Teams Per: 1 2 3
REA: 1 1 1=3
TOL: 0 0 2=2
REA: 26-14-1-2 = 55 (2, North Division)
TOL: 32-9-1-1= 66 (1, Central Division)
REA: Ouellette (Win, 10-5-0-1) (34/36)
TOL: Paterson (Loss, 22-7-1-1) (25/28)
REA: 0 – 3
TOL: 0 – 5
Toledo, OH – The Reading Royals (win, 26-14-1-2 = 55) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, defeated the Toledo Walleye (loss, 32-9-1-1 = 66), 3-2, at Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio.
In the first game played by Reading at Huntington Center since defeating the Walleye in Toledo in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on April 26, 2016, the Royals struck on a first period short-handed goal, built a 3-0 lead and then held off a heavy third-period charge by the Walleye to push Reading’s win streak to four straight—and unbeaten streak to five (4-0-0-1). In addition to scoring a short-handed goal, Reading’s penalty killers were able to hold Toledo’s vaunted power play, which was scoring at over a 30% ratio on home ice, off the board in five chances with the man advantage.
The Royals victory, which snapped a five game home winning streak for the Walleye, marked only the third time this year that the opposition has won in regulation at Huntington Center. The win, which ran the Royals’ record to 8-1-0-1 against teams from the Western Conference, also pushed Reading’s record to a season best twelve games over .500.
Reading struck on a late period short-handed goal to start the scoring. Jesper Pettersson was assessed with a double minor for high sticking—on a call made by a linesman—at the 16:56 mark of the first. With just 1:06 left in the period, Robbie Czarnik flew down the left wing side into the offensive zone and cut through the left circle to the top of the crease, where he snapped a high shot. Goaltender Jake Paterson made a great upper body save but the rebound fluttered to the right side of the crease where Todd Perry and Matt Wilkins each took a swat at the loose puck and punched it home. The goal was credited to Wilkins—his ninth of the year and first short-handed goal as a pro. It was the eighth SHG of the year for Reading.
The Royals took a 2-0 lead 14:48 into the second when Olivier Labelle threaded a pass from below the goal line into the left circle where Chris McCarthy snapped a rising bullet across the body of Paterson for his team-leading eighteenth of the year.
Reading got what proved to be the game winner after a controversial non-call in the third. Toledo’s A.J. Jenks appeared to take a high stick to the face from a Reading defender as Jenks cut through the right circle in the Royals’ end of the ice. With Jenks doubled-over and out of the play, Reading took off on a two-on-one with Ryan Penny dishing off the left wing side to Czarnik who was cutting down the middle. Czarnik carried to just below the hash marks where he drilled rocket stick side on Paterson for his fifteenth of the year 4:21 into the final frame.
Toledo made it a nail biter with back-to-back goals separated by only 1:48 in the middle of the third. Alden Hirschfeld started the spree with a snapper out of the left circle that appeared to deflect off the stick of a Reading defender and buzz over the catching glove of goaltender Martin Ouellette 9:20 into the period. And then defenseman Jordan Hill snuck up deep on the left side to finish a perfect pass-off-pad on a snap shot from the wide right point by Simon Denis with 8:52 remaining for Hill’s first of the year.
Reading regrouped and held the Walleye at bay from that point forward, as Ouellette and the Royals’ defense continued their stellar play—holding the opposition to two goals (or less) for the eighth time in the last nine played.
NEXT UP FOR THE ROYALS
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2017
@ Toledo Walleye
Huntington Center – Toledo, OH (7:15 pm)
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
STREAMING VIDEO: ECHL.TV powered by NeuLion (Pay-Per-View)
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