Teams Per: 1 2 3 OT
ELM: 0 2 0 1=3
REA: 1 1 0 0=2
ELM: 36-28-3-1 = 76 (t-5th Eastern Conference)
REA: 33-24-6-4 = 76 (t-5thEastern Conference)
ELM: Owen (WIN) 21-20-0-0 (23/25)
REA: Morrison (OTL) 7-6-3-3 (28/31)
Reading, PA – The Reading Royals (OTL, 33-24-6-4 = 76) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, were defeated in overtime by the Elmira Jackals (Win, 36-28-3-1 = 77) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Buffalo Sabers of the National Hockey League, 3-2, at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania.
In a game originally scheduled for January 24—but postponed due to Winter Storm Jonas—the Royals held two separate leads, but couldn’t hold off the resilient Jackals who battle back (twice) and bagged the overtime game winner shortly after the face-off to start play in the extra session. Playing in the twelfth and final matchup of the regular season between the two teams, the Royals struck first and led 2-1 half-way through but couldn’t throw the knock-out punch on the Jackals, who won their twentieth road game of the year, while Reading salvaged a point to join the four-team log-jam at fifth place in the Eastern Conference. The OTL dropped the Royals to a league worst 2-10 record in games that have gone beyond regulation time this year.
Reading turned the tables on Elmira’s first power play chance of the night, when Nick Luukko gained possession in the defensive zone and carried down the left-wing side all the way into Elmira’s end. Luukko fired a cross-ice pass to Scott Tanski, who quickly sent it towards the top of the crease, where Ian Watters, who was cutting left to right through the middle of the ice re-directed the puck behind goaltender Shane Owens for his sixth of the year 5:19 into the first period.
The Jackals bagged the equalizer (1-1) 7:09 into the second period, when an ill-advised pinch by a Reading defender provided Elmira a clear two-on-one break in the other direction. Justin Bernhardt carried deep into the right circle and used Darcy Murphy as a decoy before ripping a snap shot high short side for his ninth of the year.
Reading took the team’s second lead (2-1) 10:55 into the first after a flurry of offensive push when Kevin Goumas eluded a couple of Jackal defenders in the left circle and slipped a cross-slot pass to Yannick Tifu, who got off a weak side one-knee one-timer into an essentially open net for his sixteenth of the season and eighty-first career goal as a Royal.
Elmira bounced back—again—with a game-tying goal that came one-second after the conclusion of their fourth power play chance of the night 15:45 into the second frame when defenseman Nathan Oystrick took a long-range fluttering back-hand from deep at the right wing point that was headed towards the net about a foot-and-a-half off the ice. Colin Jacobs got just enough of that puck to deflect it up and over the extended right arm of Reading goaltender Adam Morrison for his fourteenth of the season.
After a playoff-styled, tightly held scoreless third period, the two teams went to overtime, where it didn’t take long for the Jackals to claim the win—twenty seconds to be exact. As the puck was sent into Reading’s defensive zone, all three Royals on the ice got sucked below the goal line, and when Elmira’s Chris Langkow gained possession, he slipped it in front of Reading’s net where a wide-open and all-alone Jacob MacDonald fired a one-time bullet behind Morrison for his sixteenth of the year.
The Royals hit the road for a one game stint Friday night (April 1 @ 7:35 p.m.) as the Nailers host Reading from Wheeling, West Virginia. Friday evening’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 7:05 pm Eastern Time. Friday’s game will also be televised locally in Berks County, Pennsylvania, on BCTV courtesy of Boscov’s Travel and Apple Vacations. 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 or through bctv.org.
For more information about the Royals, call 610-898-7825 or log onto www.royalshockey.com.
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