Royals string together wins over Titans

Yannick Tifu scored his third goal of the season Saturday night. (Mike Ashmore)

Yannick Tifu scored his third goal of the season Saturday night. (Mike Ashmore)

READING, Pa. – The Reading Royals were looking to not only even the season series against the Trenton Titans, but also string together wins for the first time this year. They accomplished just that with a 2-1 victory Saturday night with a hard, all-around effort from the team.

“Starting 1-5 was pretty hard.” Yannick Tifu said. “It felt great to have two great wins. We’re a great hockey team. We have a little bit of everything.”

Though the Royals won, the score remained tight because of Scott Wedgewood. He consistently kept the Titans in the game, making save after save despite numerous attempts by the Royals at taking his legs off, which all went uncalled.

It isn’t to say Philipp Grubauer himself didn’t play well. The Royals goaltender turned aside 17 of the 18 shots he faced.

“I think he was frustrated in the first three games that he saw,” said head coach Larry Courville. “We weren’t getting bounces our way, we had some bad decision making where it cost us and it cost him goals against. The last two games, we’ve played hard for our goaltender and he’s responded well to us. He made some key saves last night in yesterday’s win and some more tonight.”

Reading has been prone to giving up the first goal early this season and things looked to be heading that way 2:03 in. The puck slid along the goal line behind Grubauer and as Titans were swarming in to poke it across the line, defenseman Scott Wietecha dove in and saved a sure-goal.

The Royals took advantage and swung the momentum in their advantage. A mass pileup in front of Wedgewood, which included knocking him down, caused the goaltender to lose track of the opponents. Tifu took a tough-angled shot from the goal line looked to have redirected off a Titan’s skate and in at 4:45 of the first.

The Titans continued to give up odd-man rushes and giving the Royals plenty of opportunities to extend the lead, but once again, Wedgewood kept them in. He showed some of his skills with a beautiful glove save on Tifu with 4:11 left in the second period.

Trenton was hopeful to have found some life as the second came to a close with the puck crossing the line as the horn sounded, but the goal was immediately waved off due to a high stick.

There was no doubt about a goal the second time around, this time at 3:58 of the third. Grubauer made the initial save on a shot from Jason Akeson, but Stephen Schultz scooped up the rebound and slid a pass over to Andy Bohmbach for an easy tap-in to tie the game at 1.

Through his hard-fought effort, Wedgewood was caught out of position, giving Alex Berry an open net to regain the lead at 9:23 of the third.

With the goaltender pulled, the Titans tried valiantly to tie the game, but it was too late as the Royals pulled out the win.

“We changed our systems in all three zones, especially on the defensive side of the puck and it’s worked out for us,” Courville said. “They realize that with our effort and with our skill level, they know that we’re a pretty good team.”

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Categories: ECHL, Ice Hockey, Sports

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