Battle of the Badges under card: Allentown Police and Fire comes back for 3-2 win
Reading, PA – Branden Komm has consecutive shutouts to start his Royals career, making 25 saves in front of an overwhelming Reading Royals effort vs. the Wheeling Nailers, 6-0, Sunday at Santander Arena. A 26-year-old from Williamsville, NY, Komm has made his first 60 saves as a Royal since joining the team from Manchester Tuesday. The Bentley College graduate denied 14 shots in the third.
Alex Krushelnyski scored a pair of goals on a line with Michael Huntebrinker (3a) and Brian Morgan (1g). The trio of Matt Wilkins (1a), Chris McCarthy (1a) and Matt Willows (1g, 1a) factored in on a pair of goals to continue career-long point streaks. McCarthy has points in seven straight, Wilkins has at least a point in eight consecutive and Willows is the league’s active leader with a 13-game point streak (8g, 13a). Willows is four away from the ECHL’s longest point streak this season.
Reading scored two goals in the first period and three in the second. Nolan Zajac boomed in the fifth goal on the man up at 19:38 of the second period, giving him an ECHL defenseman-leading 13 goals. Wilkins and McCarthy helped on the back-breaking, late-frame goal. Adam Morrison allowed four goals on 16 shots and was pulled in the second. Colin Stevens allowed two on 11 shots. Reading was 1-for-3 on the power play and killed both Wheeling man ups.
Before the Royals game, the Allentown Police and Fire Departments defeated the Reading squads, 3-2, in the Battle of the Badges for the FirstStates Cup XIII at Santander Arena. The all-time series is tied, 1-1, between the teams after Reading won the first cross-town battle last season. Reading Police and Fire forward Jim Salanik scored to tie the game, 2-2, with 4:51 remaining in the third. Allentown’s Dan Roach tallied the game-winning strike 49 seconds later. The game helped raise money for the Battle of the Badges Scholarship Fund.
Reading completes a four-game home stand vs. Worcester on Thurs., Feb. 22 at 7:00 p.m., featuring $10 tickets, Olympic Night and a postgame photo and autograph session (Rieck’s Printing). Call 610-898-7825 for $10 tickets or visit royalshockey.com.
The Royals scored first for the 13th straight game with 10:45 remaining in the first. Reading crossed the right wing Nailers stripe and Michael Huntebrinker tossed it from the right dot through the slot to Alex Krushelnyski. After taking a split-second to gather the puck, Krushelnyski ripped it in and beat Morrison to the left post.
Willows stoked in his 21st of the season on a rip from the left circle to give Reading a 2-0 advantage 1:06 later. Reading scored a pair of goals in 1:06 during the opening frame. Willows also leads the ECHL with goals in seven straight games (8g). Prior to this season, Willows had never had a point streak longer than six games.
Morgan was next, sniping in a left-circle shot on a feed from Huntebrinker. Matias Cleland had the secondary assist at 3:15 of the second. Steven Swavely gained steam and tossed a tap-in through Morrison 2:18 after the Morgan tally. Swavely has points in three straight games (2g, 3a). Scott Tanski and Adam Schmidt had the assists.
After Zajac’s strike made it 5-0, the Royals cruised through the third. Krushelnyski added a top-shelf breakaway goal to complete the scoring with 10:11 left in the third, assisted by Huntebrinker.
$10 tickets and Olympic Night with a postgame autograph session Thurs., Feb 22 vs. WOR at 7:00 p.m.Get $10 tickets in any section (excludes glass seats) and celebrate the Olympics on a postgame photo and autograph session night with four players (Rieck’s Printing). Call 610-898-7825 for $10 tickets.
Next Big Night: Yannick Tifu Number Retirment, Ted DiBiase “Million Dollar Man” appearance, St. HatTrick’s Day on Sat., Mar. 17 vs. BRM at 7:00 p.m.Royals legend Yannick Tifu will have his #10 retired to the Diamond Credit Union Wall of Honor on Sat., Mar. 17 vs. the Brampton Beast at 7:00 p.m. Plus, meet WWE’s Million Dollar Man and celebrate St. HatTrick’s Day with the Royals, presented by Met-Ed! The first 5,000 fans will receive a Yannick Tifu poster, courtesy of Rieck’s Printing. The Royals will wear special St. Patrick’s Day jerseys. Tifu captained Reading to the team’s first Kelly Cup in 2013 and played in 245 Royals games, third-most in team history.
About the RoyalsThe Royals have been owned by serial entrepreneur Jack Gulati since 2014 and are in their 17th ECHL season. Proudly affiliated with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers and AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Reading plays in the Santander Arena, located in downtown Reading, PA at 700 Penn Street. The Royals won the Kelly Cup in 2013, have made the playoffs in eight straight seasons and are four-time division champions.
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Broadcast CoverageAll Royals game can be heard on Rumba 1340 AM and the iHeartRadio app by searching “Rumba 1340”. The pregame show starts 15 minutes before puck drop. Watch Royals games on ECHL.tv. Reading away games are shown locally on BCTV, channel 15 Comcast, channel 19 Service Electric.