Royals Fall In Tight Battle With Johnstown, 2-1
Reading, PA - The Reading Royals (5-15-1= 11; 7th North Division) of the ECHL dropped their sixth straight game in a hard fought battle at the Sovereign Center in Reading, Pennsylvania, to the Johnstown Chiefs, 2-1. The loss marked the ninth consecutive win for the Chiefs over the Royals (0-7-2) dating back to February 1, 2008. The Royals scored the game's first goal, but Johnstown bounced back with a pair of power play goals in the second to pick up their league leading fifteenth win (15-5-1=31, 1st North Division). Goaltender Danny Taylor (loss, 3-13-1; 26/28) played well, but sustained his fifth consecutive loss; while the Chiefs' Ian Keserich (win, 4-3-1; 34/35) beat the Royals for the second time this year. The Royals lone goal came on a five-on-three power play, and the team went one for five with the man advantage; the Chiefs went two for five on the power play.
Reading struck first 15:47 into the opening period, while playing with a five-on-three skater advantage. The Royals' Kirk MacDonald fed defenseman Steve Ward at the left point. Ward fired a low shot that Keserich stopped with the stick; but the rebound slipped to the top of the crease, where Mac Faulkner battled for the put-back to notch his team leading eighth goal of the season. Johnstown tied the game at the 3:36 mark of the second on their third power play chance of the night. The Chiefs' Trevor Henkrikx broke from the defensive end and fed Ryan Del Monte, who in turn dished to Randy Rowe on the left wing side as they entered the offensive zone. Rowe uncorked a blast just below the top of the left circle that beat Taylor high to glove side for his eighth of the season. 3:15 later, on the Chiefs' next power play chance, Johnstown got what proved to be the game winner. Four seconds into the power play chance, the Chiefs won an offensive zone face-off to defenseman Mike Knight, who stepped into the high slot and ripped another blast that beat Taylor to the upper right corner of the net. The Royals did not go away lightly, fighting to the bitter end; but the team was not able to bag the equalizer and dropped their fourth straight game at the Sovereign Center.
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