It's Army-Navy week in the region, and the rivalry was renewed with...
Royals Release Yannick Tifu Bobblehead (Yay), Fall to Komets 7-2 (Boo)
The bobblehead of Royals Captain Yannick Tifu, complete with Kelly Cup and scruffy facial hair (All Photos Credit: M. Richter).
In the grand sports tradition of ridiculous swag, the Kelly Cup Champion Reading Royals gave away Captain Yannick Tifu bobbleheads to the first 2,000 fans at tonight’s game. The little guy comes complete with a miniature version of the Kelly Cup and surprisingly accurate facial hair.
Unfortunately, the bobblehead was by far the highlight of the evening – the Royals fell to the visiting Fort Wayne Komets by a whopping 7-2, managing to give up goals at even strength, on the penalty kill, and while on the power play. It was just one of those nights where nothing seemed to click, a situation exacerbated by the number of new faces on the roster due to injuries and call-ups. Goaltender Brandon Anderson got the worst of it between the pipes, logging just 24 saves on 31 shots.
After being run for the second time this evening, Anderson’s frustration boiled over and he went after Fort Wayne’s Mickey Lang in an effort that would have been assessed as “Fighting” if he weren’t the goalie (instead, he and Lang each earned a minor penalty – Roughing and Goaltender Interference, respectively). It set off a flurry of altercations, leading to an eventual three bouts and two goals for the Komets during a 70 second window in the third period.
Credit where it’s due, Louie Caporusso got the Royals on the board late in the second period and managed to shrink the gap in the score to a manageable two goals for almost ten minutes of game play (assisted by T.J. Syner and Ryan Cruthers). Ned Lukacevic (the only Royals player to end the night with a positive +/-) had the other Reading goal, scored midway through the third period with help from Cruthers and Tifu. Despite these efforts, the Royals ended the night a collective -23. In contrast, the Komets had two different players with two goal nights – Brandon Marino and Chris Auger – and closed things out with a collective +22.
The Royals currently sit eighth in the ECHL’s Eastern Conference, balanced right on the playoff bubble after hitting the quarter-season mark (eighteen games played). They’re at home for the next week, hosting the Florida Everblades on Friday the 13th (free ice scraper night) and the Elmira Jackals on the 14th (also known as Ugly Sweater Jersey Night and Teddy Bear Toss Night).