Stingrays fall 4-3 in overtime in their home opener.
Royals Set a Franchise Record in SO (10 W’s!), While Hershey Falls to Pens
Reading Royals players celebrate win number ten in a row, and it feels GOOD! (All Photos Credit: M. Richter)
This year, the night before American Thanksgiving saw both of the Capitals affiliates in action on home ice. While Hershey fell to their division rivals the WBS Penguins 4-0 in their fourth meeting of the season (and the departure of Washington Head Coach & Temporary Hershey Co-Coach Adam Oates), things were arguably even more interesting up the road in Reading.
Tonight saw the Reading Royals‘ only scheduled visit from the South Carolina Stingrays this season, in a match which pitted the two role-reversed teams against each other. It ended 5-4 in a shootout, earning Reading their tenth consecutive win – a franchise record, and a turn-around that was badly needed following their 1-5-0-0 season start.
By all rights, the game never should have gone to a shootout – Reading ended the first period 2-0, and improved to 3-0 at 7:08 of the second period. Unfortunately, the Stingrays got on the board :33 seconds later, and the tone of the game settled down into more of a weary grind accented by brief flashes of full-rink ping-pong. By the time the final horn sounded, the Stingrays had managed to claw their way back to a 4-4 tie, forcing first overtime and then the standard 5-round shootout.
Notables for Win #10:
– Evan Barlow, who was picked up in a trade with the San Francisco Bulls six days ago, had two of the four regulation goals for Reading. He’s earned eight points (4 goals, 4 assists) in nine periods since joining the Royals.
– Caps Prospect & ECHL Goaltender of the Week for Nov 12-18 Philipp Grubauer has been in net for 8 out of 10 of the serial wins, including tonight’s record-breaking victory. He gave up 4 goals on 31 shots in regulation, and two goals in five rounds of the shootout.
– Stanislav Galiev & Barry Almeida both joined the Royals from Hershey in time for Wednesday night’s game. Almeida recorded an assist on the third Reading goal. Galiev ended the night with a single shot on goal and four penalty minutes (both for slashing).
– Kirk MacDonald (Assists Ian O’Connor & Bryant Molle) & Denny Urban (Almeida) had the two other regulation goals for Reading. David Marshall, Denny Urban, & Yannick Tifu (GWG) all scored in the shootout.
– The game had a notably low fight count, with only a single altercation in the first period (MacDonald v. Alexander Beauregard, following a hit to Reading’s Bryant Molle).
– Head Coach Larry Courville’s one notable superstition for this (and all) winning streaks: he’s worn the same suit to every game. Thankfully, it’s been cleaned at least once since Halloween.
The Royals play again on Black Friday night, hosting the Greenville Road Warriors at 7:05 and the Evansville Icemen on Saturday at the same time. The Hershey Bears visit the Adirondack Phantoms on Saturday at 7:00, and then host the Toronto Marlies on Sunday at 5:00.
For those who don’t track the ECHL diligently, a quick note on the pertinent affiliations:
During the 2011-12 season, the Reading Royals served as ECHL affiliate for the Boston Bruins (and Toronto Maple Leafs). In that same window, the Stingrays were affiliated with the Caps. Summer of 2012 saw a functional allegiance swap from the parent teams, with the Caps scoring a deal with the ECHL team that’s geographically closest to both the Caps themselves and the Hershey Bears.