Royals remain hot with fifth consecutive win

The Royals donned special patriotic jerseys Saturday night for Veteran's Day weekend. (Candice Monhollan)

The Royals donned special patriotic jerseys Saturday night for Veteran’s Day weekend. (Candice Monhollan)

READING, Pa. – Reading Royals goaltender Brandon Anderson may not have played a game since Oct. 26, but it didn’t matter to him as he put on a 32-save performance in a 4-1 win over the Trenton Titans Saturday night.

Riding high on a four-game win streak, Royals head coach Larry Courville relied on goaltender Philipp Grubauer in each of them, but facing a scenario of four games in five days, he went with the well-rested Anderson, and it paid off. The win also marked the first time the Royals have been over .500 this season.

“I didn’t think we played great in front of [Anderson], to be honest,” Courville said. “We gave up a lot of what I consider Grade A chances where he came up big for us. It was nice for him to respond after not playing in a while.”

All of last season, the Royals were unable to string together more than four wins in a row, and now they’ve already beaten it in just the second month of the season.

“I give reward to the guys,” Courville said. “We have a bunch of character guys in that room and [they] realize that they have to play better and commit to playing different roles. They’re really sticking together as a team on the ice. Hopefully we can continue the success.”

The first four minutes of the game was a flurry of action. Kirk MacDonald started things off with a goal at 3:15 and a mere 31 seconds later, David Vallorani followed up with his first pro goal to give the Royals a 2-0 lead.

“[Alex] Berry made that great pass to me and it worked out pretty well,” Vallorani said. “It’s nice to get [my first goal] off my chest.”

To say the Titans were leaving goaltender Niko Hovinen out to dry to start the game would be an understatement. Assignments were missed and Royals players were left wide open, leading to multiple chances and the two quick strikes.

Titans defenseman Mike Banwell attempted to get his team to wake up a little over a minute later when he dropped the gloves with Royals captain Yannick Tifu, but it was to no avail.

A penalty shot awarded to Marcel Noebels of the Titans in the remaining 5:30 of the first period could have provided another opportunity at a spark, but Anderson was up to the task and got a piece of the shot and protected his shutout to that point.

To add salt to the wound, the Royals tacked on a third goal with 2:30 left. Hovinen tried to cover the puck with his glove after a shot from Ian O’Connor, but Denny Urban poked it free and into the net.

Adam Comrie added to the lead with his second goal of the season in the second period with a slapper from the left side.

It took until the 31st shot for the Titans to beat Anderson, and it came on the power play from Pierre-Olivier Morin at 10:37 of the third.

The remaining two minutes of the game was filled with scuffles and dropped gloves, setting up what could be a nasty match Sunday as the two face each other once again.

“We just have to keep doing what we’re doing day in and day out,” Vallorani said. “Now that we’re coming together as a team, it’s been working well.”


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Categories: ECHL, Ice Hockey, Sports

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