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Royals Pelted by Jackals in Fifteenth Anniversary Home Opener, 7-2

Saturday, October 24th
Royals Pelted by Jackals in Fifteenth Anniversary Home Opener, 7-2

Click Here for Box Score

Teams     Per: 1          2          3

ELM:              2          3          2 =7

REA:              1          1          0 =2


ELM: 2-2-0-0 = 4

REA: 2-2-0-0 = 4


ELM: Marotta (win) (21/23) 2-0-0-0

REA: Knapp (loss) (6/10) 23:39

            Niedert (ND) 8/11 36:21

Power Play:

ELM: 1-5

REA: 0-3

Reading, PA – The Reading Royals (­­­­­­­­­loss, 2-2-0-0=4) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, were defeated by the Elmira Jackals (win, 2-2-0-0=4), affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres, 7-2, in the Fifteenth Anniversary Home Opener for the Royals at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania.

In a game where it seemed that every bounce that could wrong did, the Royals fell behind early and were never really able to right the ship in front of the largest crowd since April 3, 2010 (7,163). Elmira made the most of limited opportunities, scoring seven times on just 21 total shots, including their first two in the early stages of the second period to build a 4-1 lead and chase starting goaltender Connor Knapp in favor of journeyman veteran goaltender Nick Niedert, who was signed today after Martin Oullette was recalled to Lehigh Valley.

Elmira struck 1:40 into the game after the Royals fumbled their coverages—as well as the puck—on a defensive zone face-off. The Jackals’ Cason Hohmann (who ended up with four points on the night) finished a relatively easy tap-in from the left side of crease after Reading’s d-zone coverage collapsed and Nick Zappia trickled a seemingly harmless pin-balling puck into the crease.

The Royals bounced back quickly, striking off the rush sixty-one seconds later when Kevin Sundher fed a perfect diagonal down cross slot pass to a hard charging Robbie Czarnik who redirected the puck behind Sam Marotta for his second of the season.

Later in the first, Elmira took the lead for what would prove to be for good on the first power play goal of the year given up by Reading. The Jackals’ Spiro Goulakos drilled a hot shot form the high slot that Knapp fought off. But the rebound fell to his left where it appeared to be swept into the net by Reading defender Todd Perry 15:58 into the game.

The Jackals stretched the lead to 4-1 by scoring on their first two shots in the second. The first came 1:07 into the frame when another pin-balling puck—this time on an attempted pass by Hohmann from deep on the left side—struck defenseman Perry and slid through Knapp. The second came when defenseman Nathan Oystrick found a relatively sizeable gap on the short side—with Knapp completely screened and unaware of the puck’s position—on a slap shot from the left point 3:39 into the period.

That proved to be it for Knapp, but not for the Jackals, who pushed the lead to 5-1 8:20 into the second when Goulakos walked a Reading forward at the right point, carried the puck to the top of the right circle and threaded a perfect pass to the weak side forward—a wide-open and waiting Colin Jacobs who easily buried his shot over a sprawling Niedert.

Reading bounced back twenty seconds later to cut the lead back to three (5-2), when Riley Armstrong charged into the offensive zone, split through a couple of defenders and snapped a hot bullet by Marotta from the low slot for his first as a Royal.

But that would be it for Reading, who were pretty much put to sleep by an steady and solid Elmira defense in the third. For their part, the Jackals would take on two more to add insult to injury in the third period. The first came at 11:37 when a Royals’ defenseman stepped up in the neutral zone only to have three Elmira forwards bolt by him and go tic-tac-toe as they approached the Reading net with Stefishen having the honor of finishing on a virtually helpless Niedert. Defenseman Josh Chapman fired a seeing-eye snap shot—that may have been deflected on the way in—from the high slot that snuck by Niedert with 3:49 to play to make it seven.

The Royals and Jackals go at it for a third straight time on Wednesday (October 28 @ 7:00 pm), when the Royals will have their first T-Shirt Fired-Up Frenzy, when the Energy Crew will fire 250 t-shirts into the crowd to help generate the excitement that will be needed to bounce back against Elmira.

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 6:30 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.

Season Tickets for the 2015-16 Reading Royals ECHL season are currently available.

For more information about the Royals, call 610-898-7825 or log onto www.royalshockey.com.

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