Royals enter franchise record books with 10th consecutive win

Royals celebrate their 10th consecutive win. (Candice Monhollan)

Royals celebrate their 10th consecutive win. (Candice Monhollan)

READING, Pa. – It was the same black suit and purple shirt Reading Royals head coach Larry Courville has worn since Nov. 2.

“I haven’t cleaned it yet,” Courville said. “It’s a mindset. When I was a player, I was the same way. If I was being successful or the team was being successful, I didn’t change very much.”

Courville wasn’t going to risk changing something like his suit in the midst of a stellar streak by his team, who won its 10th consecutive game Wednesday night against the South Carolina Stingrays, setting a franchise record.

The Royals got off to a commanding 3-0 lead, but let it slip through their hands. Their fate in the franchise history books came down to a shootout, but they prevailed.

“Ten in a row – we’re not going to complain for right now,” Yannick Tifu said. “We’re back on top of the league, two points behind Gwinnett. It’s great.”

The presence of new players was felt on the ice. Evan Barlow, who was added to the team Nov. 15 in a trade, and Barry Almeida, sent down from Hershey, found their way onto the score sheet.

“It’s nice coming in when a team is on a roll because everyone is a lot nicer to you,” Barlow said. “It’s a great group. It’s an easy transition when a team is winning, but when they make you feel at home, it’s a lot easier to perform.”

The Royals dominated the first period, not allowing a single shot from the Stingrays until 9:30 into the game.

Kirk MacDonald scored his sixth of the season from the top of the right circle at 6:44. Barlow followed up six minutes later with his third goal as a Royal as their power play expired.

Goals came in bunches for both sides during the second period.

Brett Flemming laid a huge hit in the corner to free a puck and set up Denny Urban‘s goal at 7:08 to give the Royals a 3-0 lead. Former Royal Chris Langkow broke the shutout 33 seconds later.

Shawn Weller pulled the Stingrays to within one with a rocket from one knee at 17:33, but Barlow regained the two-goal lead 11 seconds later. Hunter Bishop made it a one-goal game again 42 seconds after that.

The Royals were trying to hang on to their 4-3 lead in the last 20 minutes, but Tommy Cross tied the game at 10:56.

Key saves from goaltender Philipp Grubauer kept the Royals from losing their first game in November and sent the game into overtime and a shootout.

The win broke the previous franchise record of a nine-game win streak set during the 1993-94 and 2004-05 season.

“I can’t remember the last time I ever won 10 with any of my teams,” Courville said. “I remember losing about 20 or 30 in a row, but not winning 10 in a row.”

NOTES
By the end of the second period, Barlow had scored eight points in eight periods since his trade from San Francisco.

“I was in a bit of a slump before I got here,” Barlow said. “I figured I was due.”

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Categories: ECHL, Ice Hockey, Sports

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