Teams Per: 1 2 3
ELM: 1 1 0 =2
REA: 3 1 2 =6
ELM: Iles (Loss) (32/38) (0-1-0-0)
REA: Dekanich (Win) (18/20) (1-0-0-0)
Reading, PA – The Reading Royals (win, 1-0-0-0=2) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, defeated the Elmira Jackals (loss, 0-1-0-0), 6-2, at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania, in the season opener for both teams.
The Royals scored on the team’s first power play chance of the night and built a 3-0 lead before Elmira counter-punched with a pair of power play goals of their own. Reading regained the team’s footing with a momentum shifting goal with just 9.1 seconds left in the second period, and then pulled away in the third with a pair to run the team’s record to 3-1-0 in the four games over the last sixteen seasons in which Reading has started the season on home ice.
Olivier Labelle started the scoring with a hot blast from the mid-slot on the team’s first power play of the night 6:30 into the opening frame. 1:22 later, the Royals pushed the lead to 2-0 when hometown product Steven Swavely slipped a back-hand through from the low slot in what is believed to be the first goal ever scored by a native of Berks County, Pennsylvania, for the Royals. In relative short order, Reading stretched the lead to 3-0 when veteran Kris Newbury buried a snap shot from the mid-slot on a beautiful pass from below the goal line by Chris McCarthy for Newbury’s first of the season in his first game with the team 10:19 into the first.
Elmira bounced back with a pair of power play goals—both of which came on rebound punch-backs—the first at 12:54 of the opening frame when Royals’ goaltender Mark Dekanich rejected a bid from Cole Martin at the top of the right circle only to kick the puck directly to an unguarded Charlie Mosey in the left circle who quickly snapped it home; and the second coming 7:18 into the second period, when it Daultan Leveille stole a puck in the high slot and slipped one by Dekanich on the stick side. Leveille’s bid, however, kicked off the left pipe and ricocheted directly to Mike Radja low on the right wing side. Radja didn’t miss on his rebound swipe to make it a 3-2 game.
But the from that point forward, it was pretty much all Reading, as the Royals pounded the pressure on Elmira goaltender Andy Isles who had to be spectacular at times, but couldn’t stop a bid from Chris McCarthy with just 9-1 seconds left in the second. Ryan Penny, who would end up with three points on the night and played to a plus-4, chipped a puck from the defensive zone with time ticking down on the second. McCarthy tracked it down in the offensive end, fed Mike Pelech who had trailed him into Elmira’s Zone and then Pelech returned to the puck to McCarthy who was able to bury into an essentially empty net with Isles fully committed to the wrong side of the cage.
In the third, the Royals pulled away with another power play snapper by Labelle 9:20 into the third, which proved to be his team leading 40th power play goal in 229 career games as a Royal. Penny tacked on a late game back-hand but by that point it had become pretty much academic as Reading took the opening salvo in the ten game season series with the Jackals.
The Royals return to action on Thursday (October 20), when the team travels to WesBanco Arena in Wheeling, West Virginia, to take on the Wheeling Nailers (@ 7:05 pm). Please note that there will be no television coverage of Thursday’s game due to the annual Octoberfest Fundraiser on BCTV; fans are encouraged to participate in the fundraising auction and still catch all of the action beginning at 6:35 pm with the pre-game warm-up show on iHeartRadio Rumba 1340 in Reading.
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