Reading Royals Report – December 2013

This article can be found published in the December issue of Center Ice Hockey Magazine and on their website.
Members of the Cup-winning Reading Royals team celebrate the banner raising at the home opener. (Candice Monhollan)

Members of the Cup-winning Reading Royals team celebrate the banner raising at the home opener. (Candice Monhollan)

After a summer of trips and celebrations, a return to the newly named Santander Arena in Reading, Pa., with a fresh look and shine, the fans couldn’t help but cheer and applaud.

The Kelly Cup was beautiful sitting atop a table at center ice.

Oh, you wanted hockey news?

Well, if you couldn’t tell, the ECHL season officially kicked off Oct. 18 and the following night, the Reading Royals began their defense of the coveted Kelly Cup at home against the South Carolina Stingrays.

But the celebration started way before the puck dropped.

A block party was held outside the arena hours before game time and then a ceremony honoring the team’s accomplishments last season took place right before.

The Cup sat at center ice while the championship banner was brought out and unfurled and then skated across the ice by returning members of the Cup-winning team before it was raised to the rafters.

In the 10 games played to start the season, the Royals have gotten off to a so-so start with a record of 6-4, which is much better than the 1-5-0-1 start they had last season before winning it all.

There are several members on the team now wearing rings, but a new season also brings new faces in this league.

You know that old saying, “If you can’t beat them, join them?” The Royals did something like that in the offseason.

Dustin Gazley – you know, the one from the deadly Gazley-Artem Demkov-Mike Radja line – and Louie Caporusso loved to pile the points on the Royals so instead, head coach Larry Courville went out and brought them onto the team and both have made immediate impacts.

Caporusso and Gazley are tied for second on the team in points with eight.

Speaking of fresh faces, eight of the top 10 scorers on the team to this point are new this season: Caporusso, Gazley, Domenic Monardo, Michal Cajkovsky, Ryan Kavanagh, Sean Wiles, Aaron Gens and Matt Campanale.

Stanislav Galiev, in his second season as a pro, is staying far away from the sophomore slump. He leads the Royals in points with 11 (3G, 8A), but it’s Monardo leading the team with five goals. He only played three games last season with the Gwinnett Gladiators.

Both goaltenders for the Royals are returning members in Riley Gill – the playoff MVP – and Brandon Anderson.

Courville has not given a definite starter and is instead splitting the time between the two.

Gill has been in six games with a 4-2 record and 1.83 goals-against average and .929 save percentage and Anderson has been in four games with 2-2 record and 1.77 GAA and .916 SP.

They are also fourth and fifth in the league in GAA.

Even with the okay start to the season, the Royals still lead the now smaller Atlantic Division with 12 points, followed closely behind by the Wheeling Nailers at 11 and the Elmira Jackals at 6.

Though they aren’t a perfect 10-0, Courville has put together another solid team which has a good chance to be the first team in ECHL history to repeat as Kelly Cup champions.

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Categories: ECHL, Ice Hockey, Sports

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