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Tyler Gratton Scores in Pro Debut, Royals Drop Series Opener to Railers, 7-3

Friday, March 22nd
Tyler Gratton Scores in Pro Debut, Royals Drop Series Opener to Railers, 7-3

Reading, PA - The Reading Royals (25-30-5-2), proud ECHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers and Lehigh Valley Phantoms, fell to the Worcester Railers (26-28-4-3), 7-3, on Friday, March 22nd at Santander Arena. Anson Thornton (2-6-0-0) suffered the loss in net for the Royals with 39 saves on 46 shots. Goaltender Henrik Tikkanen (7-5-1-1) earned the win in net for Worcester with 25 saves on 28 shots faced. 


The Railers opened up scoring at 10:20 into the opening frame when Jake Pivonka shot one between the left pad and blocker of Thornton. Ashton Calder and Trevor Cosgrove earned the helpers on Pivonka’s first of two goals in the game. The Royals responded in the 1st period and evened the score with 42 seconds remaining on Devon Paliani’s 15th goal of the season. Paliani beat Tikkanen on a redirection from Tag Bertuzzi’s wrist shot from the slot. Ryan Devine earned the secondary helper on Paliani’s goal for a tie score after 20 minutes, 1-1.

Andrei Bakanov scored the first of two in the second period for the Railers 3:38 into the frame. Bakanov snapped a laser from the left face-off circle off of a feed from Jack Quinlivan, who earned the lone assist on Bakanov’s 11th goal of the season. Keegan Howdeshell extended Worcester’s lead to two with a shot past Thornton off of a quick rebound. Brendan Robbins and Ryan Verrier earned the assists of Howdeshell’s first of two goals on the night.

The third period opened with five goals in the first four minutes. Howdeshell earned his second goal of the night 31 seconds into the final frame with a wrist shot over Thornton’s glove. Quinlivan and Zsombor Garat earned the helpers.

The Royals responded 17 seconds later at 48 seconds with Tyler Gratton’s first professional career goal. Jacques Bouquot and Jake Smith earned the assists for Bouquot’s first professional career point. At 3:16, Pivonka beat Thornton with a shot from the blue line to put Worcester back in front by three, 5-2. Calder earned the lone assist. 12 seconds later, at 3:28, Smith earned his second multi-point game as a Royal with a one-timer on a rebound past Tikkanen. Bouquot and Gratton earned the helpers for multi-point games in their professional debuts.

Zach White sealed the series opener win for Worcester with a pair of goals scored at 3:56 and 15:47. The goals came as his 8th and 9th goals of the season and the 8th short-handed goal allowed by Reading this season.

The Royals continue their homestand against the Worcester Railers on Saturday, March 23rd at 7:00 pm and Sunday, March 24th at 3:00 pm at Santander Arena.

To order tickets, visit royalshockey.com/tickets


2023-24 Season Memberships

Reading Royals Season Memberships, six-game plans, ten-game plans, and group tickets are available for the 2023-24 season now 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 22nd season in the ECHL. They won their first Kelly Cup championship in 2013 and have clinched playoff berths in 12 of the previous 13 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.