Reading, PA - Reading Royals forward Steven Swavely (1g, 1a) scored for the third straight game in a 5-2 loss to the Newfoundland Growlers Saturday at Santander Arena. His team-leading seventh goal of the season (even with Josh MacDonald for most on squad) tied the game at one in the first. The 2010 Muhlenberg High School graduate has five goals in the last three games.
The Royals also wore hockey's first-ever 3-D jerseys, featured prominently on the NHL Network and NBC Sports this week.
J.J. Piccinich (PPG) and Todd Skirving scored 18 seconds apart in the last half of the second period, giving the Growlers a 3-1 edge. Zach O'Brien made it a 4-1 Growlers advantage with a goal five minutes into the third.Swavely assisted Nick Luukko's short-handed goal eight minutes into the third, cutting Newfoundland's edge to 4-2.Austin Lotz blocked 28 shots (4 GA) in defeat. Mario Culina moved to 3-0-0-0 on the season, denying a professional-best 40 shots. The Growlers have won eight straight games. The Royals allowed the game's opening goal to Hudson Elyniuk at the right doorstep 1:25 into the first, assisted by Stefan LeBlanc and Piccinich. Reading attempted 19 shots in the first, the most the Royals have had in a period this season. Swavely pounced on an open rebound at the right post, canning his fifth goal in the last three games with 3:08 left in the first. MacDonald shot it off Culina on a rush chance to the right circle. Despite trying ten on cage in the second, Culina blocked all of Reading's opportunities. The Growlers scored twice in fewer than 20 seconds. First, Piccinich jammed the puck in with 3:33 left in the second on the power play, assisted by Elyniuk and Matt Bradley. On Newfoundland's next rush, the Todd Skirving beat Lotz low and to the glove side on a slap shot from the top of the left circle. O'Brien scored for the fourth time on the weekend with a right-circle snipe at 4:43 of the third.Reading answered to make it 4-2 Growlers three minutes later. While short-handed, Luukko received a drop pass from Swavely and rifled it home from the high slot. Adam Schmidt received the secondary assist. It was Reading's first short-handed strike of the season. Reading's power play finished 0-for-4, while the Growlers went 1-for-4 on the man up.Reading failed to beat Culina again, as the rookie netminder blocked 12 in the third. Sam Babintsev scored an empty-net goal to ice the contest with 1:27 left.
About the Royals
The Royals have been owned by serial entrepreneur Jack Gulati since 2014 and are entering their 18th 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 nine straight seasons and are four-time division champions.