READING, PA – In the first playoff matchup between the two teams, the Royals struck first and built a 2-0 lead halfway through the second period on the first playoff goal ever for defenseman Todd Perry, who was playing in his 37th career post-season game for the team—tied second most all-time for the organization. Brampton counter-punched with a power play goal a bit later in the middle frame; but that’s all they could get by Mark Dekanich, who was nothing short of spectacular in his first playoff game ever for Reading, making forty-three saves to pick up the victory.
After weathering an early aggressive attack from the Beast, Reading hit pay-dirt 7:10 into the first when a Robbie Czarnik skated onto a lead-out pass from Mike Pereira in the neutral zone. Czarnik carried inside the top of the right circle where he uncorked a heavy rocket that blitzed across the body and over the right shoulder of goaltender Andrew D’Agostini for Czarnik’s first playoff goal as a Royal.
The Royals took a 2-0 lead on another bomb—this one from Todd Perry. After an extended shift of offensive opportunity, which included several golden scoring chances for Olivier Labelle, the Royals precluded a clearing attempt by the Beast with Labelle feeding to Chris McCarthy, who settled deep on the right side and then landed a perfect cross-ice saucer that landed flat for Perry, who had joined late on the left side. Perry ripped a laser out of the left circle that buzzed by D’Agostini on the short-side 9:50 into the second period.
Brampton cut the Royals’ lead in half 13:25 into the second period on their first chance with the man advantage. Defenseman Reggie Traccitto settled in the high slot and threw a wobbly seeing-eye wrister towards heavy traffic in front of the Royals’ net. Connor Crisp got a piece of Traccitto’s shot causing it to dip into the body of Dekanich, who got a chunk of the puck but not enough to keep it from trickling across the goal line.
From that point forward, it was classic playoff hockey between the two teams: solid and smart defensive plays interspersed with the occasional grade-A scoring chances. But both goalies at either end were spectacular and neither team was able to break through, as Reading held on for the game one victory.