Royals Earn Signature Shootout Win of Season vs. Wheeling, 3-2
Reading, PA - Down 2-0 midway through the second period, the Reading Royals came from behind to earn their signature win of the regular season and move two points back of the fourth and final North Division playoff spot, 3-2, in a shootout vs. the Wheeling Nailers Saturday at Santander Arena. The win is the Royals' 100th victory ever against the Nailers.
Reading forwards Alex Roos and Frank DiChiara scored in the first two rounds of the shootout and Jamie Phillips (20 saves, 2 GA) made consecutive denials in the skills competition to put Reading on a five-game point streak (4-0-0-1). His final block in the bottom of the second round against Zac Lynch helped Reading split the season series, four wins each, against Wheeling.
Josh MacDonald pulled Reading within one, 2-1, with 4:44 left in the second period. Frank DiChiara tied the game at two about eight minutes into the third, assisted by Adam Schmidt and Brayden Low. Reading out shot Wheeling, 42-22. Jordan Ruby blocked 39 shots in the shootout loss.
The Nailers gained a two-goal lead after a pair of first-period strikes from Winston Day Chief and Yushiroh Hirano.
Reading's next game is Wed., Apr. 3 vs. Maine at 7:00 p.m. The Royals have one home game remaining in the regular season, the season finale Apr. 6 vs. Adirondack at 7:00 p.m.
MacDonald opened the Royals scoring with a one timer that rocketed past a leaping Ruby with 4:44 left in the second. Corey Mackin passed to Chris McCarthy who dropped past the goal line and tossed a no-look pass to MacDonald in front of the net. MacDonald leads the team in goals this season (26). McCarthy tops the team in assists with 52, nearly double the helpers of the second-place Royal Adam Schmidt (27).
DiChiara tied the game for Reading at 7:41 of the third, pushing the puck past a sliding Nailers back checker and into the net after Dan Fick turned the puck over to Schmidt and Low. DiChiara received a pass from Schmidt at the goal line after Schmidt recovered a loose puck.
Reading out shot Wheeling, 16-4, in the third period.
Before the Royals' comeback, Wheeling took a 1-0 lead on a tap-home goal from Day Chief at 6:24 of the first period, his 101st as a professional. Cedric Lacroix fledged it across the top of the crease to the right post to earn the primary assist.
The Nailers scored again before the end of the first and led, 2-0, through one despite being out shot, 15-8. Hirano launched a one-timed slap shot by Phillips and beat him to the left post.
Reading went 0-for-4 on the power play and killed all three Nailers man-up opportunities.
Regular Season Finale
Sat., Apr. 6: FANdemonium with prize giveaways at 7:00 p.m. vs. Adirondack
1) The Royals will hand out prizes to fans at every stoppage in play!
2) Season Ticket Holder jersey off our backs
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