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Monarchs Pull Away from Reading, 5-2

Friday, February 19th
Monarchs Pull Away from Reading, 5-2

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Teams     Per: 1          2          3

MAN:             1         2          2=5

REA:              1         0          1=2


MAN: 32-14-1-4 = 69 (1st Place East Division)

REA: 24-10-5-3 = 56 (3rd Place East Division)


MAN: Carr (WIN) 7-3-0-4 (35/37)

REA: Knapp (LOSS) 9-8-0-1 (34/39)

Power Play:

MAN: 0-2

REA: 1-3

Reading, PA – The Reading Royals (­­­­­­­­­Loss, 24-20-5-3 = 56) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, were defeated by the Manchester Monarchs (Win, 32-14-1-4 = 69) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League, 5-2, at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania.

In the second of a three-game mid-used season series between Reading and Manchester, the Monarchs used a high energy attack to put the Royals back on their collective heels—a position from which the team never recovered. The game, which featured a fair number of physical exchanges, saw plenty of back-and-forth offensive opportunities with Manchester using a relentless attack to pull away down the stretch, while Reading stumbled and appeared to run short of gas. The loss stretched the Royals’ winless streak to three (0-2-1-0), while Manchester bagged their league leading eighteenth road win of the season.

10:48 into the opening period, Manchester took a 1-0 lead. With the Royals’ Yannick Tifu down and out from a hit well behind the play, the Monarchs charged into Reading’s end with a distinct advantage. The end result was Danick Paquette finding a wide open space at the top of the right circle, where he ripped a short-side snapper that beat goaltender Connor Knapp off the right pipe and in.

The Royals squared the game up at the 19:41 mark of the period on their seventeenth shot of the period, with a goal from Ian Watters. At one end of the ice, Knapp made a brilliant save on a bid for Alex Guptill. The Royals used the momentum of the save to charge to the other end of the ice, where Jesper Pettersson ripped a shot on net that was turned away on a kick save by goaltender Doug Carr, but the puck remained loose. Watters picked up the rebound and drilled a shot past the out of position Carr to snap a twenty-one game goal scoring drought and tie the game at 1-1.

Manchester regained the lead on a second period goal from Gasper Kopitar at the 10:18 mark. Yann Sauve dished a centering pass for Kopitar, which he held on his stick until he lifted a backhanded shot at the Reading net. The backhander beat Connor Knapp high to the glove-side. The goal was Kopitar’s seventh of the season.

The Monarchs continued to dictate the pace of play and added another goal, increasing their lead 17:02 into the second frame. Gasper Kopitar fired a cross-ice bullet through the neutral zone to Steven Hodges, who blew behind everyone on the left wing side. Hodges flew full tilt left to right across the top of the crease and drilled a bar-down back-hand for his first since joining Manchester.

Fifty-three seconds into the third, the Monarchs stretched the lead to three (4-1), when a clearing attempt by Reading hit the referee and ended up with the puck sliding to the low slot where Guptill was behind everyone for a wide open bid. Knapp made a brilliant save on Guptill’s back-hand, but the puck slid to the left side of the slot where Matt Leitner stepped in and drilled it home for his eleventh of the year.

The Royals took a bite out of the lead with a power play goal 3:18 into the third.  Joey Sides controlled the puck behind the Monarchs net and found Nikita Kashirsky cutting through the slot for a bullet that would blow by goaltender Doug Carr for Kashirsky’s second goal in four games with Reading.

The Monarchs answered 7:26 into the period to rebuild the three goal advantage (5-2). Forward Joe Diamond picked up the puck in the neutral zone and carried it into the offensive zone. Diamond launched a shot that would whiz past Knapp to the stick-side stretching the lead to, 5-2. The unassisted goal was Diamond’s tenth of the season.

The Royals next hit the road for a four game trip, starting tomorrow (February 20 @ 7 p.m.) in Manchester when the team will wrap up a three-game series with the Monarchs and then head to Elmira and Adirondack next weekend. Saturday’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.

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