Huntebrinker Stays Hot to Bounce Growlers, 5-3
St John's, NL - Michael Huntebrinker scored a go-ahead, power-play goal at 9:04 of the third and the Reading Royals toppled the Newfoundland Growlers to earn a weekend sweep, 5-3, Saturday at Mile One Centre. The Royals are the first team to hand the league-best Growlers back-to-back losses this season. Reading has won three straight games for the second time this season.
Huntebrinker's man-up marker silenced Newfoundland after the Growlers scored consecutive power-play goals three minutes earlier to tie the game, 3-3. The second-year professional Huntebrinker has goals in six straight games for the first time in his career. He is tied for a team-high 11 tallies this campaign.
Alex Krushelnyski (1g, 2a) tied a season-high points effort with three in the win. Adam Schmidt poured in his first multi-goal effort of the season (2g).
Schmidt started his scoring with 6:33 to go in the first, breaking through the defense and putting it top shelf from the slot. Next, with the Royals up, 2-1, he gathered the puck on a 2-on-1 and sniped it in over Michael Garteig's glove (loss, 19 saves). Frank DiChiara also scored for Reading. Steven Swavely (2a) earned an assist on Schmidt's second goal and he is on a career-long 11-game point streak (9g, 8a).
Callum Booth denied 20 shots (3 GA) to move to 3-0-0-0. Saturday was the first time in his career he started on back-to-back days.
Reading returns home to host the Allen Americans for the Weekend of Giving Fri., Dec. 14 - Sun., Dec. 16. The Weekend of Giving features games at Santander Arena on three straight days, pres. by the Salvation Army and Met-Ed. The Weekend of Giving features a clothing drive, toy drive and food drive, plus the team's annual Teddy Bear Toss Sat., Dec. 15 at 7:00 p.m. with all proceeds on $5 tickets going back to the local Salvation Army on Community Night. The money raised and good donated with stay locally in Reading and Berks County.
The Growlers failed to register a shot on goal through the first 15 minutes of the game and Reading cashed in twice in quick succession. With 6:33 to go in the first, Krushelnyski dished up the gut to Schmidt. Putting on a burst of speed, Schmidt snuck through two Growlers defenders and roofed it over Garteig's left shoulder to provide Reading a 1-0 edge. Schmidt has scored in three straight games for the second time of his career. Frank Hora received the secondary assist.
Next, with 5:11 remaining in the opening frame, DiChiara settled a knuckling puck, pirouetted and slung an on-ice shot through Garteig's legs from the right doorstep. DiChiara has seven goals this campaign. Jack Riley and Nick Luukko assisted. The Royals outshot the Growlers, 9-2, through 20 and led, 2-0.
Josh Kestner pulled Newfoundland within one, 2-1, at 5:58 of the second, slamming a one-timer in from the slot. Schmidt poured in his second of the game on a 2-on-1 rush with Frank Hora, giving Reading insurance. Swavely triggered the puck to Schmidt from the defensive zone up the right wing at neutral ice. Schmidt gobbled it and put on a burst of speed. He aimed it past Garteig's glove with 6:21 to go in the second.
After Newfoundland evened the score with two man-up goals (2-for-6 in game) separated by 34 seconds, Reading went to the man up (1-for-2 in game). Swavely set up Huntebrinker; the puck went to the right circle and Swavely mashed it to Huntebrinker. Next, Huntebrinker unleashed, giving him eight goals in the last six games. Krushelnyski buried an empty-net goal in the final minute to secure the win.
Need to Know: Weekend of Giving events vs. Allen Americans
Fri., Dec. 14 at 7:00 p.m.: Clothing Drive, 4-for-48 Family Pack (4 tickets, 4 burgers, 4 sodas for $48)
Sat., Dec. 15 at 7:00 p.m.: Community Night with $5 tickets (all proceeds to Salvation Army), Teddy Bear Toss, Food Drive, Holiday Ornament Giveaway to the first 2,000 fans, Royals will wear Ugly Christmas Sweater jerseys
Sun., Dec. 16 at 5:00 p.m.: Toy Drive at Santander Arena, plus have a personal meet-and-greet with SpongeBob SquarePants with the Royals SpongeBob VIP Package as he visits Santander Arena. The Royals will wear SpongeBob jerseys and Allen will wear Patrick Star jerseys.
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