A look at the Royals after 17 games

Olivier Labelle has been a star for the Royals during the first quarter of the season. (Mike Ashmore)

Olivier Labelle has been a star for the Royals during the first quarter of the season. (Mike Ashmore)

Now that the Americans have finished their Thanksgiving dinners, it’s time to take a look at where the Reading Royals stand after playing the first quarter of their season.

Through 17 games, the Royals sit second in the Atlantic Division and eighth in the conference with a 7-8-1-1 record for 16 points.

Despite have 42 games against divisional opponents this season, they’ve only had three games against the Elmira Jackals, two against the Trenton Titans, and none against the Wheeling Nailers so far. The Royals have a 3-2 record against teams in the Atlantic.

The Royals’ record reflects their play thus far. They have had games when they are dominating and playing together as a team, then can come out the next night and be pushed around and have stretches where they can’t move the play out of their end.

“I’m not panicking,” head coach Larry Courville said. “We’re one game below .500. We have to put a few pieces together and start playing better as a team.”

The Royals averaged 3.49 goals per game last season, but this year they are only averaging 2.94. The team only has nine returning members from last season.

“It’s different personnel,” Courville said. “We’re still starting to get to know each other, but…there are a lot of things that are going wrong. We’re not as strong on the back end. We’re not maybe as strong up front. Those are the issues that we face. We have to play to our strengths and we’re just not doing that right now.”

The power play has been heating up, but the Royals have been struggling even strength. They’ve only notched 31 goals 5-on-5.

On a brighter note, 15 active players on the roster have scored a goal and seven have 10 or more points.

It wasn’t difficult to name the MVP after the first quarter of the season. Hands down, my nod would have to go to Olivier Labelle. He has played in all 17 games and collected 11 goals and five assists for 16 points and 37 penalty minutes. He leads the team in goals, points and PIMs.

Labelle plays a type of game that at times stands out and sometimes goes unnoticed. He has the skill to score big goals and has the grit to constantly play hard each shift, but he can also get under the skin of opponents and throw them off their games and is willing to drop the gloves if need be. He is easily the heart of the team.

– Power-play goal allowed by the Royals over the last 25 opportunities

2 – Players scored their first pro goal with the Royals this season: Everett Sheen and Marc Cantin

2.94 – Goals per game for the Royals

3 – Fighting majors each from Labelle and Dennis McCauley

3.16 – Goals-against average for Joe Palmer, the best among the two active goaltenders

3.52 – Goals allowed per game by the Royals

4 – Short-handed goals allowed by the Royals

6 – Players have played in all 17 games this season: Labelle, Chad Painchaud, Ryan Cruthers, Rob Shearer, Denny Urban, and Marvin Degon

11 – Goals from Labelle, most on the team and tied for third in the league

13 – Assists from Painchaud, the most on the team

16 – Points by Labelle, the most on the team

19 – Power-play goals by the Royals in 76 opportunities, second most in the league

25 – Percent on the power play, third best in the league

50 – Goals for the Royals

55 – Goals scored by Labelle in his career with the Royals, setting a new franchise record, which originally stood at 53

57 – Shots from Painchaud, the most on the team

60 – Goals allowed by the Royals, the most by any team in the league

76.8 – Percent on the penalty kill, sixteenth in the league

210 – Penalty minutes on the Royals, third least in the league

215 – Shots allowed by the Royals in the third period

280th – Pro goal scored by veteran Shearer on Nov. 19 in the shootout loss to the Cincinnati Cyclones

304 – Saves by Palmer on 332 shots, sixth best in the league

492 – Shots from the Royals

636 – Shots against the Royals


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Categories: ECHL, Ice Hockey, Sports

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