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Royals Late Push Falls Short to Wheeling, 4-3

Saturday, March 5th
Royals Late Push Falls Short to Wheeling, 4-3

Click Here for Box Score

Teams     Per: 1          2          3

WHL:             1         1          2=4

REA:              1         0          2=3


WHL: 28-23-2-3 = 61 (2nd Place North Division)

REA: 27-23-5-3 = 62 (t-3rd Place East Division)


WHL: Palazzese (WIN) 18-14-1-1 (25/28)

REA: Vazzano (LOSS) 1-2-2-0 (18/22)

Power Play:

WHL: 1-3

REA: 1-5

Prepared with the Assistance of:

Anthony Marchetto (Kutztown University Intern)

Reading, PA – The Reading Royals (27-23-5-3 = 62) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, were defeated by the Wheeling Nailers (28-23-2-3 = 61) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League, 4-3, at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania.

For the second night in a row, the Royals fell to the Nailers on home ice, despite outshooting and out-chancing Wheeling for substantial portions of the contest. In contrast to last night, the Nailers scored first in this one; but just as with last night’s game, it was an early push in the third period by Wheeling that built what proved to be an insurmountable lead. After Reading tied the game at one in the first period, the Royals unleashed a dominating attack in the second; but the Nailers bagged the only goal in that period and then were able to maintain their perfect record of protecting third period leads this year at 18-0-0-0. For Reading, this marked the team’s third straight regulation loss and extended the team’s current home winless streak to five (0-4-1-0) in front of a sellout crowd of 7215.

Wheeling broke through first 12:41 into the opening frame of play. After an extended sequence of offensive zone puck possession, Riley Brace slipped a pass to defenseman Clark Seymour, who settled the puck just inside the offensive blue line. Seymour wasted little time unloading a slap-shot that blew by goaltender Alex Vazzano on the glove side for Seymour’s first of the night and fifth of the year.

Undaunted the Royals bounced back to tie the game at one 16:31 into the first. Brandon Alderson, Cam Reid, and Yannick Tifu connected with a tic-tac-toe sequence of cross-ice passes that ended with Tifu stuffing it home from the top of the crease for his thirteenth on the season.

The Royals unleashed the hounds in the second and had any number of Grade-A chances to break through for a lead; but Wheeling’s goaltender Franky Palazzese and his teammates did not break. Instead, it was the Nailers who capitalized late in the period while the two teams were playing four aside. In fact, that marked the first time in the period in which Wheeling had the upper hand, as they used the open ice to their advantage. After missing on a couple of point blank looks—and hitting the pipe on one—Wheeling re-grouped and charged on an odd-man rush led by Cody Wydo, who put one on a tee for defenseman Mathew Maione, who joined on the weak side for an easy slam dunk and his eighth of the year.

Wheeling stretched the lead to two (at 3-1) 1:02 into the third with only their second power play goal of the season against the Royals in twenty-five chances  with the man advantage over eight games. This one came on another perimeter shot by Seymour who threw a hot snapper from just inside the blue line that buzzed by Vazzano high to the glove side for Seymour’s second of the game and sixth of the year.

The Nailers pushed the lead to 4-1 8:34 into the final frame when an aggressive fore-check by Wheeling devolved into a wild scramble in the defensive zone for the Royals, which ended when Adam Krause took the puck from behind Reading’s net and walked out on right side of the cage and slipped a wrap-around attempt into the blue paint that deflected off the right leg of Vazzano, who was sprawled out along the goal line, and ricocheted into the net.

Reading began a valiant, albeit a somewhat late, effort to climb back in with a power play goal with 5:27 to play. Nikita Kashirsky turned on the jets in the right circle, busting by everyone and powering his way to the top of crease, where goaltender Franky Palazzese made a brilliant save. However, as Palazzese attempted to cover the loose puck, Cam Reid dug it free, allowing Joey Sides to step up and swipe the puck home for his ninth of the year.

The Royals continued the push down the stretch and actually pulled within one with the team’s second pulled-goaltender, sixth attacker goal in two nights when Brandon Alderson converted an offensive zone face-off play into an easy slam dunk at the left side of the net. But that goal, which cut the lead to 4-3, came with just 1.7 seconds left, which left far too little time for the team to attempt to complete the come-back effort.

The Royals will complete their three-game home stand tomorrow afternoon (March 6 @ 4 p.m.) when they play host to the Norfolk Admirals. Tomorrow is also Battle of the Badges Night; Pre-Game: Reading Police Department v Reading Fire Department Hockey Game (12:30 pm) (One Ticket Gains Admission to Battle of the Badges and Royals’ Games);Player Trading Card Set giveaway (first 1000); ‘Cops and Robbers’ Intermission Game; $1.00 Hot DogsPost-Game Autograph Session with the Entire Team. Tomorrow’s afternoon 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 3:30 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 03-05