Goaltending struggles lead to Royals loss

This article can be found published on Something’s Bruin.
Karel St. Laurent has allowed three or more goals in his last four starts. (Candice Monhollan)

Karel St-Laurent has allowed three or more goals in his last four starts. (Candice Monhollan)

READING, Pa. – It’s the same story on a new night for the Reading Royals as they lost their fourth straight game and their sixth one at the Sovereign Center. The effort was there for the home team, but unfortunately the goaltending was not. Karel St-Laurent continued his struggles in the 4-2 loss to the Chicago Express.

“[St-Laurent’s] been struggling for the last three or four games,” head coach Larry Courville said. “He knows it and he’s working hard in practice…I felt we deserved to win the game tonight and we didn’t.”

That same feeling was not lost on the goaltender.

“I feel like I’m letting my teammates down,” St-Laurent said. “Tonight we played good – we played hard. And I just didn’t make the good saves. I didn’t make saves at all.”

All good things must come to an end, and that was the case for the Royals penalty killers as they allowed their first power-play goal in over three games. Two penalties from Casey Haines and Everett Sheen gave the Express a 5-on-3 for 1:15. Seconds after the penalty to Haines expired, Tyler Donati sent a pass over to Tyler Johnson who ripped one past St-Laurent to open the scoring 6:51 into the game.

The Royals were given the chance to tie things up when Chicago’s Mike Embach was called for boarding 23 seconds after their goal. Yannick Riendeau, in his first game back from injury, fed a pass to an open Denny Urban in the slot. Urban’s shot went above goaltender Paul Dainton’s glove at 7:49 for a 1-1 score.

Despite a strong first period, the Express were able to take the lead back. St-Laurent made the stop on Josh Burrow’s shot, but the rebound shot straight to Chaz Johnson in the slot who buried it for his sixth of the season and a 2-1 lead 16:14 into the first.

The Royals continued their strong play in the second. They reversed the shots from the last game and held the Express to only seven shots until the 11:04 mark when St-Laurent let in a soft goal. Donati fired the shot from the middle of the left circle to make it 3-1.

The Express added to the lead with a goal 53.5 seconds remaining in the period. Tyler Johnson’s shot hit St-Laurent’s shoulder, but the rebound fell to Yannick Tifu, who made it 4-1.

It came as no surprise to see Joe Palmer starting the third period. St-Laurent was pulled for the second straight game after allowing the four goals on 13 shots.

The Royals had their scoring chances, but couldn’t get anything through. It wasn’t until 90 seconds were left in the game when they finally potted another goal. Olivier Labelle popped the puck up in the air and Ryan Cruthers swatted the puck into the net. Unfortunately, it was too late for any type of comeback as the Royals fall to 7-9-1-1 on the season.

“[St-Laurent] needs to be better and he knows it,” Courville said. “We’re working with him. We understand he’s a first year guy, but there comes a time where I have to make a decision and play who’s going to win us games.”

Urban’s goal was his 10th point on the power play (2G, 8A).

The power play continues to be strong for the Royals. They struck again for the 11th straight game.

Dennis McCauley missed his second straight game with a virus.

Haines was knocked hard into the boards in the second period. He did not return to the game. He is listed with an upper-body injury after the hit and is out for “at least a week,” Courville said.


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Categories: ECHL, Ice Hockey, Sports

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