Teams Per: 1 2 3 OT
MAN: 0 1 2 1=4
REA: 2 1 0 0=3
MAN: 31-14-1-4 = 68 (1st Place East Division)
REA: 24-19-5-3 = 56 (3rd Place East Division)
MAN: Stevens (WIN) 13-5-1-0 (35/39)
REA: Ouellette (OTL) 11-9-3-0 (31/34)
Reading, PA – The Reading Royals (Loss, 24-19-5-3 = 56) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, were defeated in overtime by the Manchester Monarchs (Win, 31-14-1-4 = 68) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings, 4-3, at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania.
In the first of three consecutive games between the Royals and Monarchs, Reading built two separate two-goal leads, including the 3-1 advantage the team took into the third period; but Manchester was able to capitalize on their only power play chance of the third frame and then bagged the game-tying goal in a wild waning-moments flurry to get to overtime, where the two teams traded end-to-end Grade-A opportunities until Manchester defensemen Alex Roach completed the come-back with a bullet out of the right circle that gave the Monarchs their league-leading eighth win of the year when entering the third period trailing the opposition (8-10-1-1), while handing the Royals the team’s eleventh blown-lead loss of the year.
Pavel Padakin, who was loaned today to Reading from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the American Hockey League, wasted little time making his presence felt when he scored the game’s first goal at the 8:40 mark of the opening frame. Mike Pereira gained possession on the right half-wall and fed defenseman Nick Luukko, who was trailing into the offensive end. Luukko ripped a bullet from the right point that was rejected by goaltender Colin Stevens. However, the rebound bounded out front and the crashing Luukko who followed his shot, got a second bite at the apple. Stevens made the save on that as well, but the puck fell to the left side of the crease, where Padakin was perfectly positioned to snap home his sixth of the season.
Padakin got another bid 11:26 into the first when Brandon Alderson sprang him on a coast-to-coast breakaway that was interrupted with a hook from behind. Padakin was awarded a penalty shot, but goaltender Colin Stevens had an the answer with his right pad for the misdirection move of Padakin, who carried slowly in from the left side, cut hard to his right at the top of the crease while dropping the puck to his left and attempting to stuff it behind Stevens with a one-hand back-hand. But Stevens stayed right with the play and kept the score at 1-0, Reading.
With dead-on two minutes remaining on the clock in the first period, the Royals were granted the team’s first power play chance of the night. It took the squad all of thirty-four seconds to take advantage of the opportunity. Yannick Tifu set Mike Marcou for a shot off the right side that was stifled by heavy traffic in front of him. The puck, however, bounded to the mid-slot where a wide open and all alone Robbie Czarnik settled just long enough to drill it high glove side on Stevens for his team-leading twenty-second goal of the year—nine of which have come on the power play.
Early into the second, a tripping penalty gave Manchester their second chance with the man advantage—and they didn’t waste it. An incomplete clearing attempt in the neutral zone, when coupled with a disrupted change of the penalty killers, conspired to open a wide gap in the middle of the ice for Dannick Paquette, who was essentially wide open and a alone as he broke through the slot for a point blank look and what proved to be his first of the night—and seventh of the year 2:59 into the second frame.
Undaunted, the Royals regained the two-goal advantage nineteen seconds later, when Mike Pereira picked off a clearing attempt by the Monarchs from deep in their defensive end. Pereira cut to the slot, drew the attention of the Manchester defenders, and deftly kicked the puck out to Alderson who was cutting towards the Monarch’s net low on the right side. Alderson quickly snapped the puck behind Stevens for his fourth of the year to make it 3-1, Reading.
Manchester kick-started their comeback effort in the third period on their sixth power play chance of the night, which came on a hotly disputed tripping minor assessed against Reading’s Kevin Young. The penalty killers did a good job of keeping the Monarch power play at bay for the largest chunk of the power play sequence. But late in the kill, Reading was unable to complete a chance to fire the puck out of the defensive zone when Matt Fornataro corralled it at the offensive blue line. Fornataro quicky snapped off a seemingly harmless shot that somehow pin-balled through traffic and proceeded to slip by goaltender Martin Ouellette for his third goal in two games with the Monarchs.
Reading played a solid brand of defense-first through the largest part of the remaining time third period, but things unraveled in the waning moments. Manchester pulled Stevens in lieu of a sixth attacker with just over a minute left; and Reading got one bid at the empty net; but the shot, which came from well behind the center red line, missed just left, and resulted in an icing infraction against the Royals. From the face-off to restart play forward, Manchester kept the puck in the offensive zone and made Reading pay for the faux pas when another failed clear resulted in defenseman Michael Boivin keeping the left point and firing a last-ditch shot that was downward-deflected by Paquette, who was planted in front of the net, for his second of the game with just 21.7 left in regulation.
Things then turned into a three-on-three track-meet in overtime. The Royals come out with a vengeance, battling and creating opportunities that Stevens spectacularly answered. And 3:44 into the extra-session, the Monarchs got the last laugh, when Roach was set up in the right circle for a bar-down short-side bullet and the fifth overtime win of the year for the Monarchs (5-1); while Reading fell to 1-8 in games that have gone beyond regulation time this year.
The Royals and Monarchs meet up for game two in the three-game set this Friday (February 19 @ 7:00 pm) at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania. Friday is “Hockey is Heart Healthy Night” presented by Reading Health Systems and the first 2,000 fans in attendance will receive the third of four Fifteenth Anniversary Season Commemorative Pucks presented by Reading Health Systems being distributed this season. Friday’s matchup can be heard live on CBS SportsRadio 1240 AM and 98.5 FM 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.
For more information about the Royals, call 610-898-7825 or log onto www.royalshockey.com.
End 16 02-17