Since the Royals last home game on January 19th, the Royals have amassed many accomplishments including, Cam Reid representing the team in the 2015 All-Star Games, achieving seven straight wins and moving up to second place in the Eastern Division. At the All-Star Games Reid competed and took second place in the hardest shot competition with a speed of 90 mph. He was only beaten by the very last competitor Yann Sauve of the Orlando Solar Bears, who walloped the puck at 92 mph. Once the games were over the Royals hit the road for five away games and beat South Carolina, Gwinnett, Evansville, Indy, and Cincinnati. On February 4th the Royals came back home in 2nd place hoping to continue their winning streak.
On Wednesday night the Royals faced off in a close game against the Wheeling Nailers who are currently ranked fifth in the Northern Division. Try as they might in the 1st period, neither team could get the puck over the goal line. Both the Royals goalie Connor Knapp and the Nailers goalie Eric Hartzell brought their A-game and blocked every shot. Connor Knapp would later go on to be selected as the star of the game.
In the second period the Royals finally broke through Hartzell’s defense to make the score 1-0. The Royals were short-handed at the time due to a tripping minor called on Jordan Heywood. The puck was originally in Wheeling’s possession when defenseman Morgan Ellis attempted to take a shot, but snapped his stick in half. Royals forward Pat Mullane stole the puck and promptly bolted for the net. The stickless Ellis tried to stop Mullane, but in the end was unsuccessful as Mullane’s shot slid past both him and Hartzell. In the second half, the Royals built their lead to two. At 13:18 Adam Hughesman scored his 15th of the season. After Olivier Labelle and Cam Reid passed the puck and positioned it in front of the crease, Hughesman adeptly tapped it in past Hartzell.
In the third Wheeling made a last attempt at reclaiming the game. At exactly eight minutes into the period, Nailer forward Josh Archibald scored. After Wheeling won the face off, their forward Riley Brace quickly found Archibald, who switly shot one into the upper corner of the net on the Connor Knapp’s stick side. Archibald was playing his first ECHL game after two seasons in the AHL with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Despite multiple attempts and outshooting the Royals 28-9 in the first two periods, the Nailers were not able to catch up to the Royals. Reading claimed their eight straight victory and sent Wheeling home defeated.
After winning eight straight games over the past three weeks, the Reading Royals rank second in the Eastern Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference. Away games seem to be the key to success for the Royals this season as all of these games except for Wednesday night’s game were played on the road. So far this season Reading has had a total of 16 wins on the road and only six losses. Their home record is 13 wins and nine losses.
The Royals have also been loaned forward Domenic Monardo from the AHL Springfield Falcons. Monardo played for the Reading last season and even picked up the Rookie of the Year award. Last season he also set a new record for most goals scored by a first-year pro. With his experience in the AHL, Monardo is sure to be a useful addition to the team.
The Royals will take on the Florida Everblades in three back-to-back games this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Florida is currently in first place in both the Eastern Division and the Eastern Conference. The Royals only trail them by three points though, so this weekend could potentially bring the Royals into 1st place if they continue their winning streak.