READING, Pa – The Reading Royals walked into the ECHL Conference Quarter Finals as one of the top favorites to win the Kelly Cup. In Game One they had a major wake up call. In Game Two, the Royals not only woke up but played like the defending champs that they are winning 4-2 to tie the series at`1-1 with the Fort Wayne Komets.
Reading got the first goal of the game when Sean Wiles put home a rebound off of a Ryan Cruthers initial shot from in the slot and Reading, and as they did in Game One, they took a 1-0 first period lead. The Royals put 11 shots on net in the first period and for the first time in the series outshot the Komets. The bad news for Reading is that Fort Wayne made the most of their few opportunities.
Thursday night’s hero for the Komets in Game One, Shawn Szydlowski, tied the score at 1-1 when he fired a shot high glove side, Fort Wayne’s fourth shot of the first period. Reading’s goaltender and last season’s playoff MVP Riley Gill started Game Two and for Reading it paid off. From that shot on he was nothing less than brilliant.
The Komets outshot Reading 10-7 in the second period but this time they couldn’t take advantage of Reading’s slow-to-get-going offense. In the third period the Royals would make them pay for not taking advantage.
Reading had a great opportunity to take an early lead in the third when the Royals had a power play to start the period but could not get a shot on goal. It took until the 15:51 mark of the third period before the Royals struck as Brandon Blandina put home a rebound past Komets goaltender Ben Meisner for a 2-1. The Royals would seemingly put the game away with Josh Brittian’s empty net goal with 1:09 left in the game.
Jordan Southorn scored with 50 seconds left in the game putting the home fans back on the edge of their seats but Kevin Wolrod’s scored with 5 seconds left to put the home crowd at ease again. Not only did Re3ading with the game 4-2 but tied the series at 1-1 sending the series back to Fort Wayne, IN for Games 3-5 from Thursday April 24th through Sunday the 27t. If Necessary the series will return to Reading on Tuesday the 29th and Wednesday the 30th.