Stolarz makes 30 saves in first game of season
Reading, PA- The Reading Royals (33-21-8-0) dropped a 5-4 overtime contest to the Fort Wayne Komets (42-16-2-1) Wednesday at Santander Arena. Adam Schmidt (1g, 1a) evened the score with a strike in the final five minutes of regulation. Anthony Stolarz stopped 30 shots in his first game with the Royals. He was loaned to Reading from Lehigh Valley by the Flyers on Tuesday. Zac Larraza scored the game-winning goal for the Komets on a right-circle shot at 1:57 of overtime.
Viktor Liljegren picked up his first professional goal in his Royals debut. Matt Willows (2g) earned his 22nd multi-point effort, the most in a season in his career. Nick Luukko played in his 200th career game.
Cam Lanigan blocked 38 shots in his first ECHL game to earn the win for the Komets, who clinched a Kelly Cup Playoffs berth.
The Royals are pleased to host Yannick Tifu Retirement Night on St. HatTrick’s Day Sat., Mar. 17 at 7:00 p.m. vs. Brampton. Also meet Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase during the game (free pictures and autographs).
Willows scored the lone goal of the first period at 3:10 while on the man. A tripping call on Dennis Kravchenko put the Royals on a power play and the unit scored 16 seconds later. Schmidt centered a pass from Chris McCarthy to contribute. Reading has scored first in 41 games this season.
The Royals had 22 shots in the first period, tied for the most by the club in a period this season.
Curtis Leonard solved Stolarz and put one top shelf off the first shot of the middle frame. Late defense on the Royals part allowed the Komets to tie the game at 1:11.
The Royals answered 30 seconds later to secure a 2-1 lead. Mark Bennett sent a pass to Liljegren who trickled the puck in. Liljegren captained RPI this season and had nine goals for the Engineers.
Midway through the second, Kravchenko beat Stolarz 5-hole off a pass from Shawn Szydlowski to tie the contest. The goal came two seconds after Scott Tanski’s holding minor expired.
Willows added his second of the night to put the Royals back on top at 17:54 of the second. Matt Wilkins added the assist for his sixth point (5g, 1a) in the past four games. The point leader Willows has goals in four straight games.
Kravchenko added his second goal of the game 27 seconds into the third period to tie the contest at three. Garrett Thompson had the primary assist and Szydlowski earned his second helper of the contest.
Artur Tyanulin gave the Komets their first lead at 8:56 in the final frame, trickling a puck through with help from Marc-Olivier Roy and Larraza.
Schmidt sent a wrist shot from the left slot past Lanigan to tie the game with just fewer than five minutes to play in regulation time, forcing overtime. Swavely and Tyler Brown each earned a point. Schmidt had his first multi-point effort since February 16 at Brampton.
The Komets finished the night on top as Larraza hit the overtime winner about two minutes into the extra session.
Tifu Retirement Night, Meet Ted DiBiase, St. HatTrick’s Day Sat., Mar. 17 vs. BRM at 7:00 p.m.1) Wrestling legend Ted DiBiase the “Million Dollar Man” will be in attendance to take pictures and sign autographs during the game. There is no charge for pictures or autographs. Fans can meet the Million Dollar Man during the first and second periods. Season ticket holders will have a special meet-and-greet with the Million Dollar Man from 5:45-6:30 p.m. at the game.
2) Up until Thursday, fans can enter for a chance to win $10,000; register to be entered into the contest here or fill out a form in Monday’s Reading Eagle Sports Section and return it to the Royals offices.
3) The first 5,000 fans in attendance will receive a special-edition Tifu poster, courtesy of Rieck’s Printing and Diamond Credit Union.
4) The Kelly Cup will be at the game with Mr. Pat Kelly! Get your picture taken with the Kelly Cup Fri., Mar. 16 during Happy Hour 4:00-7:00 p.m. at Jimmy G’s Beverley Hills Tavern on Old Fritztown Road. It’s the 5th anniversary of the team winning the Kelly Cup.
5) All fans are invited to stay after the game to partake in a special photo “recreation” of Yannick Tifu receiving the Kelly Cup from Mr. Pat Kelly after Saturday’s game.
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.
Special Olympics Night Fri., Mar. 23 vs. WOR at 7:00 p.m.Tickets are available here, with $5 going back to benefit the Special Olympics of Berks County. Postgame shake, shiver and freeze with the Royals to raise money for the Special Olympics and a Royals trading card set giveaway to the first 2,500 fans (Rieck’s Printing).
Autism Awareness Night Sat., Mar. 24 vs. WOR at 7:00 p.m.Tickets are available here. $5 from every ticket goes back to the Autism Society of Berks County and Unending Promise! This is one of the best nights of the season for a wonderful cause. No goal horn and the Royals wear special autism awareness jerseys. Plus, a one-time-only giveaway: a puck with Head Coach Kirk MacDonald and Assistant Coach Pat Wellar.
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.
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.