The Reading Royals (win, 8-4-0-0=16) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League and the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League, defeated the Wheeling Nailers (6-5-0-2=14), 3-2, in a shootout at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania.
For only the second time this season, Reading gave up the game’s first goal and trailed 2-0 in the latter stages of the second period before mounting a comeback that would get the Royals to the shootout where they would win for the second time in two tries. In a game that had considerable rough and tumble—and three fights—the Royals won for the sixth time in the last seven contests and for the third time consecutively on home ice.
After a scoreless first, Wheeling struck first while the two teams were playing four aside. A cough-up by the Royals at the defensive blue-line allowed Zach Torquato to carry deep down to the right side of the Royals’ net. Torquato then slipped a cross-crease pass to a waiting Matt Grassi, who stuffed it home for his first of the year 2:07 of the second.
The Nailers stretched the lead to 2-0 14:45 into the second when Anton Zlobin carried hard down the left wing side two-on-two, and despite being well covered, slipped a drop pass the trailing third player in—Torquato, who wasn’t covered at all. Torquato chipped an easy back-hand up and over Riley Gill (win, 6-2-0-0, 20/22, 4/4 in shootout, in 64:58) for his third of the year.
Forty seconds later, the Royals finally broke through on Wheeling’s Mike Condon (sol, 4-3-0-1, 38/36, 1/3 in shootout, in 64:57). Yannick Tifu sprang Dustin Gazley for a quick strike into the offensive zone. Gazley went inside-out on the Wheeling defender and then went back-hand, forehand stuff on Condon for his fourth of the year.
Reading tied the game 7:54 into the third when Domenic Monardo slipped a pass to Yannick Tifu, who carried deep into the left circle and before unleashing a hard snap shot that deflected off the stick of a Wheeling defender and dipped under the catching hand of Condon for his second of the season.
After scoreless overtime, Wheeling went first in the shootout, but no one was able to solve Riley Gill in four attempts (Zlodin, Sahir Gill, Ryan Flanigan and Carter Rowney); while the Royals bagged a pair on Condon—Gazley (shooting first) and Galiev (who went third) to run the team’s record against the Nailers to 4-0-0-0.
The Royals return to action on Friday (November 22 @ 8:00 pm) when the team travels to Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to take on the Fort Wayne Komets for the first time this season.