READING, Pa – The Reading Royals (win, 1-1-0) of the ECHL, affiliate of the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League and the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League, defeated the Fort Wayne Komets (loss, 1-1-0), 4-2, in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at Santander Arena in Reading, Pennsylvania. The win by Reading evened the best-of-seven series, which now travels to Fort Wayne for Games Three through Five, at one game apiece.
In this one, the Royals scored twenty-one seconds into the first power play chance of the night mid-way into the first; but found themselves in another dog-fight with the Komets after they answered late in the opening frame. The game remained a 1-1 tie until late in the third—thanks in no small part to a couple of huge saves by goaltender Riley Gill (win, 1-0-0, 18/20 in 59:54), one of which came on a two-on-none short-handed break for the Komets in the third. Reading then got a late game tie-breaker from Brandon Blandina, but needed an empty netter to hold off a late surge from the Komets and pick up the team’s first win of the year over Fort Wayne on Reading’s home ice.
Reading struck on the team’s first power play chance of the night 8:54 into the first period. Stanislav Galiev loaded one up from the high slot that deflected off a Fort Wayne defender and fell to Ryan Cruthers who was set up just inside the left circle. Cruthers tapped off a beautiful tap pass four feet off the top of the crease to Sean Wiles, who angled the puck behind goaltender Ben Meisner (loss, 1-1-0, 27/29 in 59:32, 2 eng) for his first of the playoff season.
Fort Wayne tied things with 1:34 left in the first period, when Shawn Szydlowski was able to get off a snap shot from the high slot, despite being well-guarded by a pair of Royals. The shot appeared to deflect off the cuff of the catching glove of Gill and in for Szydlowski’s second of the playoff season.