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Royals Drop Third Straight One-Goal Decision, 3-2 to Indy

April 11, 2015 - ECHL (ECHL) - Reading Royals News Release

Reading, PA - The Reading Royals (loss, 44-21-4-294) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the American Hockey League, were defeated by the Indy Fuel (win, 31-30-4-672), 3-2, at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania.

In the first of a two-game season-ending set with the Indy Fuel, the Royals fell for the first time in seven tries against the Fuel (6-1-0-0), despite scoring first and battling back to tie things in the third. Reading ended up dropping the team's third one-goal decision in a row, when Indy's Peter Schneider snuck one between the legs of goaltender Martin Ouellette with just 2:44 left in regulation. The loss kept Reading in third place of the East, still one point behind the South Carolina Stingrays. The Royals and Stingrays will finish their respective regular seasons tomorrow with home ice advantage in the impending first round best-of-seven East Division Semi-Final Series between the two teams yet to be decided.

Tonight, Reading lost in regulation for only the second time this season when scoring the first goal on home ice, running the team's record to 30-6-0-2 overall and 15-2-0-2 at home when scoring the game's first goal. Reading bagged the opening salvo 2:41 into the game when Brandon Alderson was freed down the right wing side into the offensive zone on a feed from Ian Watters. Alderson powered his way behind the Indy net coming out on the left side of the cage where he slipped the puck to the mid-slot where Sean Wiles came charging down the middle and ripped a catch-and-release snapper that bulleted over the left arm of goaltender Mac Carruth for Wiles' twenty-fourth of the year.

Indy tied the game at one 3:24 into the second frame shortly after the Royals had created a scoring flurry in the offensive zone, but appeared disorganized coming back into the defensive zone to face a Fuel counter-punch. With Reading's defense scrambling, Garret Bembridge slipped a pass to the mid-slot to Kyle Stroh, who was cutting through the slot. It originally appeared that Stroh was going to shoot from just below the hash-marks directly in the middle of the ice, but he mishandled the puck, which worked to his advantage because goaltender Martin Ouellette committed to the ice in anticipation of what he thought was going to be a shot from the middle of the ice. However, as Stroh fumbled the puck it slid farther to the right where he had time to settle and calmly fire the puck into an essentially net because Ouellette was caught on the ice at the top of the crease-and the Reading defenders were not in a position to thwart the second bid.

Indy took their first lead of the game 9:06 into the second period on their second power play chance of the night. The Fuel worked the puck from the high slot to the top of the right circle to the interior portion of the left circle on passes by Nick Jones to Justin Holl to Stroh, who was waiting in the left circle for the cross-slot pass from Holl. Stroh ripped a perfect one-timer short-side on Ouellette for his second of the game and twenty-fifth of the season.

Reading tied the game 10:22 into the third period when Olivier Labelle set Kevin Walrod for a shot off the rush out of the left circle. Walrod's snap shot appeared to catch the stick of an Indy defender and rocket up and over the left shoulder of Carruth for Walrod's tenth of the year.

Undaunted, the Fuel took the two points on a late third-period tie-breaking game winner when Peter Schneider came charging down the left wing side and fired a shot that slipped through the legs of Ouellette; however, Ouellette got enough of that shot as it was trickling through his legs to cause it to angle just wide of the left pipe. Nonetheless, the Fuel continued to press, and Chris DeSousa retrieved the loose puck below the goal line, carried it to the right side of the Royals' net, and slipped a pass back up into the right circle, where a waiting Schneider took a second shot that slipped between Ouellette's legs-except that this one ended up in the net for Schneider's fourth of the year in his ninth game with the Fuel.

Despite a late game pulled-goaltender sixth attacker push, the come-back wasn't in the cards for the Royals, who dropped the team's third straight game in regulation for the third time this year-and the first time since early December (11/29 - 12/06/14).

NEXT UP FOR THE ROYALS Reading Royals v Indy Fuel @ Santander Arena - Reading, PA Friday, April 10, 2015 (7:30 pm Eastern Time)

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