Reading, PA – The Reading Royals tied the game early in the third with a goal from Adam Schmidt, but a short-handed breakaway goal from Wheeling Nailers forward Troy Josephs (2g, 1a) spiked Reading, 4-3, Saturday at Santander Arena. The Royals head into the all-star break 4th in the North Division with 42 points (17-14-3-5), one behind third-place Maine. The top four teams in each division qualify for the Kelly Cup Playoffs.Schmidt’s 11th of the season gave the Royals a fresh start after allowing three in the second to the Nailers. Reading is 9-1-0-1 when Schmidt scores this season. Josh MacDonald (1g, 1a) added a helper and gave Reading the game’s first goal on the power play late in the opening frame. Tyler Brown netted his first strike of the season in the second period.Branden Komm suffered the defeat despite 27 saves, bested by Wheeling’s Jordan Ruby (win, 3 GA, 33 saves).The Royals return to the ice next Sat., Jan. 26 at 7:05 p.m. at Wheeling. The next Royals home game is Wed., Jan. 30 vs. Maine at 7:00 p.m., featuring a postgame autograph session, pres. by Rieck’s Printing.Box ScoreReading took a 1-0 lead 14 seconds into the team's first power-play chance. With 4:55 to go in the opening frame, Joe Houk angled it to MacDonald at the top of the right circle. The team’s leading scorer waited and wristed his 18th of the season through traffic and in. MacDonald has had three goals vs. Wheeling this season. Chris McCarthy generated the secondary assist, his first of two helpers.Cedric LaCroix tied the game with 10:21 left in the middle period seconds after the Royals failed to score on their second man up. LaCroix left the box, sprinted to the left circle and received a pass to the left post from Josephs. He tucked it in for the tying goal.Two minutes later, the Royals took the lead again, 2-1, on Brown’s water-bottle-popping goal. After receiving a pass at neutral ice from McCarthy. Brown danced to the bottom of the right circle and roofed it short side. It was his first goal since Mar. 8, 2018 vs. Brampton.Renars Krastensbergs tied the game on the power play, receiving a cross-ice pass at the left circle from Yushiroh Hirano and pounding it by Komm. The game was evened up at two with 7:12 to go in the second. Josephs scored Wheeling’s third goal of the period with 3:07 remaining in the second. Wheeling was 1-for-3 on the man up, failing to score a two-man advantage goal in the final period. Reading went 1-for-3 on the power play.Reading had another burst to even the game in the third on an all-around effort from Schmidt, McCarthy and MacDonald. McCarthy dove to tip the puck at neutral ice to MacDonald, who crossed the left-wing blue line and slammed a slap shot off Ruby’s pads. The rebound remained free for Schmidt to dunk it in at the left circle with 1:29 gone in the final period.Josephs scored the game-clinching goal on an assist from Michael Phillips. While short-handed, Phillips rotated a feed to the Royals stripe for Josephs. The second-year forward walked to the slot and wristed his 19th of the season.3 Takeaways – by Kaylee Herndon
The Royals created solid scoring opportunities with good puck movement and accurate passing. In the second period, Tyler Brown received a heads-up pass from Chris McCarthy and put the puck in the net for his first of the season, giving Reading a one-goal edge. Frank DiChiara set up a two-on-one opportunity in the second period. Turnovers were few and helped lead to the Royals goals.
Branden Komm put in the work for the Royals making 27 saves in Saturday’s 4-3 loss. Komm made a number of impressive stops, including a chest save at the top of the crease after fighting through in-net traffic. Komm holds a 0.919 save percentage and is 5-3-1-1 with Reading this season.
Royals forwards showed no fear when it came to taking the puck deep in tonight’s loss against Wheeling. Reading out-shot the Nailers, recording a total of 36 shots on goal. The Royals played, overall, an unusually aggressive game on the attack. Multiple shot attempts came after circling the back of the net and the offensive pressure helped the Royals keep the score close.
About the RoyalsThe 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.Listen to all Royals broadcasts at Mixlr.com/ReadingRoyals or by downloading the Mixlr App from the App Store or Google Play.