READING, PA-  A new era of Reading Royals hockey got started on Saturday afternoon, as the Royals kicked off their 2017-18 season. Before the game, fans were treated to a pre-game block party, and as they entered the arena, they were given a #PurplePride t-shirt courtesy of Met-Ed.

Photo: Ryan Bizzaro/The Sin Bin

Mark Dekanich got the start in net for the Royals and went up against Nic Riopel from the Adirondack Thunder.

The Royals offense quickly sprung into action against the tired Thunder squad as the team scored two goals 14 seconds apart in under the game’s first two minutes sending the fans inside the Santander Arena into a state of frenzy. The first goal came off the stick of Chris McCarthy with Adam Schmidt and Nolan Zajac credited with the assists. The second Royals goal was an un-assisted one thanks to Alex Krushelynski.  As the opening period was nearing closure, Matt Willows would add another goal making the score 3-0 Reading after 20 minutes.

Less than two minutes into the second period the Royals would score their final goal in regulation as Tyler Brown deflected a puck shot by Adam Comrie to give the Royals a four-goal cushion. After that, it was all Adirondack as the Thunder would score three times in the middle frame to make the score 4-3 Reading after two periods of hockey. The Thunder weren’t done in the third period; the Thunder would tie the game at four thanks to a powerplay goal by J.C. Campagna. 

After 60 minutes of thrilling hockey, fans were treated to overtime to settle this battle. The extra frame didn’t last long as Royals captain Derek Whitmore skated past the Thunder D and found the back of the net seven seconds into overtime giving the Royals a 5-4 win to open the season. Whitmore’s overtime goal was the second fastest in ECHL history, missing the top spot by two seconds.

Sunday 10/22:

After a thrilling 5-4 overtime victory during the team’s season/home opener less than 24 hours ago, the Reading Royals were back in action as the Wheeling Nailers were in town. The game marked the first of 11 regular season meetings between the two long-time rivals.

John Muse got the start in net for the Royals while Colin Stevens was given the nod to start for the Nailers.

Just like yesterday, the Royals would strike first as Matt Willows found the back of the net for the second time this season. Alex Krushelynski and Mark Naclerio were credited with the assists. With 3:13 to go in the opening period the Nailers would tie the game on a power-play goal by Reid Gardiner. 

There wasn’t any scoring in the final 40 minutes so for the second straight night, the Royals would be playing in overtime. During the extra frame, the Royals would be without Adam Comrie as he was given a game misconduct in the second period where it seemed the Royals couldn’t stay out of the penalty box. In the extra frame, Nolan Zajac sent everyone home happy with a rocket from the left circle giving the Royals a 2-1 win and helped improve the team’s record to 2-0-0-0.

The Royals will be back in action Thursday night as the Toledo Walleye will be in town. Puck drop is at 7 pm ET.

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