Teams Per: 1 2 3
FTW: 0 0 1=1
REA: 1 3 2=6
FTW: 24-14-4-0=52 (2, Central Division)
REA: 24-14-1-2=51 (2, North Division)
FTW: Bartus (Loss) (12-5-1-0) (25/29) (37:14)
Musico (ND) (5/6) (21:19) ENG
REA: Ouellette (Win) (8-5-0-1) (25/26)
Reading, PA – The Reading Royals (win, 24-14-1-2=51) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, defeated the Fort Wayne Komets (loss, 24-14-4-0=52), 6-1, at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania.
In the only matchup of the regular season between the Royals and Komets, Reading kept the high-flying offense of Fort Wayne at bay, and then progressively pulled away with a three goal second period during which the Royals generated nineteen shots. The Komets did break up the shutout bid of goaltender Martin Ouellette in the latter stages of the third period, but Reading closed things out with an empty netter and a goal by Justin Crandall—who also scored the game’s first goal—with 10.5 seconds left in regulation to put an exclamation point on things in front of a big Saturday night crowd.
The win pushed Reading’s record to a season-best ten games over .500 for the first time this year and ran the Royals record to 7-1-0-1 against teams from the Western Conference this year.
After a somewhat sluggish start for both sides, Reading, who outshot Fort Wayne 10-3 in the first period, scored 3 seconds after the conclusion of a power play sequence which included 58 seconds of five-on-three late in the period. Defenseman Florian Iberer settled off the left half-wall and slipped a perfect seeing-eye pass through several players across the top of the crease and directly to Crandall, who slipped down the back-door for an easy re-direct with just 2:48 remaining in the opening frame.
Reading turned up the heat in the second period and—although the team was unable to capitalize on another long sequence of five on three power play early in the period—got what proved to be the game winner 10:02 into the middle frame when Chris McCarthy freed Matt Willows into the offensive zone. Willows got behind the Komet defense and carried to the mid-slot where he ripped a bullet behind goaltender Garrett Bartus for his eleventh of the year—and seventh as a Royal in his nineteenth game with the team. With this goal, Willows became the seventeenth different skater to register a game winning goal this season.
The Royals then capitalized during a sequence of four-on-four during which the team scored a pair of goals separated by only fourteen seconds. The first came after another point blank look for Willows was stopped by Bartus, but the rebound fell loose between his legs, where a crashing Steven Swavely poked it in for his tenth of the year at the 17:00 minute mark.
Fourteen seconds after that, Reading stretched the lead to 4-0 after winning the face-off to restart play. Defenseman Todd Perry fired a pass from the Royals’ defensive zone to a waiting Steven Swavely at the offensive blue line. Swavely was able to tap off a pass to a breaking Maxim Lamarche who charged down the left wing side, got behind the Komet defense and cut left to right across the top of the crease, where he stuffed the puck in for his first of the year. That goal chased Bartus in favor of back-up goaltender P.J. Musico, who played the remainder of the game.
Fort Wayne broke up the shutout bid of goaltender Martin Ouellette with just 6:35 left in regulation when Dan Miilan carried down the right wing side and as he was cutting below the goal line threw a back-hand towards the net. Ouellette punched that puck out with his stick, but it went directly to Mason Baptista in the low right slot. Baptista quickly snapped the puck across the body of Ouellette for his eleventh of the year.
Reading tacked on two more as time ticked down on this one. The first came when the Komets pulled their goaltender in favor of a sixth attacker with just over 4 minutes left. Reading kept the Fort Wayne attack at bay and was ultimately able to force the puck down into the Komet end of the ice, where Ryan Penny won a puck battle on the end wall and was able to jam the puck into the unguarded net for his thirteenth of the year.
Then, with time winding down, Crandall notched his second of the game with just 10.5 seconds left when a Komet defender mishandled a puck in front of the Fort Wayne net, and Crandall took a wild swipe at the loose puck sending it up and over Musico for his fifteenth of the year—and his team-leading ninth multi-point performance of the season (2g-0a).
NEXT UP FOR THE ROYALS
SUNDAY, JANUARY 29, 2017
v MANCHESTER MONARCHS
Santander Arena – Reading, PA (5:00 pm)
Celebrate Slapshot’s Sixteen Birthday with Mascot Mania
First 1000 Kids (14 & Younger) Get First in Series of “Mini-Locker Room” Giveawawys
Courtesy of BARTA
Post-Game Skate with the Players (Bring Your Own Skates)
Courtesy of Reading Health System
AUDIO: iHeartRadio – Rumba 1340 in Reading
TELEVISION: Royals’ Road Games are televised locally in Berks County, Pennsylvania
on BCTV, which Can Found at Comcast Reading Cable Channel 15,
Service Electric Cable Channel 19, Comcast Southern Berks Channel 965
Courtesy of Boscov’s Travel and Apple Vacations
STREAMING VIDEO: ECHL.TV powered by NeuLion (Pay-Per-View)
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