Reading Royals Report – April 2012

This article can be found published in the April issue of Center Ice Hockey Magazine and on their website.
Goaltender Karel St. Laurent and forward Olivier Labelle. (Candice Monhollan)

Goaltender Karel St. Laurent and forward Olivier Labelle. (Candice Monhollan)

If you took a month away from the Reading Royals, you would no longer recognize the team. They are a tale of two teams because for the majority of the season, they were the best in the league on the road and worst at home, evening out to keep them hovering around a .500 record.

Head coach Larry Courville wasn’t content with the record and made big, bold changes to the roster to try and find the right pieces to push the Royals into the playoffs.

Gone from the team were Dennis McCauley, Matt Schepke, Rob Kwiet, Todd Griffith, Dale Mitchell (traded by the Toronto Maple Leafs) and captain Ryan Cruthers. In came Mikael Bedard, Chris Doyle, Ian O’Connor, Ethan Cox, Colten Hayes and Ryan Blair.

Courville named Yannick Tifu as the new captain of the Royals and since the major trades during the week of the ECHL Trade Deadline, they have gone 4-2.

They currently sit 10th in the Eastern Conference, but are tied with the eighth and ninth place teams with 69 points. It’s been a fight for the final two spots in the playoffs between the Royals, Florida Everblades, Cincinnati Cyclones and Chicago Express.

It’s now a must-win scenario for the Royals to make it to the postseason with six games remaining in the regular season and they couldn’t ask for a better schedule to finish out. They have four games against the league’s worst Trenton Titans and one game each against the Wheeling Nailers and Elmira Jackals.

Leading the way for the Royals in scoring is Tifu and Olivier Labelle. Tifu has been an assist machine since coming over in a trade back in November, compiling 34 helpers and 50 points for Reading, giving him 61 total points on the season. Labelle continues to lead the team in goals with 26, with half of those coming on the power play.

Courville has been riding the Toronto Marlies goalies for almost all of the second half. While Jussi Rynnas was down, he received 14 starts and went 8-5-0-1 with one shutout and one shared shutout and had a 3.21 goals-against average and .914 save percentage. The Marlies made the switch of Rynnas and Mark Owuya on Feb. 27. Since coming back down for his third stint this season, Owuya has started nine straight and gone 5-4 over that time with a 3.06 GAA and .917 SP.

Games

Jan. 16: L 4-3 South Carolina. Goals: Dennis McCauley, Yannick Tifu, Kenny Ryan. Karel St-Laurent-29 saves.

Jan. 20: W 4-1 Kalamazoo. Goals: Ryan Cruthers, Tyler Brenner, John Scrymgeour, Tifu. Paul Dainton-40 saves.

Jan. 21: L 5-4 Toledo. Goals: Ray Macias, Tifu, Olivier Labelle, Scrymgeour. Dainton-32 saves.

Jan. 25: L 5-0 Wheeling. Goals: None. Jussi Rynnas-24 saves, St-Laurent-12 saves.

Jan. 27: W 4-2 @ Wheeling. Goals: Matt Schepke, Macias, Casey Haines, Everett Sheen. Michael Hutchinson-40 saves.

Jan. 28: W 5-4 @ Toledo. Goals: Haines-2, Denny Urban, Labelle, Dale Mitchell. Rynnas-28 saves.

Jan. 29: L 5-1 @ Kalamazoo. Goals: Mitchell. Hutchinson-35 saves.

Feb. 1: W 4-2 @ Florida. Goals: Ryan, Brenner, Dave Cowan, Scrymgeour. Rynnas-47 saves.

Feb. 3: L 8-0 @ Florida. Goals: None. Rynnas-23 saves, St-Laurent-7 saves.

Feb. 4: OTW 5-4 @ Florida. Goals: Ryan, Mitchell, McCauley, Urban, Tifu. Rynnas-32 saves.

Feb. 10: OTW 3-2 Elmira. Goals: Matt Caruana, Zach McKelvie, Tifu. Rynnas-36 saves.

Feb. 11: L 3-2 Elmira. Goals: Ryan, Tifu. Rynnas-28 saves.

Feb. 12: L 7-5 @ Wheeling. Goals: Mikael Bedard-2, Labelle, Ryan, Mitchell. St. Laurent-29 saves, Rynnas-5 saves.

Feb. 15: SOW 6-5 @ Trenton. Goals: Derrick LaPoint, Caruana, Tifu, Labelle, Bedard. Rynnas-37 saves.

Feb. 17: W 4-2 @ Trenton. Goals: Scrymgeour, Labelle, Bedard, McCauley. Rynnas-48 saves.

Feb. 18: W 4-0 Wheeling. Goals: Caruana, Haines, Mitchell, Ryan. St. Laurent-1 save, Rynnas-31 saves.

Feb. 20: SOL 4-3 Elmira. Goals: Ryan, Labelle, Haines. Rynnas-36 saves.

Feb. 22: W 6-3 @ Trenton. Goals: Labelle-3, Haines, Tifu, Ryan. St-Laurent-39 saves.

Feb. 24: L 3-2 @ Elmira. Goals: McCauley, Mitchell. St-Laurent-33 saves.

Feb. 25: W 1-0 Greenville. Goals: Labelle. Rynnas-37 saves.

Feb. 26: L 3-2 Greenville. Goals: Urban, Kyle Neuber. Rynnas-26 saves.

March 2: W 3-1 @ Elmira. Goals: Bedard-2, Ryan. Mark Owuya-47 saves.

March 3: L 4-1 Elmira. Goals: Caruana. Owuya-32 saves.

March 4: L 3-0 @ Elmira. Goals: None. Owuya-28 saves.

March 9: SOW 5-4 Toledo. Goals: Neuber-2, Ryan-2. Owuya-21 saves.

March 10: W 2-1 Trenton. Goals: Bedard, Chris Doyle. Owuya-35 saves.

March 14: L 8-3 Florida. Goals: Tifu-2, Caruana. Owuya-19 saves, St-Laurent-3 saves.

March 16: W 2-1 @ Wheeling. Goals: Macias, Doyle. Owuya-38 saves.

March 17: OTW 4-3 Wheeling. Goals: Bedard-3, Marc Cantin. Owuya-37 saves.

March 18: L 4-2 Florida. Goals: Tifu, Urban. Owuya-39 saves.

Atlantic Division Standings          GP      Won    Lost     OTL    SOL    PTS
x-Elmira                                             66        40        22         2         2        84
Wheeling                                           66        35        23         4         4        78
Reading                                             66        31        28         3         4        69
Trenton                                              66        21        37         3         5        50

x = Teams who have clinched a playoff position.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: ECHL, Ice Hockey, Sports

Subscribe & Connect

Subscribe to Candice's RSS feed and connect to her social profiles to receive updates.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: