Reading, PA– The Reading Royals of the ECHL, affiliate of the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League and the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League, were defeated in Game Six of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Semi-Final match-up against the Florida Everblades, 2-1, at Sovereign Center in Reading, Pennsylvania. The series is now tied three games apiece with Game Seven set for Wednesday night, May 1 at 7:05 pm at the Sovereign Center. It marks the third time in team history that the Royals have gone to a Game Seven in a playoff series.
The Royals broke through first with just 49 seconds left in the second period when Alex Berry carried down the left wing side into the offensive zone, peeled off pressure and fired a diagonal down left-to-right pass to the waiting Joel Champagne at the right side of the Everblades’ crease. Champagne tapped a back-hand pass back against the grain to Barry Almeida, who was set up on the left side of the crease for the easy stuff behind Florida goaltender, Jesse Deckert (win, 7-3-1, 26/27).
Florida came back to win with back-to-back third period goals separated by only ninety seconds. On the first, defenseman Mike Cornell shot from the right point, and Adam Brace redirected the puck from the middle of the ice just below the hash-marks back against the grain to the right side of the net by Riley Gill (loss, 4-2-0, 26/28) for his sixth of the playoff season 10:23 into the period. The Everblades got the game winner 11:53 into the third on a scramble around the net. Mike Ratchuk took a shot out of the right circle. The puck fluttered over Gill towards the Royals’ net. Adam Brace, who was at the left side of the crease, knocked the puck down out of mid-air, and it settled in a spot where Leigh Salters slipped it into the net. The referee ruled that the puck was not played with a high stick and the goal counted. Reading pushed down the stretch and created a point blank chance to tie with less than forty seconds remaining, but Deckert made a great glove stop to preserve the win.
Royals’ playoff ticket information is available at 610-898-7825 and through the Royals website: www.royalshockey.com.