 2:36.
Late in the period, the Royals stretched the lead to 5-1 with back-to-back power play rockets by Adam Comrie from virtually identical spots at the right point. The first came 17:06 into the third on Jakaitis. The second came 1:20 later on Clay Witt, who came on in substitution of Jakaitis for his first pro action after Comrie’s first goal.
In the third, Reading added one more on the power play for good measure. On this one, which came 15:10 into the final frame, Mike Marcou ripped a shot from the right point that was kicked out by Witt; but the rebound fell to the top of the crease, where David Marshall slipped a back hand through for his third of the playoff season, which also served to extend his playoff point streak to six.
Things got a bit messy down the stretch; but the players ultimately settled things down, choosing instead to save their energy for Game Seven.
NEXT UP FOR THE ROYALS
Game Seven of First Round East Division Best-of-Seven Semi-Final Playoff Series
Reading Royals v South Carolina Stingrays
@ North Charleston Coliseum – North Charleston, South Carolina
Wednesday, April 29, 2015 (7:05 pm Eastern Time)
NEXT UP: Reading and South Carolina will face-off in a decisive Game Seven tomorrow (Wednesday, April 29) at North Charleston Coliseum (@7:05 pm). The game night broadcast for Game Seven 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 pm Eastern Time. As with all Royals road games this season, tomorrow’s playoff matchup will be televised live locally 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.
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