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Royals Honor Veterans, Take First Spot in Atlantic Division
Capitals prospect Brandon Anderson stopped 32 of 33 shots in Saturday’s Veterans’ Night game. (All Photos Credit: M. Richter)
Through two periods, the Trenton Titans just couldn’t crack him. Despite not having played since October 26, Brandon Anderson stood up to the Titans steadily ramped up efforts, leading the Reading Royals to a 4-1 win— their fifth in a row and fourth over Trenton.
“You don’t think you let it effect your play, just keep playing the way you are and you’ll be successful and get rewarded if you do,” said the 20-year-old goaltender of the 50-minute shutout.
Before the game, the final seconds of the 1980 “Miracle” Olympic game were shown on the Sovereign Center big-screen after 2,000 camo jerseys had been given out at the door in celebration of Veterans Night and Veterans’Day weekend. Players (and mascots) also wore red, white and blue specialty jerseys.
The Royals were consistently outshot through all three periods, but an early two-goal lead stole momentum the Titans were trying to build. Goals from assistant captain Kirk MacDonald and David Vallorani within 31 seconds of each other forced Trenton coach Vince Williams to burn his timeout less than five minutes into the game.
After a 1-5-0-0 start, the Royals now have scored first in five of their six wins, a product of a more comfortable and settled team. “I think now that we’re coming together as a team, getting pucks deep, getting pucks to the net, it’s been working well,” noted Vallorani who seemed to be searching for his second professional goal in the same period as his first.
The match also marks a season high in penalty minutes in a game for Reading with 62 between both teams. Captain Yannick Tifu was involved in the first of three (official) fights–his first of the year–after the Royals had a 2-0 lead. The end of the period saw the Titans trailing 3-0 after a goal from defenseman Denny Urban.
Adam Comrie scored Reading’s final goal in the second period, the defenseman’s second of the year.
Despite being down 4-0, the Titans came out aggressive in the third period, eventually leading to a powerplay tally from forward Pier-Olivier Morin.
“It means a lot because of the start we had…I think we have a bunch of character guys in that room [that] realize that they had to play better and commit to playing different roles,” said coach Larry Courville of the team breaking .500 for first time this season. As a result of Saturday’s win, the team, after lingering in the Atlantic Divisi0n’s basement, sits in first place, just edging out the Elmira Jackals.
After an injury Friday night to goalie Scott Wedgewood, the Titans signed New Jersey native Eric Swanick to an emergency contract to back up Nick Hovinen.
The Royals face the Titans 10 more times this year, including Sunday afternoon in Reading.
A few more examples of the weekend’s specialty jerseys, due to be auctioned off on Sunday: