Royals continue to lose at home

This article can be found published on Something’s Bruin.
Karel St-Laurent suffered his second straight loss Saturday night. (Candice Monhollan)

Karel St-Laurent suffered his second straight loss Saturday night. (Candice Monhollan)

READING, Pa. – The Reading Royals returned home for the first time Saturday night since Oct. 30 to face the Elmira Jackals for the second time in two nights. The turnout of 5,168 in the Sovereign Center were disappointed with a fourth straight home loss for the Royals. They gave up two leads in the game and lost 4-2 to the Jackals.

“I think that was our best game that we’ve played all year,” head coach Larry Courville said. “We’re starting to come together as a team and understanding the little things that we have to do.”

Despite a great effort from the team, the loss has put the Royals’ home record at a dismal 1-4-0-0.

“We haven’t played well at home,” Courville said. “I thought tonight was a night that it should have turned around…It wasn’t a matter of effort. [Elmira] got a couple of lucky bounces.”

The Royals struck first 5:20 into the game. Olivier Labelle only needed 19 seconds in the power play to score his ninth of the season. Labelle made it look easy with his tip-in past goaltender Brian Stewart off a pass from Denny Urban.

Unlike the previous game, however, the Royals held onto the lead in the first and were able to successfully kill off two penalties in the period.

The second period saw a flurry of goals in a short span. Three goals were scored in 1:19 – two from the Jackals and one from the Royals.

Elmira tied the game 9:43 into the second when Jean Bourbeau took a shot below the goal line to Karel St-Laurent‘s right. The puck hit Jordan Lane and St-Laurent and found its way in the net for Lane’s first ECHL goal. Matt Schepke answered back 40 seconds later with his snapshot from the slot to give the Royals the 2-1 lead, but it was short lived.

Evan Barlow notched his eighth of the season 39 seconds after that to knot the game at 2. St-Laurent stopped Craig Rivet‘s shot, but the puck landed in front of the crease where Barlow was able to pounce on it.

The Royals had several opportunities to take the lead back in the third – including three consecutive power plays – but were unable to do so. Instead, the Jackals scored with 6:20 left. Maxime Gratchev notched the game winner off a bouncing puck. St-Laurent made the initial save, but was unable to stop the rebound shot from Gratchev.

The Jackals sealed the game with an empty-net goal from Riley Armstrong with 11 seconds left in the game.

“Sometimes there [are] those games you’re supposed to win and you don’t, and sometimes games when you’re supposed to lose you win,” Courville said.

Labelle’s goal marked the 53rd of his career as a Royal, tying him with Ben Gordon, Dan Rooney, Danny Roussin, and Andrew Sarauer as all-time leaders in goals with the club.

“It’s not something that I really look at,” Labelle said. “It’s always fun to score goals – it’s one of those things I try to do.”


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Categories: ECHL, Ice Hockey, Sports

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