READING, PA– After a pair of wins last weekend — both coming via Branden Komm shutouts — the Reading Royals put a bow on their four-game homestand Thursday night against the Worcester Railers. It was the 11th meeting of the season between the two teams out of 14. Entering the contest, the Royals held a slight edge in the first 10 meetings going 5-4-1.
Back on Tuesday, the ECHL named Komm the league’s goaltender of the week. He stopped all 60 shots he faced, becoming the first goalie in franchise history to have shutouts in his first two games with the team. In a bit of a no-brainer, Komm got the start for the Railers Thursday night. Railers coach Jamie Russell went with Mitch Gillam between the pipes. It was the fourth time this season Gilliam has faced Reading and has beaten them twice, with both of those wins taking place at DCU Center. Last time Gillam faced the Royals inside Santander Arena, he relieved Eamon McAdam, who allowed five goals in two periods in a 6-2 Royals victory back on December 28.
Less than five minutes into the game, Steven Swavely notched his first of two goals on the night, by unleashing a shot that went underneath the glove of Gillam. With the goal, Swavely is riding a four-game point-streak. The Royals would add on to their lead at 13:55 of the first when Nolan Zajac juked a Railers backchecker before aiming it above the glove of Gillam for his 14th season. Less than two minutes later, the Royals would go up 3-0 when Matt Willows fluttered a puck onto Gillam, who had trouble with it and eventually went into the net for his team-leading 22nd lamplighter of the season. With the goal, Willows extended his point streak to 14 games. As the opening period was winding down the Railers ended Komm’s shutout streak at 19:11 of the period when Brock Beukeboom rocketed one past Komm for his second of the season. In total, Komm’s shutout streak was 139:11.
Throughout the second period, there wasn’t much action until Chris McCarthy beat Gilliam for his 16th goal of the season. Less than three minutes later, the Railers would get one back as captain Chris Langkow beat Komm on the power play for his 14th of the season.
The Royals offense added some insurance early in the third, when Brian Morgan beat Gillam for his seventh of the season at 2:22 of the final period. The teams would trade goals the remainder of the period, but Worcester would get no closer.
When the final horn sounded, the Reading Royals would double up the Worcester Railers tonight by the score of 6-3 improving their record to 30-20-3, good for 63 points and a tie with the Adirondack Thunder for second place in the division. The Royals will now embark on a season-long eight-game road trip beginning Saturday night against the aforementioned Adirondack Thunder. Puck drop is at 7:00 EST.
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