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Top Five Memories of Royals’ Affiliation With Caps
As Caps fans mourn the loss of ECHL affiliate Reading Royals (to the Flyers – DOUBLE UGH), Caps Outsider has compiled the Top 5 Memories the Royals have given us.
5. Goalie Fight
No fight is more exciting in hockey than when goalie duke it out, and the Reading Royals gave you just that this past season. During the Royals’ Pink in the Rink night, goaltender Brandon Anderson dropped the glove and blocker with Evansville’s Mike Clemente in a 4-1 win. In what was already a special night, a goalie on goalie fight made it that much better even with no clear cut winner.
The Reading Royals may have not been able to win the Kelly Cup without the incredible play of goaltender Riley Gill. Gill signed with the Royals at the tail end of the 2012-13 season and came in hot, posting a 1.28 GAA and a 95.2 SV% in 14 games before the Royals entered into the playoffs. He then backed up those numbers in 17 games in the playoffs, putting up a 1.91 GAA and a 93 SV% while going 13-3-1 to help the Royals win the Cup. The next season he went on to sign an AHL contract with the Hershey Bears and even suited up for a few games, while posting dazzling numbers yet again with a 1.66 GAA and a 94.8 SV%.
During the Royals’ illustrious Cup run, they debuted a couple of unique jerseys as a salute to their parent team, the Washington Capitals. They rocked Caps-themed Royals jerseys for a couple of games in the 2013 playoffs as well as one game during the 2013-14 season. They were quite the eye catcher during those few games and went quick when they were put up for auction.
The beginning of the first year of affiliation with the Caps was an odd one, since the first half of the NHL season didn’t even happen due to the NHL lockout. This left the Caps in an awkward spot as there was no preseason and they were starting the beginning of the season with an entirely new coaching staff. Then they came up with the great idea to scrimmage against their affiliates in order to get some in game practice before the shortened season started. Although this game turned into an 8-0 blowout in the Caps’ favor, it left a lot of the Royals players with memories that will last a lifetime as most of them most likely won’t get the chance to play in the NHL.
Undoubtedly the No. 1 best moment during the Royals’ affiliation with the Caps was when they hoisted the Kelly Cup for the first time in their team’s history. After finding their starting goalie with about 20 games to go in the regular season, the Royals caught fire and went 16-5-1, with three of those losses in a seven game series against the Florida Everblades, to win the 2013 Kelly Cup. Notable players on the playoff team were Stanislav Galiev, Patrick Wellar, and Brett Flemming.