Reading, PA - The Reading Royals (28-20-3-0) fell, 6-4, to the Brampton Beast (20-22-5-3) Saturday night at Santander Arena. Matt Willows scored to earn points in his 12th straight game. Matt Wilkins added an assist to record a career high seven-game point streak. Chris McCarthy had a part in the tying goal, earning a point in his past six games. Four Royals had multi-point games and Nolan Zajac set a career high with two goals.
The Royals led twice, taking a 2-0 edge before the Beast scored three straight. Reading tallied the next two and held a 4-3 margin in the third. Next, Brampton ripped off three straight goals, including the game-winning strike from Cody Donaghey in the final five minutes.
The Royals scored first for the twelfth straight game on a shorthanded give-and-go play by Steven Swavely and Tyler Brown. Swavely set Brown left post for the Royals fourth short-handed goal of the season. The last time the Royals scored short-handed was during a 2-1 victory on January 3 against Worcester.
Zajac beat Zachary Fucale (win, 26 saves) five-hole with 48 seconds left in the first period to take the 2-0 advantage. Swavely picked up his second assist of the contest. Zajac has scored in two straight games.
Brampton’s Jordan Henry answered less than 20 seconds into the second period beating Mark Dekanich (loss, 26 saves) with a wrist shot on an unassisted play to cut the lead in half.
Four minutes later, Stefan Fournier found the back of the net on an unassisted goal to tie the game at 2.
Brampton took the 3-2 lead on a short-handed goal by Reggie Traccitto off a pass from Brandon MacLean despite being down 2-0 after the first.
Willows answered on the power play 25 seconds later to tie the game at 3.
The Royals took the 4-3 lead 8:18 into the third period while Zajac added his second of the night. McCarthy and Wilkins each earned a point.
The Beast tied the game at four 1:08 later with Brandon Marino striking a one-timer from the left circle off a pass from former Royal David Vallorani. Alex Foster had the second assist.
Brampton continued to press, scoring with 4:08 to go in regulation time. Donaghey beat Dekanich on a slapshot with assists from Ian Harris and Jackson Leef.
Dekanich headed to the bench, adding an extra attacker for the Royals in the remaining 1:45. Brampton capitalized on the empty net to add the insurance goal. Fournier made the game 6-4 with 1:24 remaining in the final frame.