Royals Complete Come Back with Shootout Win Over Toledo, 5-4
Reading Bags Three Down the Stretch to Get to the Team’s First Shootout Win at Sovereign Center
March 9, 2012
Reading, PA – The Reading Royals of the ECHL (28-26-3-4=63, 3rd Atlantic Division), affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League and the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League, defeated the Toledo Walleye (26-28-2-4=58, 4th North Division), 5-4, in a shootout at Sovereign Center in Reading, Pennsylvania. The Royals rang off three straight in the third to come back from a 4-1 deficit and ultimately get to a shootout, where Reading bagged the only goal—and the two points. This marked the first shootout win of the year for Reading at Sovereign Center this season—with the lone shootout goal being the first that the Royals have scored (in nineteen attempts) in Reading all season long.
Goaltender Mark Owuya (win, 9-3-2-1, 21/25 in 64:34 and 5/5 in shootout) was perfect in the shootout and picked up his team leading ninth win of the year. Alec Richards (sol, 6-4-0-1 in 65:00 and 4/5 in shootout) sustained his first shootout loss of the year. Reading was unable to capitalize on five chances with the man advantage (0-5). Toledo built a 4-1 lead early in the third period with a power play goal by former Royal Todd Griffith (1-5); but the Royals’ penalty kill knocked off a critical chance with the man advantage for the Walleye in overtime.
Toledo struck 5:55 into the game, when a neutral zone turnover, allowed the Walleye’s Kyle Rogers to take possession and carry to the top of the right circle, where he uncorked a bullet through Owuya for his twentieth of the year. The Walleye took a 2-0 lead 15:28 into the first when another turnover directly in front of the Royals’ net allowed Derek Brochu to step in and take a wild swipe, drilling the puck top shelf for his second of the season.
Twenty-four seconds later, however, the Royals Kyle Neuber got Reading on the board. Matt Caruana, who had been responsible for the turnover resulting in Toledo’s second goal, stole the puck from the Walleye and fed Neuber in the high slot. Neuber uncorked a hot bullet over the glove hand of Richards for his second of the year.
With just 1:04 left in the second, the Walleye extended their lead to 3-1 when David Toews made a power move deep down the left wing side and slide a pass back towards the top of the crease, where a crashing Brochu beat everyone to the puck re-directing it up and over Owuya for his second of the night and third of the season.
Toledo built a three goal gap (4-1) 2:58 into the third period with a power play goal by the former Royal Griffith, who took a feed from Brian Main in the left circle and smashed it through Owuya for his fifteenth of the year. However, once again, the Royals got a bounce-back goal from Neuber thirty-eight seconds later. Chris Doyle, playing in his first game as a Royal, carried down the left side and ripped a low, hard shot on net. Richards made a stick stop, but the rebound went straight to Neuber, who was crashing on the right side. He gunned it home for his second of the game and third of the season.
Reading drew within one (4-3) with 6:23 remaining in regulation while the two teams were playing four aside. Yannick Tifu settled with the glove wide on the left side at the offensive blue line, carried into the left circle and fed cross-ice to Kenny Ryan, who finished off the weak side for his eleventh of the year.
With time ticking down and the sixth attacker on the ice, Ryan finished again—this time after a wild scramble in and around the Toledo net to tie the game at four. The red light went on, but there was some question as to whether the puck crossed the goal line. The referee conferred with the linesmen and awarded the dramatic game-tying goal to the Royals with 53.5 seconds left in regulation.
After a scoreless overtime, during which Reading had to kill off a four-on-three power play for Toledo, the two teams went to a shootout. The Royals shot first and no one scored until Matt Caruana, shooting fifth, bagged the first shootout goal of the season for Reading at the Sovereign Center. (The other Reading shooters were: Yannick Riendeau, Olivier Labelle, Yannick Tifu, and Kenny Ryan.) Owuya rejected all five bids from the Walleye (which came from Andrej Nestrasil, Todd Griffith, Kris Belan, Harrison Reed, and Joey Martin) to register his first shootout win as a Royal.
The Royals are back in action tomorrow night (Saturday, March 10, 2012 @ 7:05 pm) when the Trenton Titans visit the Sovereign Center. The first 2500 fans in attendance will receive a Royals team trading card set courtesy of Rieck’s Printing. Saturday’s game night broadcast will start at 6:35 pm with the Red Robin Gourmet Burger Pre-Game Warm-up Show on ESPN Radio 1240 am in Reading. Streaming audio is available free of charge courtesy of America One through the Royals’ website, www.royalshockey.com.