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Royals Claim Playoff Spot with 5-3 Win in Wheeling

Sunday, April 2nd
Royals Claim Playoff Spot with 5-3 Win in Wheeling

Teams     Per: 1          2          3

REA:              2          1          2=5

WHL:             1          2          0=3


REA: 38-25-4-2=82 (4, North Division)

WHL: 33-28-8-0=74 (5, North Division)


REA: Dekanich (Win) (18-12-3-1) (32/35)

WHL: Maguire (Loss) (13-15-4-0) (24/28) (1 eng)

Power Play:

REA: 2-3

WHL: 1-6

Wheeling, WV – The Reading Royals (­­­­­­­­­win, 38-25-4-2=82) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, defeated the Wheeling Nailers (loss, 33-28-8-0=74), 5-3, at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling, West Virginia.

In the final matchup of the season between the Royals and Nailers, Reading scored a third-period tie-breaking power play game winner to snag the final available playoff spot in the North Division. The Royals struck on an early power play chance and built an early 2-0 lead, but the Nailers bounced back, notching back-to-back goals in early in the second to take a 3-2 lead. However, the Royals clawed their way back, tying the game on a seeing-eye wrister in the second by defenseman Todd Perry and then regaining the lead—and ultimately claiming the win—on the second power play goal of the game for Olivier Labelle.

The win secured the twelfth trip to the post-season in the sixteen year history of the Royals—and the eighth consecutively under Head Coach Larry Courville, who turned forty-two years of age today.

Reading struck first 4:11 into the first period on the team’s first power play chance of the game when Matt Willows slipped the puck to a waiting Labelle, who was planted on the goal line at the right side of the net. Labelle slid the puck under and through goaltender Sean Maguire for his team-leading twenty-fourth of the year.

2:17 later, Reading took a 2-0 lead when Willows gained possession at the right side of the Nailer net and skated around Maguire who came out to meet him. Willows ended up below the goal-line with the puck, but slid it back up into the crease, where Steven Swavely stepped in and swiped it home for his sixteenth of the year.

Wheeling cut the lead in half with 2:11 remaining in the first period on their first power play chance of the night, when Gage Quinney sought to stuff the puck in at the right side of the net. Goaltender Mark Dekanich rejected that bid, but the rebound went sliding to the low left circle where Daniel Leavens stepped up and fired it home for his fourth of the year.

The Nailers tied things at two forty-one seconds into the second period after back-to-back turnovers in the defensive zone resulted in a point blank look for Christian Hilbrich, who drilled a hot bullet high blocker for his fifteenth of the year.

1:12 after that, Wheeling took their only lead of the game at 3-2 on a punch-back rebound goal by Garrett Meurs, who sniped one from in tight after Dekanich rejected blast by Nick Sorkin out of the right circle.

Reading re-tied the game at three 11:34 into the second when Todd Perry hit pay-dirt with a seeing-eye snap shot from the left point that appeared to strike Maguire in the right shoulder and then roll up and over his shoulder and down his back and into the net for Perry’s third of the season.

The Royals got what proved to be the third period tie-breaking game winner 6:26 into the final frame on the team’s second power play chance of the night. Jesper Pettersson uncorked a rocket from the high slot that was deflected by Labelle, who was planted out front, for Labelle’s second PPG of the night, twenty-fifth of the year, and 126th goal as a Royal in his 291st game with the team.

The Royals protected the lead from there—thanks in no small part to several big stops from Dekanich—and tacked on an empty netter with 11.1 seconds left by Matt Willows to run the team’s record to 5-2-0-0 against the Nailers—and 3-1-0-0 at WesBanco Arena, where the Royals’ season ended last year in overtime of Game Seven of the 2016 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.


WEDNESDAY, April 5, 2017

v Norfolk Admirals

Santander Arena – Reading, PA (7:00 pm)


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)

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