Reading, PA– The Reading Royals of the ECHL (46-19-3-3=98, 1st Atlantic Conference, 1st Eastern Conference), affiliate of the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League and the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League, were defeated by the Trenton Titans at Sovereign Center in Reading, Pennsylvania, 6-4. The Royals scored at fifteen seconds into the first period but then Trenton scored twice to take a 2-1 lead at the end of the first period. Two more Trenton goals in the second period put the Royals down 4-1 at the end of the second. This set the stage for Reading’s intense comeback effort in the third but their efforts, hampered by penalties, fell short.
Reading’s Kirk MacDonald scored his sixteenth of the year right off the face-off to start play. Trenton’s Mike Ulrich tied it up at 7:52 of the first and took the lead for good with a short-handed goal by Kory Nagy at 14:47. The Titans Shane Harper got his first of the game 4:15 into the second period which was followed by Nagy’s second goal of the game at 12:26 to gain the 4-1 lead. Reading goaltender Brandon Anderson who got his first start since February 23 (no decision, 14/18, 40:00), was injured late in the second period but finished the period.
Royals two time Reebok ECHL Goaltender of the week, Riley Gill (loss, 10-3-0-0, 14/15, 18:29) came on in relief at the start of the third period and the Royals responded with back-to-back goals from Barry Almeida and Stan Galiev to pull within one, just four minutes into the final period. But the Titans got what proved to be the game winner—and made Gill the hard-luck loser—when Shane Harper punched in a rebound at 11:27 into the third for his second goal of the game.
Reading didn’t give up, however, drawing within one on at 5-4 on Almeida’s second power play goal of the night with just 27.2 seconds left in regulation with the goaltender pulled and the sixth attacker on the ice. Reading generated another scoring chance on a point blank look from Kirk MacDonald with just 16.8 seconds left; but Trenton’s Scott Wedgewood (win, 20-21-3-2, 25/29) made a brilliant stop to reject the bid to tie things up. The Titans’ Jesse Todd hit an empty netter with just 9.1 seconds left to seal the win.
The Titans, who stretched their winning streak to four games, snapped the Royals eight game win streak and prevented the Royals from reaching the 100 points in the standings for the first time in team history.
Reading, who last week clinched 1st in the Atlantic Conference, and 1st in the Eastern Conference, are tentatively scheduled to start the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at the Sovereign Center in Reading, PA, on Friday, April 5, and Saturday, April 6. More information is available at 610-898-7825 and through the Royals website: www.royalshockey.com.