Teams Per: 1 2 3
REA: 1 1 2=4
NOR: 0 0 1=1
REA: 32-23-5-3 = 72 (6th Eastern Conference)
NOR: 26-32-4-1 = 57 (13th Eastern Conference)
REA: Ouellette (win) 17-9-3-0 (26/27)
NOR: Riopel (loss) 9-13-1-0 (20/24)
Norfolk, VA – The Reading Royals (win, 32-23-5-3=72) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, defeated the Norfolk Admirals (loss, 26-32-4-1=57), affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers of the NHL, 4-1, at The Scope in Norfolk, Virginia.
In the first of a two-game weekend set against the Admirals, the Royals struck first and never trailed to stretch the team’s season-long win streak to five games. Reading, who has gone 9-1-0-0 in the team’s last ten games on the road, got four goals from four players to push the team’s record to a season-high nine games over .500. Goaltender Martin Ouellette, who is 9-1-1-0 in his last eleven games, made twenty-six saves to extend his personal win streak to six (6-0-0-0). Defenseman Kevin Young bagged what proved to be the game winning goal to become the seventeenth different player this season to score a GWG for the team.
The Royals, who are 16-3-1-1 when scoring first on the road, bagged the game’s first goal 13:59 into the contest when Brandon Alderson sprang Cam Reid into the offensive zone. Despite being well guarded, Reid gained enough space as he carried into the left circle to snap a low, hard bullet that buzzed across the body and under the catching glove of Norfolk goaltender Nic Riopel for his eighteenth of the year.
Reading stretched the lead to 2-0 10:54 into the second when Mike Pelech, playing in his first game against the Admirals since being traded just over a week ago from Norfolk to Reading, gained possession below the goal line and carried to the right half-wall, where he turned and fired towards the net. Although that shot was partially blocked, the puck slid deep into the right circle where defenseman Kevin Young tracked down the loose puck and turned, wheeled and fired a 180 degree slap shot that blew under and through Riopel for his fifth of the year.
Norfolk gave the Reading faithful pause early in the third, when Braden Christoffer reached up with his left hand and picked off an aerial clearing attempt from the Royals’ defensive zone by Derik Johnson. Christoffer not only settled the puck to the ice, but also blitzed behind the Reading defenders and slipped a deft five-hole tap-shot through Ouellette to make it 2-1 1:40 into the final frame.
Reading responded in relative short-order, however, when Ian Watters led out Scott Tanski with a pass through the neutral zone. Tanski charged up ice on the left side deep into the offensive zone, where he got the edge and cut to the top of the crease, stuffing the puck behind Riopel for his tenth of the year 5:50 into the final frame.
The Royals tacked on further insurance with 2:24 left in regulation when Yannick Tifu started a multi-shot rebound sequence with a shot from the mid slot. Riopel rejected Tifu’s bid, but the rebound fell to the top of the crease where Justin Crandall slipped it back towards the net. Although Crandall’s effort hit the left pipe, Nikita Kashirsky was on the spot to clean things up and bag is twelfth of the year—six of which have come in fifteen games for the Royals.
The Royals and Admirals go at it again tomorrow evening (Saturday, March 19 @ 7:15 pm) at The Scope in Norfolk, Virginia. The game night broadcast for Saturday’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 6:45 pm Eastern Time. Saturday’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. For more information about the Royals, call 610-898-7825 or log onto www.royalshockey.com.
End 16 03-18