Royals defeat Jackals in overtime off stellar performance from St-Laurent

This article can be found published on Something’s Bruin.
Karel St. Laurent won his first game since Nov. 5 on Friday night. (Candice Monhollan)

Karel St. Laurent won his first game since Nov. 5 on Friday night. (Candice Monhollan)

READING, Pa. – The Reading Royals returned to home ice for the first time in 2012 against the Elmira Jackals, who came into the game riding a nine-game win streak. For the Royals, a big game from rookie goaltender Karel St-Laurent helped them end that streak and come away with a big 3-2 win in overtime.

St-Laurent, who had lost six straight coming into Friday night, received his first victory on home ice in the regular season. He made 33 saves against the tough opponent, including one that led to the game winner.

“That ending goal doesn’t happen if [St-Laurent] doesn’t make a huge kick save,” forward Casey Haines said. “I think that’s a monkey off his back. He’s been a little down, but we finally came to play for him and got the win.”

Through the struggles and losses, St-Laurent said he never lost his confidence.

“Tonight, I showed the people that I can be in this league and I can play,” he said. “It was just a matter of time for me to play better.”

The first period saw the Royals a step or two behind the Jackals. They lacked the energy needed to compete against the top team in the East, but the Royals survived through half of the period without allowing a goal.

It wouldn’t last as a faceoff loss in the defensive end led to the game’s first goal. Jean Bourbeau carried the puck to the top of the left circle and deposited the puck above St. Laurent’s shoulder at 13:46 of the first period.

The Royals emerged with more energy in the second period as they controlled the majority of the play, but continued to have nothing to show for it.

The home team finally broke through with time winding down. A scramble in front of the net left to multiple chances for Yannick Tifu and Ryan Cruthers, but a rebound kicked out to Dennis McCauley, who buried it with 31.8 seconds left to knot the game at 1.

The third period began with the Royals still buzzing. Yannick Riendeau, who has the most points on the team against the Jackals this season, slipped a pass to Haines, but the puck kept going by him and onto Denny Urban’s stick. He fired a shot through traffic and beat goaltender Timo Pielmeier for a 2-1 lead at 6:08.

An odd sequence of events followed a minute and a half later. St-Laurent came out to right side of the net, but with a scramble of players around him, a stick somehow became lodged in his equipment and he could not move and left a wide-open net for the Jackals. The Royals on the ice came to the rescue by clogging the net and blocked several attempts while St-Laurent recovered and jumped back into the net, but unfortunately for him, a shot from Artem Demkov hit him and the rebound came out to Josh Brittain, who scored his first of the year.

“I looked stupid on that,” St-Laurent said. “But I tried to get up and the stick – I don’t know how it was caught. I couldn’t get up. I had to push myself and jump and once I did that, I was out of position and I let out a rebound to the side and he just buried it. The stick was caught between my legs. It’s going to be pretty funny to watch on the video.”

St-Laurent continued to have a strong performance through the rest of the third and kept the game tied at 2 as the game headed into overtime.

For the Jackals, going beyond regulation almost seemed like a guaranteed win. They had gone 3-0 in overtimes and 8-0 in shootouts this season, but like the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. And for the Jackals, it did come to an end.

St-Laurent made a brilliant toe save that sent the puck flying up the middle of the ice and helped spring Haines up the ice. He slid a pass through a defender’s legs and Tyler Brenner redirected the puck on his backhand into the net for his first goal as a Royal and the overtime winner.

“You throw it and then you get down and pray that hopefully goes in,” Haines said of the pass. “We were fortunate. [It’s] a big win at home, especially against them.”


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Categories: ECHL, Ice Hockey, Sports

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