Manchester, NH – John Muse made a professional-high 54 saves, but Sam Kurker scored at 17:38 of double overtime in Game 1 of the North Division Semifinals to defeat the Reading Royals, 3-2, Friday at SNHU Arena. Manchester leads, 1-0, in the best-of-seven series.
Muse made 10 saves in the first overtime and six more in the second overtime before Kurker drove in on the left wing circle and flicked it by Muse short side. Charles Williams blocked 42 Reading shots, including 12 in the second overtime.
The Royals scored consecutive goals in a 4:39 span during the second to take a 2-0 edge. Chris McCarthy scored the first and received the primary helper on the second. Matt Wilkins scored Reading’s second goal, assisted by McCarthy, at 13:26 of the second.
The Monarchs scored consecutive goals in a span of 2:32 to tie it nine minutes into the third.
Game 2 of the North Division Semifinals is Saturday at 6:00 p.m. in Manchester. The Royals return home for their first home playoff game Mon., Apr. 16 at 7:00 p.m.
In a scoreless first frame, Muse made 17 saves and Charles Williams kicked away ten. Reading went 0-for-2 on the man up and killed off Manchester’s lone chance.
The Royals busted Williams twice in the middle of the second to take a 2-0 edge into second break. On the first goal at 8:47 of the second, Chase Golightly slammed a pass from the right point and it furrowed to Willows at the left doorstep. He touched it to the right post for McCarthy for his first professional playoff goal.
Five minutes later, McCarthy returned the favor to his line mate Wilkins. McCarthy quickly gathered at the left post ticked it to Wilkins cross crease.
Manchester struck twice in the third to tie the game and force overtime. At 6:25 of the third, Ashton Rome won the face-off and Spencer Watson shot it from the slot. Matt Marcinew deflected it on its way net front through Muse. Next, at four skaters aside, Matt Leitner launched a one-touched shot into the back of the cage from the left post, assisted by Alexx Privitera and Zac Lynch. The goal happened 2:32 after the initial strike.
Shots were 40-25 Manchester after three.
In a scoreless first overtime, the Monarchs outshot the Royals, 10-7. Reading’s best chance came halfway through the frame when Nick Luukko had a slot rip off Williams.
Both power plays failed to score in overtime. Reading had a pair of chances and the Monarchs could not score on one in the first overtime. The Royals killed off both Manchester man-up chances. Reading was 0-for-5 on the power play.
Series Schedule (Monarchs lead best-of-seven, 1-0)
Game 1 at Manchester: Monarchs 3, Royals 2 (2 OT).
Game 2 at Manchester: Sat, Apr. 14, 6:00 p.m.
Game 3 vs. Manchester: Mon, Apr. 16, 7:00 p.m., Santander Arena
Game 4 vs. Manchester: Wed, Apr. 18, 7:00 p.m., Santander Arena
Game 5 vs. Manchester (if necessary): Thu, Apr. 19, 7:00 p.m., Santander Arena
Game 6 at Manchester (if necessary): Sat, Apr. 21, 3:00 p.m.
Game 7 at Manchester (if necessary): Tue, Apr. 24, 7:00 p.m.
2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs Tickets On Sale
the Royals return to Reading for Game 3, Game 4 and Game 5 (if necessary) at Santander Arena. Game 3 is Mon., Apr. 16, Game 4 is Wed., Apr. 18 and Game 5 is Thurs., Apr. 19 (if necessary). All playoff games at Santander Arena begin at 7:00 p.m. and tickets are available here.
The Reading Royals will continue to collect donations and raise money for those affected by the Humboldt Broncos’ tragedy for Reading’s first two home playoff games Mon., Apr. 16 and Wed., Apr. 18 at 7:00 p.m. Proceeds from tickets purchased at this link or by calling 610-898-7825 will go to the families and others affected.
Tickets are now available for the Royals’ home playoff games by calling 610-898-7825. The Royals are offering 5 playoff vouchers starting at $85. Use the five vouchers at any home playoff games. The team is also providing curbside ticket service; call 610-898-7825 and a Royals ticket staff member will provide you with your tickets outside the Lion’s Den Team Store at the corner of 8th Ave. and Penn St.
Miniplans available for 2018-19!
Call 610-898-7825 to learn more about 9, 12 and 18 game mini-plans for the 2018-19 season!
2018-19 season tickets now available
Top full-season benefits include: exclusive Reading Hockey Club per seat gift, discounted rate off regular ticket prices, ticket exchange, preseason meet and greet, exclusive season ticket holder events, advanced entry and a chance to win and the Royals Owner’s Suite for a game. Call 610-898-7825 and visit to join the Royals family or renew season tickets for the 2018-19 season. Visit royalshockey.com/tickets/season-tickets to learn more.
About the Royals
The Royals have been owned by serial entrepreneur Jack Gulati since 2014 and are in their 17th 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 eight straight seasons and are four-time division champions.
All Royals game can be heard on Rumba 1340 AM and the iHeartRadio app by searching “Rumba 1340”. The pregame show starts 15 minutes before puck drop. Watch Royals games on ECHL.tv. Reading away games are shown locally on BCTV, channel 15 Comcast, channel 19 Service Electric.