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Royals Close out Regular Season with 2-1 Shootout Win

April 12, 2015 - ECHL (ECHL) - Reading Royals News Release


Reading Royals vs. Indy Fuel
Reading Royals vs. Indy Fuel
(Reading Royals, Credit: Brad Drey (Purdon House of Photography))

Reading, PA - The Reading Royals (loss, 45-21-4-296) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the American Hockey League, defeated the Indy Fuel (win, 31-30-4-773), 2-1, in a shootout at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania.

In the final regular season game in the team's fourteenth season in Reading, the Royals and the Fuel battled in a back-and-forth physical affair in front of 7026 on Fan Appreciation Night. The Fuel struck in the first period and the Royals tied things up on a second period goal by defenseman Maxim Lamarche, but that would be it for the scoring in the sixty-five minutes of hockey action as the teams' respective goaltenders, Connor Knapp for Reading and Mac Carruth for Indy, rejected repeated bids to break through-particularly from the Royals who generated more than forty shots on goal for the third time in the last four games. Ultimately, this one needed the shootout, where the Royals were pretty much perfect, scoring on three of the team's four attempts, while Knapp was completely perfect, stopping all three shootout attempts he faced, to notch his twenty-fourth win of the year.

For the Royals, the win snapped a three game losing streak and pushed the Royals overall record to 45-22-4-296, the third best regular season record in team history. However, this year, ninety-six points in the standings gets you third place in the East Division of the Eastern Conference of the ECHL and a first round best-of-seven playoff series against the South Carolina Stingrays, starting next Friday (April 17) at North Charleston Coliseum.

Indy struck 6:59 into the first period when Royals' forward Pat Mullane was dropped on the end wall in the defensive zone on a heavy hit from behind. The Reading skaters on the ice appeared to react as if they felt that a penalty would be forthcoming against the Fuel, In fact, defenseman Maxim Lamarche went to the aid of Mullane, which was commendable but took him out of the play. However, when no call was made, the Royals suddenly found themselves out of position and outnumbered in front of their net, as the Fuel's Niklas Lindberg gained possession of the puck and floated from below the goal line to a spot in the low left slot where he was wide open and all alone. Knapp had to focus on Lindberg, and when he did, Lindberg deftly slipped a cross-crease pass to Nick Jones, who pinched off the right point, settled the weak-side feed, and buried it bar-down for his seventh of the year.

Reading tied the game 11:41 into the second off the rush. Sean Wiles took a feed from David Marshall neutral zone and came flying down the left wing side into the offensive zone. The pursuing back-checkers came hot after him, but Wiles was able to shake them by stopping up short on the left-half wall. Wiles then hit Maxim Lamarche, who was entering the zone as part of the second wave, with a drop pass at the right point. Lamarche settled and moved a stride closer to the top of the right circle where he uncorked a laser that just caught the top left corner of the net for his ninth of the year.

The teams traded chances from that point forward with both goaltenders making any number of quality saves on numerous Grade-A chances all the way through the overtime session; but, since neither team could break through, this one required the skills competition for resolution. The Royals shooters were on tonight, as three of the four hit pay-dirt (Ryan Cruthers, first) (Pat Mullane, second) and (Adam Hughesman, fourth), while Connor Knapp stopped all three shots he faced to run his personal record to 3-1 in the skills competition this season.

After the game, the Royals announced the teams season ending Fan's Choice Awards as follows: (i) Most Valuable Player: Cam Reid; (ii) Defenseman of the Year: Maxim Lamarche; (iii) Sportsmanship Award: Jordan Heywood; (iv) Dedication Award: Brett Flemming; and (v) Leadership Award: Bryant Molle. The Royals also recognized team's scoring leader, Olivier Labelle, with a special award.





Images from this story

Reading Royals vs. Indy Fuel
Reading Royals vs. Indy Fuel

(Brad Drey (Purdon House of Photography))
Reading Royals vs. Indy Fuel
Reading Royals vs. Indy Fuel

(Brad Drey (Purdon House of Photography))
Reading Royals vs. Indy Fuel
Reading Royals vs. Indy Fuel

(Brad Drey (Purdon House of Photography))
Reading Royals vs. Indy Fuel
Reading Royals vs. Indy Fuel

(Brad Drey (Purdon House of Photography))
  

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