The Reading Royals, proud affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers, fell to the Newfoundland Growlers, 4-2, Monday, May 16 at Santander Arena in Game 7 of the Division Final round of the 2022 Kelly Cup playoffs. The Growlers staved off elimination for a third straight game as the Royals season comes to a close in Game 7. Royals goaltender Pat Nagle saved 31 of 35 shots faced while Growlers goalie Keith Petruzzelli saved 14 of 16 shots faced.
The Growlers outshot the Royals 35 shots to 16 in the game and struck first with their second shorthanded goal of the series with 2:57 remaining in the opening period. Derian Plouffe received a pass across center ice and carried the puck in on a breakaway. Plouffe snapped a shot past Nagle’s blocker for his fourth goal of the Kelly Cup playoffs as well as the Growlers’ fourth shorthanded goal of the postseason for an early lead, 1-0.
Newfoundland extended their lead halfway into the second period on a bouncing puck that went in the Growlers favor. Noel Hoefenmayer sent a slapshot on net that skipped on the ice after his stick snapped in two. The puck bounced up on Nagle who played the puck with his stick. Intending to deflect the puck into the corner, the puck bounced up on the netminder and deflected off his stick and into the back of the net. Reading responded with a goal to cut the Growlers lead in half two minutes later. After a shot from Kevin Conley rebounded off of Petruzzelli and sat loose in the crease before Patrick Bajkov picked the puck loose from the traffic in the crease and snapped the puck past Petruzzelli while the netminder’s vision was cut off from the shot.
In the final five minutes of the second period, both teams scored to make it a one-goal game at the end of two periods. Newfoundland jumped back up by two goals on Ben Finklestein’s fourth goal of the series. A face off win by Marc Johnstone set up Finkelstein at the top of the zone to snap a shot through traffic that beat Nagle glove-side. Once again, Reading cut the Growlers’ lead to one as Brad Morrison scored off of a pass from Nagle to Jacob Pritchard from Reading’s net to Newfoundland’s blue line. Pritchard settled the puck and hit Morrison with a cross ice pass as he was coming right off the Royals bench for a breakaway in the Growlers zone. Morrison beat Petruzzelli with a backhand-to-forehand dangle for his second straight game with a goal as the Royals trailed heading into the third period, 3-2.
Newfoundland scored the lone goal of the third period which served as the dagger late in the game. Isaac Johnson buried a cross-crease feed from Orrin Centazzo on an odd man rush with 8:16 remaining in the third period for his second goal of the series. Reading was held shotless until the final six minutes of regulation. With an extra attacker on, Reading threw five additional shots on net in an attempt of forcing overtime to no avail.
The Royals conclude their season series against the Growlers winning one of seven meetings between the two teams at Santander Arena. Additionally, through all seven games of the playoff series, the team who scored first went on to win the game.
Reading will open the 2022-23 regular season against the Growlers on Friday, October 21st at 5:30 p.m. EST at the Mary Brown’s Centre in St.John’s, Newfoundland.
2022-23 Season Memberships
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 North Division and Eastern Conference Champion Royals
The Reading Royals, proud affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers and Lehigh Valley Phantoms, are entering their 21st season in the ECHL. They won their first Kelly Cup championship in 2013 and have clinched playoff berths in 11 of the previous 12 seasons. They are five-time division champions and were the 2021-22 Eastern Conference champion. The Berks County Convention Center Authority (BCCCA), founded in 1996, owns the Royals and oversees operations at Santander Arena.