(Source: Purdon Photography: Royalshockey.com)

After the turkey dinner Thursday, the Reading Royals had a chance to burn off all those calories this weekend with a Friday and Saturday block against the Greenville Road Warriors. The two teams were evenly matched with the Warriors in fourth place in the Eastern Division and the Royals in fifth place. Connor Knapp was the starting goaltender for both games. Coach Larry Courville had been alternating between Knapp and Martin Ouellette in previous games, but Ouellette was called up to the Phantoms after amassing a streak where he went unbeaten in five straight games with a record of 3-0-1-1.

Friday

1st
In the first period the Royals took a 1-0 lead over the Road Warriors. Halfway through the period Reading saw their first chance to take the lead at 13:39 when defenseman Ryan Hegarty was sent to the box for a high-sticking minor. Unfortunately, the Royals could not make use of their one man advantage. However, fifteen seconds after Greenville was back to full strength, forward Kevin Walrod shot one past Warriors goalie Jason Missiaen to give the Royals a 1-0 lead.

2nd
In the second period the Road Warriors tried to catch up, but the Royals just took a greater lead. Right off the bat at 2:21 into the period, Royals forward Olivier Labelle increased Reading’s lead to 2-0 by slipping one in after Missiaen blocked newcomer Willie Coetzee’s shot. Two minutes later, the Road Warriors retaliated; left wing Emerson Clark found the puck in the neutral zone, took it to the Royals goal crease, and slipped one under Knapp for Greenville’s first goal of the night.

The next goal came about halfway through the period when Pat Mullane and David Marshall came down on a two on one break. Mullane dished a perfect pass to Marshall who beat Greenville goalie Missiaen with a nice backhand shot. The Royals regained their two goal lead, 3-1. The third goal for the Royals came late in the second period at 18:02. Newcomer Willie Cotezee sank one in the net after his teammate Pat Mullane was denied by Missiaen.

3rd
The third period opened with the Road Warriors trying to catch up to the Royals. At 3:31 Greensville defenseman Andrew Himelson got his first goal of the season after the puck bounced off a Royals player and landed in front of the net. Himelson quickly spotted it and backhanded it into the net to bring the Royals lead back to two. About four minutes later, the Royals would rebuild their three goal lead. Forward Sean Wiles scored his third of the season on a breakaway to make the score 5-2 where it would stay for the rest of the night.

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(Source: Purdon Photography: Royalshockey.com)

Saturday

1st
The Royals game on Saturday night ended much like their affiliate’s game ended a few hours earlier. After the Philadelphia Flyers lost 5-2 to the New York Rangers, the Royals got off to a poor start as well. Greenville got their revenge from Friday night’s game and scored two goals in the first period. The first goal came at 5:38 after Knapp deflected a shot by Greenville defenseman Ryan Hegarty, but left the puck in front of the net for forward Shawn O’Donnell to knock it in. About three minutes later, O’Donnell sank another one in the net for his second goal of both the game and the season.

2nd
The second period turned out no better for the Royals; in fact it was worse. The Road Warriors took a remarkable 7-1 lead over the Royals by the end of the period. Right off the bat, at just 1:22 into the period, the Road Warriors brought their lead to three goals. While the Royals were in their offensive zone, left wing Adam Hughesman got hit by a shot in the back of his leg. This left Greenville with an advantage as the two teams made their way to the other side of the ice. Greenville right wing Trevor Parkes quickly made his way to the net on a breakaway and shot one over Knapp’s glove for Greenville’s third goal of the night.

At this point, the Royals realized they needed to step up their game. They were able to get one goal to try and close the Road Warrior’s lead, but Greenville would answer with four more goals to create and overwhelming lead over the Royals. Just one minute after Parkes’ goal Royals newcomer Brandon Alderson went wide and fired one past Greenville’s goalie Jeff Malcolm for Reading’s first goal of the night.

Within the next six minutes of play, Greenville fired shot after shot to accumulate four more goals which gave them a 7-1 lead going into the third period. These goals were scored by right wing Paul Rodrigues, right wing Vinny Saponari who now leads his team in goals, and two by center Tyler Brown. At this point Royals coach was likely wishing his only other contracted goalie Martin Ouelette had not been called up to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

3rd
In between periods, the emergency backup goalie Peter Dundovich signed an ECHL Standard Player’s Contract and came out to play in the third period. “I was actually pulled out of retirement,” Dundovich stated. He was previously a practice goalie for the Philadelphia Flyers and had recently been coaching at the Goalie Academy. Dundovich was excited to play again, “It was just a thrill, you know. You get older and you get wiser. You learn to just enjoy the game and have fun.” Overall, he thought he played well and was happy to be back in the game.

The third period opened with even more trouble for the Royals. Just 48 seconds into the period, Greenville’s Trevor Parkes stormed in to claim his second goal of the game after a two on one rush with Vinny Saponari. Luckily for the Royals, this was Greenville’s last goal of the night. Reading was able to score two more goals before the buzzer sounded Saturday night. The first of these two came at 4:56 when forward David Marshall passed the puck off to forward Pat Mullane who fired one into the net to make the score 8-2. At 8:19 the Royals were given another scoring opportunity after Road Warrior’s defenseman Charles-Oliver Roussel was sent to the box for a cross-checking minor. The Royals took advantage of the power play and scored at 8:41 when defenseman Adam Comrie fired one past Jason Missiaen for the final goal of the night.

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(Source: Purdon Photography: Royalshockey.com)

What’s Next?
The Royals will take on the Toledo Walleye this Thursday, December 4th at Santander Arena. Toledo is currently ranked 3rd in the conference while the Royals are ranked 7th. The last time the Royals faced the Walleye in Toledo, the game ended with the Royals winning in a shootout. The following weekend, the Royals will take on the South Carolina Stingrays on the 6th and 7th. The Stingrays are currently ranked 10th in the conference.

The Royals need to put this game behind them and just work on winning their next few games. Coach Larry Courville talks about what the team needs to do to move on, “Well, when you wake up in the morning usually the sun comes up right? You forget about this one. You review the video and you correct your mistakes. You can’t dwell on this game. You move forward.”

It may have taken Erin a while to realize that the Flyers logo was P with wings, but that doesn't make her any less of a fan. Erin is a Professional Writing major at Penn State Berks, and with a hockey playing father who grew up in Philly, she was introduced to hockey at a young age. The Flyers are not the ones who sealed Erin’s love of hockey though. It was the Reading Royals from the ECHL. Since their very first game in 2001, she began to enjoy attending their games, especially since she got to sit right behind the glass and next to the penalty box. Today Erin enjoys watching the Reading Royals, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and the Philadelphia Flyers play as well as writing, listening to classic rock and occasionally playing some volleyball.

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