Teams Per: 1 2 3
GRN: 1 3 2=6
REA: 0 3 0=3
GRN: 31-20-4-1=67 (2, South Division)
REA: 31-20-1-2=65 (4, North Division)
GRN: Skapski (win, 15-10-0-0) (49/52)
REA: Ouellette (Loss) (12-10-0-1) (21/27)
Reading, PA – The Reading Royals (loss, 31-20-1-2=65) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, were defeated by the Greenville Swamp Rabbits (win, 31-20-4-1=67), 6-3, at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania.
In the fourth final game of the regular season between the Royals and Swamp Rabbits, Greenville notched the team’s fourth win over the Royals—this one on the strength of three power play goals, two of which came in a span of thirty-three seconds late in the second period and which turned a 3-2 lead for Reading into a 4-3 lead for the Swamp Rabbits. But, ultimately, the difference in this one was the play of goaltender Mackenzie Skapski, who rejected 49 Reading shots—twenty-three of which came in a lopsided first period.
The loss stretched the Royals current losing streak to three and dropped the team’s record back to eleven games over .500 through the three-quarter mark of the regular season—but five under .500 against teams from the South Division (4-9-0-0).
Despite the overwhelming attack by Reading in the first period, Greenville scored the only goal of the opening frame—3:28 into the game on the Royals’ first power play chance of the game. A misplayed puck at the offensive blue-line by a Reading defender resulted in a two-on-one rush for the Swamp Rabbits’ penalty killers. Goaltender Martin Ouellette made a brilliant save on the original bid by Michael Joly, but Joly was able to coral the rebound of his shot and slip it back into the low slot for the waiting Allan MacPherson who had a wide open look for his third of the year. It was also the third short-handed goal given up by Reading this season—all three of which have been scored by the Swamp Rabbits.
The Royals finally solved Skapski 2:19 into the second after a mad scramble in front of the Greenville net, which was kicked off by a shot by Derik Johnson from the high slot. Olivier Labelle corralled the rebound at the top of the crease and, just as he was dropped to the ice, wrapped the puck around the prone body of Skapski and into the net for his eighteenth of the year.
In relative short-order, however, the Swamp Rabbits bounced back to take a 2-1 lead after a stone-cold turnover the defensive zone resulted in a steal by Andrew Dommett, who slid the puck to the mid-slot where Trevor Gerling, who was cutting left-to-right through the low slot, drew Ouellette out of position and fired back against the grain into the low left corner of the net for his twelfth of the year at the 4:54 mark of the second.
Reading then struck for a pair separated by only 1:18 to take the team’s only lead of the game at 3-2. The first came off the rush 8:28 into the second frame, when Robbie Czarnik carried deep down the left wing side and fed the puck back up to the slot, where the trailer—Mike Marcou—settled and fired a snap shot five-hole on Skapski for his second of the season.
Reading then capitalized on the team’s third power play chance of the night, when Florian Iberer ripped a perfectly placed stretch pass from deep into the defensive zone to the offensive blue-line where Mike Pereira took the puck on the fly, slicing through a couple of Greenville defenders, charging in on Skapski and ripping one into the upper right corner for his thirteenth of the year.
From there things devolved for the Royals. It started with back-to-back power play chances for the Swamp Rabbits mid-way into the second period. Reading killed off the first of those chances, and the team was proceeding towards killing the second until Spiro Goulakos ripped one-time rocket from the high slot that buzzed by Oullette with just seven seconds left in the PP at the 15:55 mark of the second.
The Royals responded with considerable anger and an unsportsmanlike conduct minor was assessed on the goal, resulting in another power play chance for the Swamp Rabbits—and they didn’t waste that one either, re-taking the lead at 4-3 win another one-time bullet—this one by Brandon Alderson off the top of the left circle thirty-three seconds into the power play chance.
Relatively early in the third, Greenville put a staggering dagger in the Royals’ collective hart when Ahnti Oksanen drilled a one-timer from right along the goal line deep in the right corner that somehow snuck through on the short-side on Ouellette to make it 5-3 2:31 into the third.
The Swamp Rabbits added a third power play goal—another one by Alderson out of the left circle—with just 2:08 left in regulation; but by that time this one was well out of the Royals’ grasp, as the team’s record dropped to 16-11-0-0 through twenty-seven games on home ice.
NEXT UP FOR THE ROYALS
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2017
@ Elmira Jackals
First Arena – Elmira, NY (7:05 pm)
**Continuation of Suspended Game from February 17**
Royals Lead 2-0 with 6:07 Remaining in the First Period
AUDIO: iHeartRadio – Rumba 1340 in Reading
Deibler Dental In Arena Broadcast: 99.3 fm Inside Santander Arena
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)
End 17 02-26