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(Source: Purdon Photography: Royalshockey.com)

After a tough 6-4 loss against Toledo Walleye on Thursday night, the Reading Royals set out on a mission to come out and beat the South Carolina Stingrays in back to back games this Saturday and Sunday. After a lot of back and forth between winning and losing this season, the fans were excited to see what this weekend’s turn out would be.

Saturday

1st

South Carolina took an early lead in the first. After a couple of close shots, the Stingrays finally sank the first goal of the night on a power play after Reading’s Adam Comrie was called for holding. The Stingray’s forward took advantage of the opportunity and scored his 7th goal of the season at 4:11. The second goal for South Carolina came on another power play after Kevin Walrod was sent to the box for for a high sticking minor. It was in the later half of the period that when the Stingray’s Braden Pimm jammed on under Royals goalie Connor Knapp. The Royals ended the period down by two.

2nd

At the beginning of the second period, the Stingray’s widened their lead to three. They took advantage of a four-on-three power play opportunity following a tripping minor penalty on Brandon Alderson (Royal Ryan Cruthers and Stingray Marcus Perrier still had time left on two minor penalties called at the end of the first). At just 1:08 into the period Wayne Simpson took his time to set up his shot and fire it past Connor Knapp’s glove. Now down by three, the Royals realized they needed to push harder if they wanted a chance to win the game. About halfway through the second period, the Royals finally scored their first goal after being fueled by a fight between Bryant Molle and Stingray Anthony Collins. Adam Hughesman broke South Carolina’s goalie Jeff Jakaitis‘ streak and took his chances of achieving his third shutout in a row.

3rd

The Royals started the 3rd period like the second, down by two. Regrettably, they allowed South Carolina to regain their three goal lead early in the third. After Knapp blocked a shot by Rob Bellamy, the puck slid in front of the right side of the net where Joe Devin tapped it in for a score of 4-1. The final goal of the night came from Royals forward Willie Coetzee, who shot one in about halfway through the period. This was his second goal of the season, but he has only played with the Royals in four games so far. The Royals were unable to score any more goals Saturday night. They left Santander Arena hoping to put the game behind them and get revenge on the Stingrays the following night.

 

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(Source: Purdon Photography: Royalshockey.com)

Sunday

1st

On Sunday night 2,809 fans entered the stadium hoping to see a better conclusion than the previous night’s game. It was Toys for Tots night and fans hoped to see an early goal for the Teddy Bear Toss. Sadly, they had to wait. The first period started slow until the first penalty came along at 5:15 when Michael Caruso got called for cross-checking giving South Carolina a one man advantage. Surprisingly David Marshall was able to make his way up to the Stingray’s defensive zone, but unfortunately his feet couldn’t carry him fast enough as a Stingray caught up with him and stole the puck.

The Royals got their chance with a one man advantage after Stingrays forward Caleb Herbert got called for high sticking just seconds after Royals’ forward Brandon Alderson and Stingrays’ Rob Bellamy were both called for roughing. This power play went goalless as the crowd was forced once again to hold onto their teddy bears for the Teddy Bear toss. All luck wasn’t lost, however, as Rob Bellamy got called back to the box about a minute later for a delay of game giving the Royals another chance. The Royals could not make use of this power play either as the score remained 0-0 for the rest of the period.

2nd

Like the first, the second period started slow. The Royals got a few shots on goal, but none of them were able to find the back of the net. At 10:15 the Royals got their third power play of the night. Joe Devin of South Carolina was called for a four minute double minor after high-sticking Royals forward Ryan Cruthers in the face. The next four minutes also went without any goals as the fans got antsy to through their teddy bears.

With two and a half minutes left in the period, Reading found their fourth power play of the night when Rob Bellamy got his third period of the night for tripping. With just 55.6 seconds left in the period the puck was bound just inches in front of the goal crease but Stingray goalie Brandon Anderson managed to get his glove over it. At 41.3 seconds left the Royals were given their best chance of the night: a two-man advantage after South Carolina defenseman Marcus Perrier was sent to the box for cross-checking. The second period ended still scoreless, but the Royals would start the third period with a 1:19 of power play time left.

3rd

At 1:38, just after the Stingray’s penalty expired, the fans saw their long-awaited Teddy Bear Toss. Royals forward David Marshall scored with assists from Adam Hughesman and Michael Caruso. Marshall later commented on his Teddy Bear Toss goal, “Yeah obviously it’s pretty neat. To be honest, I was excited that we finally had a lead in the game. To be honest, I mean, the teddy bear toss was great, but when you’re struggling like that and you score and then it’s like that layover of time. You know if goes to a good cause, but that layover time you get nervous, especially when you’re stringing shifts together in the last couple of weeks. You hope to keep the momentum going, but it worked out good. I think everyone jumped out pretty quick. There was a pretty quick turnover, but it was pretty neat. It was the first one I ever scored, I think, with the winner. You know, everything starts raining down, so it’s pretty neat.”

For the next few minutes the Royals pushed hard and kept the Stingray’s on their toes. This paid off at 7:30 when Adam Hughesman sunk one in the back of the net for the Royals second goal of the night. Soon after the Royals got their fifth power play of the night and yet another good scoring chance after South Carolina forward Joe Devin got two minutes for tripping. Unfortunately, at 12:46 Maxim Lamarche got called for interference giving the Stingrays a chance to try and catch up to the Royals 2-0 lead. Fortunately for the Royals, the South Carolina power play went goalless much like the rest of the other power plays throughout the night. With only 1:34 left in the game, South Carolina got desperate, called a timeout, and pulled their goalie. The game got rougher with a lot of hitting and digging against the boards as the teams tried to keep the puck from one another. In the end, neither team was able to score any more goals and the Royals went off with a victory to end their three-game losing streak.

 

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(Source: Purdon Photography: Royalshockey.com)

Martin Ouellette was selected as the number 1 star of the game by stopping a total of 24 shots and earning his first shutout as a professional. When asked how he feels Ouellette commented, “Obviously it’s great. Especially since we’ve had a couple of tough games this week. It’s great to have the whole team bounce back and get back on top. They played great in front of me and made my job pretty easy for most of the night. I think everyone is happy and pretty excited.” Overall, the entire team was excited for their first shutout of the season and are hoping to win more of the upcoming games.

What’s Next?
The Royals are now ranked 8th in the conference with a record of 10-8-1-1. They trail behind the Wheeling Nailers who they play next weekend three games in a row. On Friday and Saturday the teams will meet in Reading. On Saturday night the team will continue their Christmas tradition of wearing ugly sweater jerseys which will be sold online after the game. Then Sunday night they will travel to Wheeling for a 5 o’clock game. After that the Royals will be on the road for a while as they end their block of four straight weekend back-to-back home games. They will not play at home again until December 27th when they face the Elmira Jackals.

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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