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Royals take late lead but fall in OT to Wheeling, 4-3

Friday, March 9th
Royals take late lead but fall in OT to Wheeling, 4-3

Matt Willows has three-point game

Wheeling, WV – Forward Matt Wilkins scored two goals in the third period, but the  Wheeling Nailers popped in the last two goals and defeated the Royals  in overtime, 4-3, Friday at Wesbanco Arena. Troy Josephs scored the overtime-winning goal on a shot from the left circle at 2:34, assisted by Reid Gardiner. Wheeling tied the game on a strike from Freddie Tiffels at 18:41 of the third on a left-circle shot.

The Royals trailed by two in the second and used three points from Matt Willows (1g, 2a) to take a 3-2 lead with 3:05 to go in the third. Willows assisted Matt Wilkins’ second goal after Wilkins laid it up and in on a turnaround shot from the slot. Wilkins tied a professional high with the pair of goals.

Mark Dekanich pushed 31 shots away in the overtime defeat. Adam Morrison (win) had 28 saves on 31 Royals shots.

The teams combined for three goals in the second and Wheeling led, 2-1, after two. Willows scored for the second straight game and has six goals in the series against the Nailers. The third-year professional tops Reading with 25 goals.

The Royals complete the road trip Saturday at Wheeling with a 7:05 p.m. puck drop. The next Reading home game is Wed., Feb. 14 vs. Fort Wayne. The Royals are pleased to host Yannick Tifu Retirement Night on St. HatTrick’s Day next Sat., Mar. 17 at 7:00 p.m. with a chance to win 10,000 by registering at royalshockey.com. Also meet Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase during the game (free pictures and autographs).

Box Score

In a scoreless first period, Reading had ten shots and limited Wheeling to eight.

The goals erupted in the second and Wheeling took advantage with a pair of goals. Matt Abt scored his first professional goal with 13:14 to go in the second, ripping a quick snap shot at the slot, assisted by Riley Bourbonnais. Next, Danny Fick wristed one over Dekanich’s right shoulder at 10:02 of the second.

The Royals responded to cut Wheeling’s deficit to one 34 seconds later. Willows gained the puck at the attacking blue line after a Nailers turnover. Driving to the circle, Willows unleashed a devastating wrist shot to halfway up the far post.

The goal scoring continued in the third and the Royals scored the first two goals. Wilkins scored a power-play goal at 11:47 of the third, shooting in a rebound from Nolan Zajac. Willows had the second assist. Reading converted again at 16:54 of the third; Wilkins received a slow feed at the slot and quickly turned and sniped it off Morrison and in. Willows originated the feed from the right circle. Frank Hora also had a helper.

Freddie Tiffels found it on his tape from the left circle and popped it in with 1:19 to go. Josephs then struck on a one-timer from inside the left circle in overtime.

Wheeling was 0-for-1 on the man up. The Royals were 1-for-2.

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.

Enter for a chance to win $10,000 with the Reading Royals as the team hosts Brampton on St. HatTrick’s Day Sat., Mar. 17 vs. the Brampton Beast at 7:00 p.m. It’s an easy process; Step 1: purchase tickets to the game here | Step 2: Register to be entered into the contest here | Step 3: Watch a Royals player score a hat trick vs. Brampton.

Additionally, meet WWE’s Million Dollar Man and celebrate the holiday with the Royals, presented by Met-Ed! Royals legend Yannick Tifu will have his #10 retired to the Diamond Credit Union Wall of Honor during the game. 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.

Season tickets for 2018-19 now available: Early Renewal through Mar. 15Call 610-898-7825 to join the Royals family or renew season tickets for the 2018-19 season. Early renewal and registration runs through Mar. 15. Top Early Renewal Benefits include: Extra chance to win jerseys-off-our-backs | Chance to win Owner's Suite | Chance to watch warm-ups from bench and high-five tunnel experience.

Royals Awards Banquet at Santander Arena Mar. 26Register here. Get a pregame pep talk from Royals Head Coach Kirk MacDonald, behind-the-scenes tour of the Royals locker room and buffet meal at Santander Arena Mon., Mar. 26 from 6-8 p.m. for the Royals Awards Banquet. We will hand out the best awards from the 2017-18 season.

Postgame autograph session Wed., Mar. 14 vs. FW at 7:00 p.m.Stay after the game for a special postgame autograph session on Wed., Mar. 14 at 7:00 p.m. vs. Fort Wayne, presented by Rieck’s Printing. It’s the only chance of the season to see the Komets.

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.