READING, Pa. – The last time the Beast were in Reading they won 5-2, and look to repeat that on the Royals’ “Pink in the Rink” night.
The game started with the mother of Steven Swavely singing the anthems. Then several people dropped the ceremonial puck, one of whom was Tyler Brown’s mother with Brown taking the “face-off.” After an early penalty, Brown used that good energy and got the first goal of the game shortly after the penalty kill started. The Beast were down 1-0 early.
The Beast would press the attack, often for long stretches at a time, but would fail to beat Mark Dekanich on 14 shots. At the other end, a returning Zach Fucale was not doing as well, letting in two goals on six shots. The second goal came with less than a minute to go as Nolan Zajac found an open five-hole to double the lead. The Beast went off the ice down two after more than doubling the shots.
Somebody must have said something in the intermission as the clearing pass was picked up by Jordan Henry, who beat Dekanich over the shoulder to score only 19 seconds into the period. A few minutes later, Stefan Fournier did a dangle in front of Dekanich and put it in the empty net. Then when Henry got a two-minute penalty, Brandon MacLean led a 2-on-2 rush, but then passed back to the trailing Reggie Traccitto, who put it in the net. This was then three goals on only four shots in the period by the Beast.
The Royals were now trailing for the first time in the game. However, this was not to last as Matt Willows got the pass from Matt Wilkins to tie the game back at three each. With this goal, Willows’ extended his point streak to 20 points in 12 games. Also with this goal, the Royals were 5/5 on the power play over the last two games. However, when the Beast later went into the penalty box, that streak ended as the Beast held the Royals to two shots, which Fucale easily handled. The period ended with a Beast team much better situated for the final period in regulation.
For the first period in the game, neither team scored in the first two minutes. However, the Beast did get into penalty trouble as Jackson Leef got an offensive zone penalty for tripping and then was joined by Henry 19 seconds later. The Beast managed to kill off the 5-on-3 situation, but then David Vallorani got two minutes in the box for another offensive zone penalty. A short time after those penalties were killed, Zajac got his second on the night as the Beast could not clear their end.
The Beast kept on the attack and tied it as Vallorani brought the puck up the wing and passed to an open Brandon Marino to tie the game back at four each. While there were just over 10 minutes left in the game, it quickly became clear that the next goal would win it. With just over four minutes left in the game, Cody Donaghey would take the pass from returning Beast Ian Harris to get that lead. When the Royals got a late period penalty, they pulled the goalie to play 5-on-5, but Fournier got his second of the night as he put it in the empty net.
In the end, the second and third periods were rough for both teams as there were a lot of called offsides and icings. This killed any sense of flow in the game, but both teams kept at it. While the Royals would end their four-game point streak, this would still be marked as Zajac’s first multi-goal game in his career. The Beast have now won three straight after going winless for the previous nine.
Score: Beast 6 – Royals 4
Shots: Beast 32 – Royals 30
Penalties: Beast 5 – Royals 5
Beast goals scored by Donaghey (1), Fournier (2), Henry (1), Marino (1) and Traccitto (1). Assists from Jamie Doornbosch (1), Alex Foster (2), Harris (1), Scott Jacklin (1), Leef (1), MacLean (2), Marino (1), Vallorani (2) and Tyson Wilson (1).
Royals goals scored by Brown (1), Willows (1) and Zajac (2). Assists from Chris McCarthy (2), Swavely (2), Wilkins (1) and Willows (1).
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