Manchester, NH – Matt Willows scored in the shootout’s fifth round, moving the Reading Royals to a 2-1 victory over the Manchester Monarchs Sunday at SNHU Arena. The Royals scored three times in the skills competition. Branden Komm made three denials, including a stop on former teammate Keegan Iverson in the top of the fifth round. That set up the winning goal on Willows’ stick; he weaved to the slot and shot it off Charles Williams, but it quickly ramped to the top left shelf and in. Despite having a fifteen-game point streak snapped, Willows pushed Reading to 3-0 in the shootout this season.
Against his former club, Komm denied 35 shots, including 14 in the third and eight in overtime. In the extra session, he took a delay of game penalty but helped Reading stave off a two-minute, 4-on-3 edge. The Royals were outshot, 8-0 in overtime.
Reading’s Nick Luukko scored the game’s opening goal on the man up, the league-leading 39th time the Royals have struck first. Justin Agosta beat Branden Komm in the second period and the game was tied, 1-1, after two.
Williams took the tough-luck shootout loss with 28 saves. He is 2-0-0-1 vs. Reading this campaign.
The Royals scored first on the man up and took a 1-0 edge into first intermission. Luukko wristed a shot from the center of the Monarchs blue line with three seconds remaining on the power play. It beat Williams to the top right corner at 13:34 of the opening frame. Ryan Penny and Matias Cleland assisted. Luukko has one goal and five points vs. Manchester this season, including a career-best three assists against the Monarchs Nov. 15. He has 20 points this season, matching his total from last campaign.
Reading did not allow a shot on goal until the final three minutes of the opening frame and outshot the Monarchs, 10-2, in the first.
At 8:34 of the second, Manchester scored a five-on-three power-play marker to even the game at one. Jordan Lavallee-Smotherman tossed it to Agosta at the high slot and Craig Wyzomirski had the secondary assist. The Monarchs had a five-on-three for a full two minutes and scored with nine seconds to go on it. The teams combined for 18 PIM in the second frame and 40 in the game.
Reading recorded a season-high seven power-play chances (1-for-7) and killed off four of Manchester’s five opportunities.
The Royals embark to Orlando for the first of three matchups in the Sunshine State. First, the Royals and Solar Bears meet on Thurs., Mar. 1 at 7:00 p.m. Reading travels north to Jacksonville for the second matchup of the season against the Icemen on Fri., Mar. 2 at 7:30 p.m. On Sun., Mar. 4 at 1:45 p.m., the Royals are back in Orlando for the season-series finale at the Solar Bears.
Reading is next at home on Wed., Mar. 14 at 7:00 p.m. vs. Fort Wayne, with four players hosting a postgame photo and autograph session, courtesy of Rieck’s Printing.
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 and Diamond Credit Union. 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. Tickets are available here.
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.
Reading Royals Mobile AppHead to the App Store and Google Play to download the new Reading Royals app on your smartphone! Stay up-to-date with team news, receive notifications and purchase tickets for your next experience at Santander Arena.
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.