Teams Per: 1 2 3
KAL: 2 1 0=3
REA: 0 0 2=2
KAL: 31-28-4-1 = 67 (t-10th Place Eastern Conference)
REA: 32-24-5-4 = 73 (7th Place Eastern Conference)
KAL: Witt (WIN) 2-7-0-0 (30/32)
REA: Morrison (LOSS) 6-6-2-3 (23/26)
Reading, PA – The Reading Royals (Loss, 32-24-5-4 = 73) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, were defeated by the Kalamazoo Wings (Win, 31-28-4-1 = 67) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets of the National Hockey League, 3-2, at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania.
In the Royals’ only matchup of the regular season against Kalamazoo, the K-Wings built a three goal lead and held Reading off down the stretch to snap the Royals’ unbeaten streak at six. Reading made a game of it on the strength of pair of third period goals—including one that was hotly contested—but the Royals failed to make anything out of thirteen minutes of power play time, including fifty-four seconds of five-on-three and a full five minutes of PP in the waning moments of the game. Reading goaltender Adam Morrison made twenty-three saves, but had his personal seven game unbeaten streak snapped in the regulation loss.
Despite getting pushed decidedly back on the team’s collective heels in the early going, Reading re-grouped in the latter stages of first period and generated a flurry of offensive opportunity with about five minutes remaining in the opening frame. Seeking to defuse the pressure, the K-Wings chipped the puck from the defensive zone, and as the puck came fluttering back to earth in the neutral zone, Reading’s Jesper Pettersson attempted to play the puck with his glove. But, unfortunately, the puck slid through his glove and fell behind him, where Kalamazoo forward Curtis Valk skated onto the loose puck and was off on a fifty-foot breakaway. Valk didn’t waste the gift, burying his shot high to the stick side for his sixteenth of the year 16:11 into the first period.
Twenty-four seconds later, the K-Wings stretched the lead to 2-0, when Lane Scheidl carried across the offensive blue line and dropped the puck to a trailing Justin Taylor, who stepped into a hot low rocket that beat Morrison to the glove side for his nineteenth of the year.
For the most part, the Royals got the better of the first half of the second period, but weren’t able to break through on rookie goaltender Clay Witt, who made several quality stops to keep Reading at bay. Then, as has been the case for the Royals far too many times this year, Kalamazoo capitalized on one of the few chances they had in the second, when defenseman Evan McEneny carried the puck around and behind the Royals net and slipped it from below the goal line on the right side to the top of the crease, where Scheidl beat his man for an against the grain re-direct on Morrison and his twelfth of the year.
Despite being thwarted on two back-to-back five-on-three power plays (twenty-eight and twenty-six seconds in length) late in the second and early in the third, the Royals continued to press into the third period and finally solved Witt 6:09 into the final frame when Yannick Tifu carried up the right wing wall, cut to the middle of the ice, beating his man to the top of the right circle and drilling a hot snapper that blew by everyone for his fourteenth of the year.
Reading cut the lead to one (3-2) in what prove to be forty-nine seconds later on a hotly disputed and very strange goal. The Royals’ Brandon Alderson carried above the goal line and slipped a back hand towards the Kalamazoo net from a sharp angle. Reading’s forwards celebrated as if the puck went in the net, and the goal light went on. But the referee gave a ‘no-goal’ signal and play continued. Over the next thirty-five seconds, the Royals’ Kevin Goumas had two separate breakaways, one of which clanked off the right pipe—and the second of which was thwarted by Witt. Finally, when the puck was frozen, the officials underwent a protracted review of the original shot by Alderson, which was ultimately determined to be a good goal.
Now working on just a one-goal deficit, Reading turned up the heat, but would not break through again—and that was despite getting a full five minute major power play with just 5:47 remaining in the game. But as things would happen, the Royals did not use the man advantage —which at one point was a six-on-four when Reading pulled the goaltender—to much of an advantage, as the Kalamazoo penalty killers kept Reading’s PP at bay and protected the one goal advantage all the way to the final buzzer.
The Royals return to the ice Friday evening (March 25 @ 7 p.m.) and play host to the Manchester Monarchs at Santander Arena, in Reading, Pa. Friday is Flyers Affiliation Night; Flyers-Royals Themed Poster giveaway (first 2000); Appearance by Flyer Legend Bernie Parent; National Anthem Performed by Flyers Legend Vocalist Lauren Hart; Royals wear Flyers-Themed Specialty Jerseys and Superhero Night; Special Appearances by Superhero Characters and Superhero-Themed Intermission Activities. Friday evening, stop by DIFD Fundraiser at the Tanski Talks table to learn more and support the Royals efforts in opening up the conversation about Mental Wellness. 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 03-23