Royals Win Game 4 with 3rd Playoff Shutout, Tifu & Syner Pile Up the Goals

Posted April 12, 2013

Rookie forward T.J. Syner, shown here during Game 1 v. Greenville (Photo Credit: M. Richter)

“I think we know as a team that can’t take nights off, especially in the playoffs.” (T.J. Syner, April 2013)

The Reading Royals may have been a bit off their game when they dropped Game Three against the Greenville Road Warriors last night, but they’d certainly shaken it off when they took the ice tonight for Game Four against the Greenville Road warriors.  The resulting 3-0 victory moved the Royals into a 3-1 lead over the Road Warriors, leaving them just a single win away from the conference semi-finals (Goaltender Mark Owuya was credited with the 29 save shutout).

Hand in hand with their success has been that of rookie forward T.J. Syner, who has put an early exclamation mark on his first professional season with a pair of goals in the Royals’ first four playoff games.  When asked recently about Syner’s contributions, Coach Larry Courville had nothing but praise for the 24 year old rookie:

“He’s awesome. I don’t think he’s a guy who belongs in our league, just because of his ability to skate.  He’s been great for us, offensively. Even though we don’t see him as a real offensive guy, I think he generates a lot more because of his speed.  We have him in a shutdown role.  We expect to have him, [Ethan] Cox, and Kirk MacDonald to play a lot of tough minutes for us against their best line.”

Syner is not a new name here at Caps Outsider – we’ve been talking about the 5′ 8″(ish) speed demon since before he signed a tryout agreement with the Hershey Bears a year ago, and he continues to hold his own.  He’s split the 2012-13 season between the Hershey Bears (36 games) and Reading (16 games), and averaged over a point per game during his time in the ECHL (9-10-19).  What has his substantial stint in the AHL taught the undersized forward?

“Everyone’s going to battle every minute, so you’ve got to bring it every night.”

The lesson appears to be serving him well in the ECHL playoffs, where he’s tied for second with defenseman and Caps Prospect Brett Flemming in post-season goals (Captain Yannick Tifu is in first with three).  That’s only one fewer than Syner had during his entire time with the Bears.

The Royals take to the ice again on Sunday afternoon at 4PM EDT, where they will attempt to snag a final win over the Road Warriors and move onto the second round of the 2013 Kelly Cup Playoffs.