Royals shutout by the Gladiators

This article can be found published on Something’s Bruin.

The Royals players gave coach Larry Courville a gift of 99 bottles of Canadian beer during the ceremony. (Candice Monhollan)

READING, Pa. – A day after the snowfall and power outages in Pennsylvania delayed their game, the Reading Royals were unable to continue where they left off Friday night as they were blanked, 2-0, by the Gwinnett Gladiators Sunday. The loss put a damper on the pre-game ceremony which featured head coach Larry Courville’s jersey number being retired.

It was a duel between both goaltenders. Joe Palmer put on his best performance of the season, but Gwinnett’s Jeff Jakaitis was better as he stopped all 33 shots.

“I thought [Palmer] played very well, especially in the third period,” Courville said. “He made some quality saves for us to kind of keep us in.”

The Royals themselves put forth a strong effort in the loss. Courville said he thought it was the best game to date for the team.

The Royals came out of the gate with a good first period, but Gwinnett was able to get on the board with two minutes left in the period. Reading was unable to clear the zone and a harmless shot wide somehow found its way to Nikita Kashirsky’s stick and was tipped-in past Palmer for a late 1-0 lead.

The league’s third best power play unit lost its luster as they went 0-for-4 in the game. After a failed attempt on the third opportunity in the third period, Corey Fienhage exited the penalty box and sprung Andy Brandt on a breakaway. He fired a shot that beat Palmer low and gave the Gladiators a 2-0 lead with 3:58 left in the game.

With the Royals on their fourth power play and Palmer pulled for an extra attacker, Marvin Degon seemed to have scored a goal, but the referee waived it off, claiming Matt Schepke ran into Jakaitis.

Bad bounces and Jakaitis not allowing second chances kept the Royals off the scoreboard.

“We’re still getting the opportunities, just not scoring,” Casey Haines said. “Ryan [Cruthers] hit the crossbar there, I hit the post there, [Chad] Painchaud hit the crossbar there at the end, a goal that should have been allowed got disallowed…We just need to work hard and that’s how you get the bounces in hockey.”

The Royals look towards changing the season around on their upcoming five-game road trip.

“You have 23 guys for five days – it can be a bit much – but that’s how you get to know each other and gel as a team and hopefully something good will come out of it, like two points each game.” Haines said.

A special pre-game ceremony was held in honor of Courville. He was recognized by the Royals by having his No. 22 retired.

He spent parts of five seasons playing with the Royals starting in 2001-02. He became an assistant coach with the team in 2008-09 and became head coach part way through the same season.

“It was definitely an honor,” Courville said. “I was very happy and it was nice to be recognized by this organization for all the years that I’ve been here.”

Matt Caruana was injured in Friday night’s game against the Trenton Titans. He has been placed on three-day injured reserve.

According to Courville, Karel St-Laurent has a “slight injury.” He has been checked out by doctors and will have pictures taken tomorrow.


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Categories: ECHL, Ice Hockey, Sports

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