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Royals Come from Behind for Critical Win Over Norfolk, 3-2

Saturday, April 2nd
Royals Come from Behind for Critical Win Over Norfolk, 3-2

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Teams     Per: 1          2          3

NOR:              0         2          0=2

REA:              1         1          1=3


NOR: 29-34-4-1 = 63 (13th Eastern Conference)

REA: 35-24-6-4 = 80 (t-5th Eastern Conference)


NOR: Riopel (Loss) 12-15-1-0 (39/42)

REA: Skoff (Win) 1-0-0-0 (18/20)

Power Play:

NOR: 0-2

REA: 0-4

Reading, PA – The Reading Royals (­­­­­­­­­Win, 35-24-6-4 = 80) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, defeated the Norfolk Admirals (Loss, 29-34-4-1 = 63) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League, 3-2, at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania.

In the first of a two-game weekend set between the Royals and Admirals, Reading struck first but had to battle back from a deficit against an energized and aggressive Admiral attack to take the critical two points in the Royals’ continuing effort to earn a playoff spot in the ECHL’s Eastern Conference. After tying things with a late second period goal from Nikita Kashirsky, Reading got a late third period tie-breaking game winner from Yannick Tifu to stretch the team’s current unbeaten streak to four (3-0-1-0) and push the Royals’ overall record to a season-best eleven games over .500. Playing in his first pro game, Reading goaltender Matt Skoff, who recently completed his senior season at Penn State University, made eighteen saves to claim the win.

Despite a heavy early push from Norfolk, the Royals thought they took a 1-0 lead 5:13 into the first period on the Admirals first power play chance of the night, when Kevin Goumas stole the puck deep in Norfolk’s zone, carried around and behind the Admirals’ net, and tried to jam the puck in at the right pipe. Although it appeared that the puck may have crossed over the goal line, goaltender Nic Riopel deftly kicked the puck back out of the danger zone with his left skate and the officials ruled it a ‘no-goal’.

Undaunted just over two minutes later, the Royals struck pay-dirt on an equally strange play when defenseman Kevin Young stepped up for a hard hit at the offensive blue line. As Young became entangled with one of the Admirals—and a scuffle ensued—the puck popped free in the neutral zone. All eyes seemed to focus towards the scrum at the blue line while Tifu picked up the puck and took off into the Admirals’ zone where he ripped a hot shot low blocker for his seventeenth of the year 7:32 into the first period.

Just as undaunted, the fire-breathing Admirals kept coming hard at the Royals and tied the game at one 3:45 into the second period when Greg Chase carried the puck around and behind Reading’s cage and slipped a pass back up into the low slot where Danick Gauthier came flying right to left, found a soft-seam and swiped a quick, one-time rocket up and over Skoff for his fourteenth of the year.

Norfolk took a 2-1 lead 11:35 into the second period when Robbie Czarnik, who was traded by Reading to Norfolk in early March, found a soft spot of his own at the low left side of the slot. Maxime Legault, who gained possession in the left corner, slipped the puck to Czarnik, who in rather spectacular fashion, went to the classic between-the-legs bar-down snapper to give the Admirals the one-goal advantage.

Reading answered with a brilliant bar-down shot of their own which came off the rush, when a speeding Joe Rehkamp chipped a lead-out saucer from the interior portion of the right circle towards a seam in the low right slot, where Nikita Kashirsky skated onto the puck and ripped a short-side back-hand rocket over the left shoulder of Riopel for his thirteenth of the year 15:47 into the second period.

The third period was loaded with punch and counter-punch—with a fair amount of bend but not much break, at least until the Royals broke through with a late game tie-breaking game winner. Kashirsky slid the puck from the mid slot to Tifu who was below the goal line and behind and to the left of the Admirals’ net. Tifu quickly sprinted to the right side of the cage, and before Riopel could get across to protect that side, Tifu turned and wheeled the puck into the net for his second of the night and eighteenth of the season—and eighty-third career goal as a Royal in his 242nd game with the team—as well as (perhaps most importantly) what proved to be his second late third-period tie-breaking GWG of the year, as Skoff and the Royals were able to hold off a late game push from the Admirals.

The Royals and Admirals go at it for one last time tomorrow (Sunday, April 3 @ 4:00 pm) at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania. The Royals will give away a team picture courtesy of Rieck’s Printing tomorrow—and fans who bring their own skates can join the players for a post-game skate at the Arena.  Sunday’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 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 or through bctv.org.

For more information about the Royals, call 610-898-7825 or log onto www.royalshockey.com.

End 16 04-02