Historic season hangs by a thread.
Royals Steal OT Win in Purple Caps-Inspired Jerseys
Some very relieved Reading Royals celebrate their first win of the Championships (All Photos Credit: M. Richter).
In hopes of replicating their first round success, the Reading Royals again took to the ice in specialty jerseys – this time purple, with “Royals” printed in now-familiar Capitals script. There are two sets of the jerseys, one to be sold via Meigray and the other to be pre-sold tomorrow morning on a first come/first served basis.
While the results were just as good in the end, the sailing wasn’t quite as smooth as their first experiment with Caps-themed jerseys back in April. Tonight was still a one-goal win, but the end score was 6-5 instead of 1-0, and it took 9:42 of overtime to get there.
The game itself was full of energy, featuring a call-and-response goal scoring pattern that kept everyone engaged as the clock wound down. It culminated in the Royals blowing two separate one-goal leads within the last five minutes of regulation – each with an incredibly short turn around. The first time, the Royals held the lead for 18 seconds. Four minutes later, they managed to hold the lead for 26 seconds (Stockton scored with :21 left in regulation to force OT).
The setbacks were frustrating for all concerned, but Captain Yannick Tifu had nothing but good things to say about his teammates’ state of mind after the two blown leads. “In the locker room [before OT], guys were talking positive. It was not like guys had their head between their legs – They wanted to go and take that game.”
Since there were so many, here’s the quick & dirty breakdown for the night’s goals. Stockton tallies are in italics.
First Period: Ethan Cox (Julian Cayer & Dustin Stevenson) @ 3:27. Shawn Weller (Nathan Deck & Tony DeHart) @ 7:32.
Second Period: T.J. Syner (Nikita Kashirsky & Mark Mitera) @ 1:24. Harrison Reed (Matt Bergland) @ 10:01 (PP).
Third Period: Matt Reber @ 6:27. Yannick Tifu (Patrick Wellar & Evan Barlow) @ 9:18. Nikita Kashirsky (Tifu & Syner) @ 14:50. Nathan Deck (Ryan Hayes & Andrew Clark) @ 15:08. Alex Berry (Barlow & Kirk MacDonald) @ 19:12 (PP). Eric Hunter (Clark & Reed) @ 19:38.
OT: Nikita Kashirsky (Syner & Tifu) @ 9:42.
Goaltender Stats: Despite the high score, both goaltenders had a hand in stealing the game at various points. While Reading’s Riley Gill stopped 25 of 30 shots, Stockton’s Olivier Roy blocked whopping 43 of 49. The high shot count reflects a comforting return when it comes to Reading’s offensive pressure, as their traditionally high shots on goal had dropped off during the Conference Finals v. the Cincinnati Cyclones.
Both Brett Flemming and Dustin Stevenson played in tonight’s game for Reading. Stanislav Galiev, who has been sidelined for the last two weeks due to injury, resumed skating three days ago and is reported to be “possible” to return before the end of the series.
The Royals play again tomorrow at 4:05 in Reading. Due to ECHL playoff travel formats, it will be their last home game until the possible Game Six on Tuesday, May 28th, at 7:05.