Teams Per: 1 2 3
MCH: 1 2 0=3
REA: 0 3 1=4
MCH: 37-21-4-5 = 83 (3rd Place Eastern Conference)
REA: 33-24-5-4 = 75 (7th Place Eastern Conference)
MCH: Stevens (LOSS) 15-7-2-0 (30/34)
REA: Morrison (WIN) 7-6-2-3 (35/38)
Reading, PA – The Reading Royals (Win, 33-24-5-4 = 75) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, defeated the Manchester Monarchs (Loss, 37-21-4-5 = 83) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League, 4-3, at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania.
In the Royals’ tenth and final regular season meeting with the Monarchs, the team used the “God Bless America” karma created by Flyers’ anthem singer Lauren Hart to claim an historic milestone and snap a difficult streak--all in one felled swoop. Despite falling behind by two goals—twice—the Royals were able to muster a dramatic come-from-behind win in a critical late season match-up with the Monarchs to snap a Friday night winless streak at Santander Arena (0-6-1-0) and claim the organization’s historic three-hundredth win on home ice in this fifteenth anniversary season.
The opening half of the first period was evenly contested with each team pushing for the opening score of the game. It was a Manchester flurry in front of the Reading net that served as the launching pad for the first goal of the game 11:31 into play. The multi-shot action was started with point-blank look from defenseman Michael Boivin, which was rejected by the upper body of goaltender Adam Morrison. However, the rebound on that bid fell to the low slot, where Troy Power gained possession and slid the puck between the legs of Morrison and through the blue paint, where it struck the left pipe and ricocheted directly to Steven Hodges who buried the slam dunk for his second of the year.
Reading rolled out of the first intermission with a faster pace putting eight shots on net in the early stages, but it was the Monarchs who stretched their lead to two. After a multi-player puck scrum behind Reading’s net, the Royals freed the puck towards right wing wall, where Hodges gained possession and carried to an open spot the mid-slot and uncorked a hard shot from the top of left circle that buzzed through heavy traffic and by Adam Morrison at the 4:30 mark of the second period to give the Monarchs their first of two-goal advantage 4:30 into the second.
However, 1:31 later, Reading counter-punched when defenseman Kevin Young gained possession in the neutral zone and threaded a perfect cross-ice entry pass to Kevin Goumas, who carried deep into the left circle before unleashing a laser that ripped across the body of goaltender Colin Stevens and caught the high right corner of the net for Goumas’ seventh goal of the year—and his first ever at Santander Arena.
Manchester regained the two-goal advantage 10:24 into the second when Boivin arced a high clearing chip from the defensive zone that landed at the offensive blue line. Apparently the only player who had a clear bead on the puck was the Monarchs’ forward Zac Larraza, who skated onto the spinning puck and was off to the races. Larraza flew in all alone on Morrison and went forehand-backhand for his seventeenth of the year.
Seven seconds later, Larraza picked up a roughing minor that opened the door for the Royals comeback push. On the ensuing power play, Reading had strong offensive zone puck possession and a couple of decent looks; but the power play goal came on a somewhat fluky play that evolved after Yannick Tifu gained possession on the goal line to the right of the Monarchs’ net. Tifu made a power move along the goal line, seeking to jam the puck in; but Stevens came across to reject that bid. However, the puck fluttered off his body and into the air, where it appeared to strike the cross-bar and then the glove of a Monarch defender, causing the puck to fall behind Stevens and into the net for Tifu’s fifteenth of the year.
Reading tied the game at three 45 seconds later off a high-speed rush, which was ignited by a crisp pass up the ice from Scott Tanski springing Joey Sides into the offensive zone on the right wing side. Sides, in turn, landed a perfect cross-ice saucer to the left circle, where Joe Rehkamp let the puck slide into his wheel-house for a hot one-time rocket that whistled by Stevens for his fourth of the year.
In the third, it was anybody’s game, and Reading used the team’s fourth power play chance of the night to take the advantage. All five participants in the power play unit executed a series of sharp passes before Mike Pelech settled at the top of the right circle and threaded a perfect pass to Yannick Tifu, who was planted below the goal line on the right wing side. Tifu in turn placed a pin-point back-door feed to the left circle where defenseman Kevin Young filled the gap for a one-knee-on-the-ice one-timer that beat Stevens on the short-side for what proved to be the third period tie-breaking game winner.
From that point forward, it was simply (or not so simply) a matter of holding the come-back kids—the Monarchs—off the board, which the Royals were able to do to log the team’s eleventh come-back win of the year, four of which were against Manchester.
The Royals return to action on Tuesday (March 29 @ 7 p.m.) to host Elmira for the final meeting between the two squads this season. Tuesday evening’s contest at Santander Arena, in Reading, Pa, is a make-up game from the previously snowed out, January 24, scheduled game. If you hold a ticket for the January game, it will be valid for this coming Tuesday’s game. The 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.
End 16 03-25