Royals can’t complete season sweep of Greenville

This article can be found published on Something’s Bruin.
Denny Urban's power-play goal was his 20th point on the power play this season (3G, 17A). (Mike Ashmore)

Denny Urban’s power-play goal was his 20th point on the power play this season (3G, 17A). (Mike Ashmore)

READING, Pa. – An undefeated streak can only last so long, and the Reading Royals couldn’t keep this one going against the Greenville Road Warriors as they fell, 3-2, Sunday night in their last match-up of the season.

Coming into the game, the Royals had taken the previous five over the Road Warriors, but penalties cost them to keep the streak alive.

“It’s frustrating because the players should be smart,” head coach Larry Courville said. “They should think about the team more than themself and it’s a tough way to lose. [Dale] Mitchell has got to be a lot smarter. He took a penalty, which maybe was a decent call – that first one that he took – and he’s got to go in the box to serve it. Unfortunately, they score on it and then as soon as they score, he takes an unsportsmanlike conduct. That was the goal that cost us the game. Hopefully he learns from that.”

The loss also ruined the chance for the Royals to leapfrog into seventh place in the conference, and instead, now fall back to 10th.

“I feel we’re a good team and we could go far in the playoffs,” captain Ryan Cruthers said. “There’s still time left. I know we’re pushing the panic button right now, but if you look at how we got in two years ago, we got in in the second to last game against Wheeling. Obviously we have to get going and start winning some games, but I like the little stretch we have right now. We’re in the playoff picture and there’s a lot of games left.”

The Road Warriors were given the chance to take the early lead in the game when Jason Wilson got behind the Royals defense and skated in on a semi-breakaway and was hauled down and crashed into goaltender Jussi Rynnas in the net. He was awarded a penalty shot at 6:04, but Rynnas was up to the task and made the save.

With 1:11 left in the first, Mitchell stripped a Greenville defenseman from behind in the offensive zone and wristed one at goaltender Jason Missiaen. The puck hit both posts before ricocheting back out and a pile of bodies landed in the crease. After a scrum in the crease was cleared up, the referee signaled no goal on Mitchell’s shot.

The Royals got on the board 46 seconds into the second period. Matt Caruana sent a pass though a Road Warrior’s leg on the power play toward Denny Urban, who put it past Missiaen for his seventh goal of the season with three seconds left in the man-advantage.

This time around, the Road Warriors were able to get on the board. Jeff Prough slipped the puck under Rynnas to tie the game at 5:43.

The Road Warriors took over 61 seconds later on the power play after Mitchell was slapped with an unsportsmanlike penalty after arguing with Greenville’s first goal. A deflected shot bounced over to an open Brandon Wong for his nineteenth of the season and a 2-1 lead.

For good measure, Sean Berkstresser helped the Road Warriors extend their lead 3:08 later with another power-play goal, this time with Ryan Button in the box.

The Royals turned things around in the third period as they tried to fight back in the game.

A turnover by the Road Warriors led to Kyle Neuber’s first goal as a Royal. The puck deflected off of Missiaen and in at 6:10.

The Royals kept up the pressure as they held the Road Warriors to just three shots, but they couldn’t muster the tying goal.

The Royals continue to struggle at home, unable to put together any string of wins at the Sovereign Center this season.

“We know our road record and we’ve discussed it,” Courville said. “It’s a mental thing at this point in time, but we do have to get better.”

Rynnas will return to the Toronto Marlies on Monday. The status of Mark Owuya‘s return will depend on the moves made by the Toronto Maple Leafs at the trade deadline.

Courville said Tyler Brenner, Louis Liotti, Ray Macias and Casey Haines are all possible to return next game.

The Royals are bringing in forward Jeremiah Ketts to take a look at him over practice this week and decide on whether to sign him.


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Categories: ECHL, Ice Hockey, Sports

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