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Slow Start Dooms Royals Against Adirondack, 4-1

Sunday, February 14th
Slow Start Dooms Royals Against Adirondack, 4-1

Click Here for Box Score

Teams     Per: 1          2          3

ADK:              2         0          2=4

REA:              0         1          0=1


ADK: 28-15-2-2 = 60 (2nd Place East Division)

REA: 24-18-4-3 = 55 (3rd Place East Division)


ADK: Bartus (WIN) 1-2-0-0 (27/28)

REA: Ouellette (LOSS) 11-9-2-0 (33/36) (1 eng)

Power Play:

ADK: 1-5

REA: 0-4

 Prepared with the Assistance from Anthony Marchetto (Kutztown University Intern)

Reading, PA – The Reading Royals (­­­­­­­­­Loss, 24-19-4-3 = 55) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, were defeated by the Adirondack Thunder (Win, 28-15-2-2 = 60) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Calgary Flames of the National Hockey League, 4-1, at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania.

In Adirondack’s final regular season visit to Santander Arena, the Thunder got out of the gate quickly and never really looked back defeating the Royals for the sixth time and holding the Royals to one goal (or less) for the fifth time. Shortly after the face-off to start play on this Valentine’s Day contest, the Thunder all they would need with two quick goals, including a power play goal 3:19 into the game on their first chance with the man advantage. At the other end of the ice, the Royals did not appear to have the jump necessary to muster a two-goal comeback, as Adirondack goaltender Garrett Bartus found his footing, while his Thunder teammates played a safe and sound structure—and sacrificed when necessary—to protect the critical areas in their defensive zone. The loss snapped a three-game win streak for the Royals, who have still not been able to string together four consecutive wins this year.

Adirondack came out storming and pounced on the slow-starting Royals 1:24 into the game. A turnover in the Reading defensive zone allowed Quinn Smith  gain possession in the mid-slot where he slipped a diagonal down pass from his knees into the low right circle where a waiting Gunnar Hughes swiped a bar-down one-timer for his eighth of the year.

Although, it was a Valentine’s Day showdown there was no love lost between these two teams. The ensuing center-ice faceoff after the quick goal ignited a fight between Derek Mathers and Adirondack’s Luke Curadi. Mathers engaged Curadi and appeared to gain the upper hand before Curadi lost his balance and fell to the ice. Both men were assessed five minute fighting majors and an additional two minutes for removing their helmets prior to the altercation.

The energy mustered from the fisticuffs dissipated when Reading’s Joey Sides was hit with an interference minor 1:07 later. Forty-eight seconds after that—at the 3:19 mark of the first—the Thunder made the Royals pay when Michael Kirkpatrick dug the puck off the left wing wall and slid it behind Reading’s net where it was settled by Ryan Lomberg, who in turn found Dana Fraser at the top of the crease. Although Fraser was guarded, he had the inside track and was able to create separation from the Reading defender, cutting left to right across the top of the crease for a relatively easy slam dunk and his eighth of the season.

Reading cut the lead in half 14:47 into the second frame, when Ian Watters forced the puck behind Adirondack’s net where Sides came slashing in at full speed and set a perfect blind, between-the-legs pass back up towards the right side of the net, where Nick Luukko crashed, gained possession and buried the puck up and over Bartus for his fourth of the year—three of which have come against the Thunder.

As Reading dug down deep for the energy necessary to complete the comeback, the Thunder stuck a dagger in the Royals’ heart 14:27 into the third period. Defenseman Patch Alber fired a shot from the right point that goaltender Martin Ouellette rejected with the stick, but the hard rebound fell directly to his right where a slicing Michael Kirkpatrick, who had gained the inside track on a Reading defender, punched the puck home for his team-leading nineteenth of the year, which served to regain the two goal advantage (3-1) for Adirondack.

That pretty much did it on this Sunday afternoon, but the Thunder tacked on an empty netter by Ryan Lomberg with 15.5 seconds left in regulation to drop the Royals back to five games over .500 through fifty games played.

The Royals remain at home this week, hosting the Manchester Monarchs, Wednesday (February 17 @ 7 p.m.) from Santander Arena, in Reading, Pennsylvania. The Wednesday Night Rivalry Game will feature a “T-Shirt Fired Up Frenzy” where 250 t-shirts will be fired into the crowd. 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.

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

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