The Reading Royals may have met a tough defeat on Sunday night, but they came out with desperation last night. With the South Carolina Stingrays leading the series 3-2, the Royals knew they had to win this game. From the beginning of the first period, the Royals seemed to have picked up their game and were playing to their full potential. The first period went scoreless, but the Royals were just getting warmed up.
The second period, unfortunately, began with South Carolina’s forward Joe Devin scoring at just 1:27 into the period after goalie Connor Knapp rejected a shot from Sean Dolan. This didn’t seem to crush the Royals spirit one bit as they would quickly come back and score three goals in a matter of three minutes.
The first goal came from Cam Reid at 2:15 when he fired a snapshot on the short side that was too fast for Stingray goalie Jeff Jakaitis to stop. The Royals second goal came just 31 seconds later from forward Andrew Johnston. After a strong-willed attack on the net, Johnston picked up the rebound and fired the puck past Jakaitis for what would prove to be the game winning goal.
At 4:04 Stingray forward Patrick Gaul picked up a two minute minor for slashing. This gave the Royals an advantage that they quickly capitalized on. By 4:51 Cam Reid was picking up his second goal of the night by once again slipping one by Jakaitis.
From this point the Royals seemed to become a new power play team. Throughout the season the Royals have struggled to capitalize on many of their power play chances, but that was not the case last night. The Royals would pick up two more power play goals before the nights end.
At 17:06 and 18:26 Adam Comrie scored back-to-back nearly identical shots from the right point. This would bring the score to 5-1. Both of these goals were scored on power plays thanks to a hooking call on defenseman Drew MacKenzie and an interference call on defenseman Marcus Perrier.
The Royals outshot the Stingrays 18-5 in the second period and their efforts definitely paid off. Before the period’s end, South Carolina would also trade out goalie Jeff Jakaitis for Clay Witt. The impending doom of the Stingrays was in becoming apparent. According to the Reading Eagle Coach Larry Courville commented,
“I don’t know that we’ve ever scored five goals in a period all season. It was the response we wanted. It was the response we needed. We had our backs against the wall, we were down 1-0 in the game, down 3-2 in the series. I just like the way we were not going home today. I hope we have the same mentality (tonight).”
The Royals were not up by four, but they weren’t ready to say goodnight just yet. Although the beginning of the third was slower than the second, forward David Marshall would score one more goal before the nights end. After defenseman Mike Marcou’s shot was denied by Witt, forward David Marshall picked it up in the crease and backhanded it into the net for the final goal of the night.
This series has turned out to be a real roller coaster ride for both teams during this playoff series. After the 5th game of the series forward Ryan Cruthers commented, “It’s been a real playoff series. It’s been real good. It’s been a lot of fun. As far as the ups and downs, it’s part of it, but we’ve been really good at coming back the next day and putting things behind us” After a tough loss in game 5 and coming back with a powerhouse win like last nights, Cruthers words definitely seem to sum up this playoff series.
The Royals will face off against the Stingrays later tonight for the final game of the series. Whoever takes this game will advance to the next round and take on the Florida Everblades. The Everblades beat the Solar Bears in 6 games recent and finished second in the Eastern Conference. Tonight is sure to be an exciting game as two teams battle for a chance at the cup.