The Reading Royals, proud affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers, defeated the Adirondack Thunder in overtime, 5-4, Friday, Apr. 15 at Cool Insuring Arena to clinch the North division and Eastern Conference titles. This is the first divisional title for the Royals since the 2013-14 season. Additionally, the divisional title also secures home ice advantage for the Royals for the opening three rounds of the Kelly Cup playoffs beginning Wednesday, April 20th at Santander Arena. Royals goaltender Brody Claeys saved 16 of 20 shots while Thunder goalie Brandon Kasel saved 26 of 31 shots faced.
Reading opened the scoring 3:25 into the first period with a set of crisp passes deep in Adirondack’s zone. Keeping the offensive play alive for Reading, Garret Cockerill chipped the puck along the right wing to Kenny Hausinger behind Kasel’s net and fed a centering pass to Brennan Saulnier who scored on a shot chipped past the Thunder netminder. Saulnier’s fourth goal of the season is his seventh point in seven games as a Royal.
Adirondack answered back to tie the game halfway through the first period. Patrick Grasso threw a shot on net that bounced off of Claeys’ body and trickled towards the goal line which left a scrum in the crease for the loose puck. Billy Jerry had the final touch on the puck and put it in before the net came off of its moorings to tie the game after the first period, 1-1.
Reading outscored the Thunder with three of the five goals scored in the second period. Garrett Cecere’s fourth goal of the season and Brennan Saulnier’s second goal of the game held the score even with Adirondack who had Blake Thompson and Luke Stevens score for a tie game, 3-3, late into the second period. With 1:04 remaining in the period, Mason Millman delivered a wrist shot across Kasels’ body and into the back of the net to put Reading back into the lead heading into the third period, 4-3.
The Thunder scored the lone goal in the third period to tie the score for the fourth and final time in the game. Jarrod Gourley received a cross ice feed in Reading’s zone from Luke Steven’s and snapped a wrist shot over Claeys’ right shoulder to force the game into overtime for the third time between both teams this season.
Three minutes into overtime, Reading won their second post-regulation game in the past week. Kenny Hausinger deflected a puck past Kasel’s blocker side for his 12th goal of the season to win the final road game of the regular season for Reading. Thomas Ebbing and Garret Cockerill earned the helpers on Hausinger’s game winning goal to make it a three-assist game for Cockerill and improve Ebbing’s single season ECHL career total in points to 54.
The Royals host the Thunder for their final game of the regular season Saturday, Apr. 16, at 7:00 p.m. at Santander Arena.
FANDEMONIUM - 4/16/22
Free souvenir cup refills for season ticket holders
Prizes at every break
Royals 20 for 20 presented by Visions Federal Credit Union, ServPro, ET Electric, and Comcast Business
Post-Game Skate presented by T-Mobile
Buy tickets HERE: www.royalshockey.com/promotions
Reading Royals season, flex memberships and group tickets are available for the 2021-22 season by visiting the Royals’ box office at Santander Arena or by calling 610-898-7825.
About the Royals
The Reading Royals, proud affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers and Lehigh Valley Phantoms, are entering their 20th season in the ECHL. They won their first Kelly Cup championship in 2013 and have clinched playoff berths in 10 of the previous 11 seasons. They are four-time division champions. The Berks County Convention Center Authority (BCCCA), founded in 1996, owns the Royals and oversees operations at Santander Arena.