Royals unable to hold off bigger Titans

Ethan Cox was one of 10 Royals players with a minus rating in Saturday's game. (Mike Ashmore)

Ethan Cox was one of 10 Royals players with a minus rating in Saturday’s game. (Mike Ashmore)

READING, Pa. – New season, new team, same old story for the Reading Royals as a sleeping team allowed the Trenton Titans to come in and dominate them to a 6-2 final Saturday night.

The announced crowd of 5,165 who came out to the home opener had to sit through the defeat as the team fell to an 0-2 record against the Titans goaltender making his pro debut.

“We’re disappointed,” Ethan Cox said. “Obviously you don’t want to start 0-2, but it’s a little deeper than that at the moment in terms of not really getting the effort that we should and that we wanted. Each night we kind of shooting ourselves in the foot.”

Goaltender Brandon Anderson, making his pro debut, was left out to dry on a handful of odd-man rushes and defensive turnovers in front of his net. He also had some problems of his own on the times he was caught out of position.

“Clearly I did not get off to a good start,” Anderson said. “Second period wasn’t my period, I guess.”

The beginning of the game was enough to signify how it was going to go for the Royals. Just 31 seconds in, a bad bounce ended with the puck in the back of the net. Royals defenseman Brett Flemming tried to sweep out a rebound, but instead bounced off him and into his own net.

“It was a bad bounce,” Anderson said. “Nothing anyone could do. Just a rebound shot wide and off a shin pad of a teammate.”

The Royals were playing like a team thrown together the morning of compared to the bigger and more physical Titans. Every player seemed to have someone in black and red on them at all times, leveling them with checks or pushing them off the puck.

Fortunes didn’t change in the second as the Titans added to the score sheet with a shorthanded goal from Jacob Drewiske and Andy Bohmbach, who caught Anderson out of position with his back to the play 3:40 in.

Kirk MacDonald breathed some life into the Royals 46 seconds later after goaltender Scott Wedgewood let in a soft goal that squeaked by his right pad.

The life was quickly extinguished as the Titans came right back 45 seconds after MacDonald to regain the three-goal lead.

The Royals starting to turn up the shots halfway through the second, but it didn’t faze Wedgewood. He continued to be in position and made a beautiful glove save to protect the lead and give the Titans the chance to build on it. On an odd-man rush, Marcel Noebels took a shot from the left circle. Anderson made the save, but unknowingly left the rebound sitting behind him in the crease, allowing Ian Slater an easy tap in with 1:25 left in the second.

Denny Urban ignited the otherwise dismal power play 9:37 into the third period off a scramble in front of Wedgewood to bring the Royals to within three. The goal was the first allowed by the Titans’ penalty killers.

The Titans tacked one more on with 2:01 remaining after another shorthanded goal, this time by Drew Akins.

“I think the sharpness of everyone’s game isn’t where it needs to be,” Cox said. “The system is pretty concrete and what we should be doing – the execution – is lacking right now.”

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Categories: ECHL, Ice Hockey, Sports

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