Teams Per: 1 2 3
NOR: 2 1 1 =4
REA: 1 3 1 =5
NOR: Rimmer (15/19) 0-0-0 (32:39)
Cardorette (10/11) 0-1-0) (26:01)
REA: Knapp (28/32) 1-0-0
Reading, PA – The Reading Royals (win, 1-1-0) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, defeated the Norfolk Admirals (loss, 0-1-0), 5-4, at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania, in the pre-season finale for the Royals.
In a see-saw battle, the Royals ended up getting a late third-period tie breaking game winner from Geoff Walker, while the team was on the power play. The GWG was actually set up by Mike Pereira who ended the night with four points (2g-2a), plus a third goal in the ‘practice’ three-on-three OT session after the completion of regulation.
The home pre-season portion of the Fifteenth Anniversary season of Royals’ hockey kicked off with a bang as Derek Mathers and Alex Lepkowski went toe-to-toe right off the hop. It was a big heavy weight bout, and Mathers showed once again that he knows how to handle himself in those circumstances.
As with two of the three periods in pre-season Game One last night in Elmira, the Royals hit pay-dirt early in period one tonight. Ian Watters got successive shots out of the right circle. The first one was blocked. The second one was not and proved to be Watters’ second goal of the pre-season 1:18 into the game.
Norfolk answered in short-order. 5:14 into the first. A misplayed puck behind the net by Royals goaltender Connor Knapp (win, 1-0-0, 28/32) resulted in a steal by Alexandre Ranger, who slipped it to the mid-slot for a clean and open look for Marcus Hinds who didn’t miss. 13:40 into the first the Admirals took the lead (2-1) on a snapper by Ranger out of the right circle off the rush with Jordan Kremyr that beat Knapp low blocker.
Reading tied the game back up at two 3:20 into the second period on the team’s first pre-season power play goal. Kevin Sundher was run hard into the end wall by Joe Marciano, resulting in a double-minor for high sticking. The Royals capitalized on the front end of the penalty sequence when Robbie Czarnik ripped a snap shot from the mid-slot that was rejected by Norfolk goaltender Ty Rimmer. However, the puck fell to Rimmer’s left precisely where Mike Pereira was waiting for the put-back into the upper reaches of the net for his second of the pre-season.
The Royals re-took the lead (3-2) 9:55 into the second when Curtis Leonard got off a low bullet from the left point that was kicked out by Rimmer. However, this time the rebound fell to Rimmer’s right where Tyler Gjurich was waiting for the slam dunk and his first of the pre-season.
12:39 into the second, Reading pushed the lead to two (4-2) when the other side of the special teams struck. Kevin Goumas out-raced everyone to a loose puck in the Admirals’ zone and then slipped a perfect pass to Pereira who joined and was charging down the right side for the one-time bury—and his third of the pre-season. At that point, the Admirals exchanged goaltender Philippe Cadorette for Rimmer.
Thirty-two seconds later, Norfolk drew within one (4-3) while still playing with the man advantage. Steven Whitney misfired on a one-timer from the left circle but it proved to his advantage as the puck fluttered up and over the waving catching glove of Knapp, whose timing appeared thrown off by the change-up.
The Admirals tied the game again (4-4) 9:07 into the final frame, when Tyler Daly threaded one through that Knapp rejected with his blocker; however, the rebound fell to the top of the crease, where Whitney bagged his second of the night with a quick snap put-back.
Reading got what proved to be the game winner on the team’s second power play chance of the game late in the third. Adam Comrie sprang Pereira down the right wing side. Pereira blew deep into the zone and then slipped a drop feed to the low slot to a waiting Geoff Walker who buried a bullet low and hot behind Cardorette for his first of the preseason.
The two teams took the opportunity to practice the new three-on-three format for overtime, as well. It ended forty-one seconds in, when Pereira buried another one off the rush to end the preseason with four goals in two games.
The Fifteenth Anniversary Season of Royals’ hockey kicks off with back-to-back games against the South Carolina Stingrays at North Charleston Coliseum on Saturday (October 17) and Sunday (October 18). Reading opens the home portion of the team’s schedule on Saturday, October 24, (7:00 pm) when the Elmira Jackals visit Santander Arena. The home opener will be preceded by a Block Party complete with a FREE concert by the Gin Blossoms. Season Tickets for the 2015-16 Reading Royals ECHL season are currently available. Call 610-898-7825 for more information or log onto www.royalshockey.com.
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