Reading, PA - The Reading Royals (35-21-4-0), proud affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers and Lehigh Valley Phantoms, fell to the Atlanta Gladiators (32-25-5-1), 3-2, on Sunday, March 19 at Santander Arena. The Royals concluded the three-game series with four of the possible six points earned in the series. Bailey Brkin (5-8-2) suffered the loss in his Royals debut with 23 saves on 26 shots faced. Alex Sakelloropoulos earned the win in net for Atlanta with 41 saves on 43 shots faced (1-3-0).
Atlanta scored the game’s opening goal 9:39 into regulation and possessed a one-goal lead through the remainder of the first period, and over 18-minutes into the second period. Mitch Walinski scored Atlanta’s lone power play of the game on a rebound off of Brkin’s right pad. Walkinski corralled the bouncing puck and snapped it into the back of Reading’s net for his second goal of the season. The opening goal was the first time Atlanta held the lead in the series.
The one-goal affair turned into an offensive craze in the final two minutes of the second period. Tyson Empey beat Brkin on a short-handed breakaway with 1:46 remaining in the period for the forward’s 26th goal of the season. The short-handed goal was the 10th allowed by Reading this season which matches the club’s short-handed goals scored this season.
Alec Butcher put Reading on the board 30 seconds later with a power play goal to cut Reading’s deficit in half, 2-1. Butcher pounced on a loose puck in Sakelloropoulos’ crease that settled behind the goaltender after Jacob Gaucher’s shot hit the post. Gaucher earned the primary assist on Butcher’s 17th goal while Tyler Heidt earned the secondary helper for his first of two points in the game.
Before the period expired, the Gladiators took their two-goal lead back on a breakaway goal scored by Sanghoon Shin. Shin’s 26th goal left Reading to trail after two periods for the ninth time this season at home (2-7).
Tyler Heidt drew the game to a one-goal score with 7:16 remaining in regulation on a slapshot that banked off of Bode Wilde and past Sakellaropoulos. The uncanny goal earned Heidt his second consecutive multi-point game with a goal and an assist in both. The goal was Heidt’s second of his professional career and registered his second multi-point game of his professional career, as well.
Reading fell short of evening the score despite having an extra attacker on the ice for the final 2:17 of play. Sakelloropolous denied the final five shots he faced from the Royals offense to seal the series finale victory for the Gladiators.
The Royals doubled the Gladiators in shots with 43 to Atlanta’s 26 in the game. Reading suffered their second loss in their last eight meetings with the Gladiators and dropped to an all-time record of 15-8-1 against the Gladiators. The Royals fell to 12-9-1 in one-goal games and 0-3-1 in three-game weekend series finales.
The Royals travel out west for a three-game road-trip with an opening contest against the Toledo Walleye at 7:15 p.m. on Friday, March 24 at the Huntington Center. The Royals conclude the road-trip in Wheeling with back-to-back games against the Nailers on Saturday, March 25 at 7:10 p.m. and Sunday, March 26 at 4:10 p.m. at Wesbanco Arena.
The Royals return home on Wednesday, March 29 to host the Adirondack Thunder at 7:00 p.m. at Santander Arena. The home game features a Wild Wednesdays promotional game. Order tickets and see the full ~ promotional schedule ~ now!-Upcoming Games:
- Wild Wednesdays - Mar. 29 vs. Adirondack
- $6.10 for Green Zone tickets
- College students buy one ticket, get one free
- $1 beers at select locations
- Mental Health + Recovery Night - Mar. 31 vs. Trois-Rivières
- Ice Angels trading cards giveaway
- $30 Pre-game yoga - Bring your own mat and wear layers as yoga will be done on the ice! - Click for tickets
- Specialty mocktails
- $2 off domestic drafts 6-7:00 PM
- 4 for $60 deal including 4 tickets, 4 hot dogs, 4 drinks, and 4 pairs of thundersticks. Presented by Deibler Dental
- Take the HERO pledge to become a designated driver
- Motor Sports Night - Apr. 1 vs. Trois-Rivières
- Motor Sports Night presented by Schaeffer's Motor Sports
- Rally racing towel giveaway (first 1500)
- Vehicle displays
- Slapshot Saturdays: $2 off craft draft beers 3-4:00 PM
- Slapshot Saturdays: pre-game photo on ice with Slapshot from 3:00-4:15 below section 109
2022-23 & 2023-24 Season Memberships
Reading Royals season tickets, flex memberships and group tickets are available for the 2022-23 & now 2023-24 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 in 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.