Even after the gloves were dropped 15 seconds into the Reading Royals game against the Wheeling Nailers last night, the Royals got off to a slow but very physical start. The Nailers, confidently on a three game winning streak had the Royals on their heels, as they dominated the first period, out shooting the Royals 9-6.
“Just to stay with it,” T.J Syner who was recently loaned from Hershey recalled of Coach Courville’s advice during the 2nd intermission. “It’s a full 60 minute game, you can’t go out there and play 40 minutes …we got the win which is the important thing as a team and we can build off that.”
Early in the second period the Royals surrendered the first goal to the Nailers, who found the back of the net, taking the lead of the game. The gloves were dropped again, as they went another round, the fight still not adding much momentum to the game for the Royals. At the twenty four minute mark the Nailers advanced their lead to 2-0. As the Royals arena fell silent they quickly responded with a goal by Dustin Gazley, cutting the Nailers lead in half as the arena erupted into cheers. The Royals first goal was followed by the third fight of the game, the Nailers were certainly roughing the Royals up on the ice.
“I did not think the first half of the game we were very good at all,” Coach Courville said. “We did not play with enough: passion, energy, heart, and all things that I think we need to be successful.”
“After the 1st intermission I questioned our work ethic and I didn’t think we played with enough energy. They were a lot more physical than we were.”
Going into the 3rd period the Royals were down 1 point and looking for the equalizer. They were skating the puck into the Nailers zone and shooting pucks, but the Nailers were blocking everything. Finally, Yannick Tifu broke through with a snap shot, banking his second goal of the season to tie the game at 2-2. After a scoreless overtime the game was pushed into a shootout, where Riley Gill stretched his personal winning streak to four with a 3-2 victory, extending the teams winning streak to 3 at home.
With a coach like Courville, who stresses full 60-minutes of play and to play with: passion, energy and heart, the Royals have some adjustments to make for the next 11 times they will face the Wheeling Nailers this season. The Royals are full of talent, especially with guys like: T.J Syner, Stanislav Galiev and Tyler Ruegsegger who are no stranger to the Hershey Bears, their AHL affiliate.
Head out to the Reading Royals next home game Wednesday, November 27th at Santander Arena in Reading, PA.