On a night where Sovereign Center could have doubled for the back section of Bed, Bath and Beyond (you know, where the beds are), the Reading Royals continued their recent roll with a 2-1 overtime decision against the Elmira Jackals on Wednesday.
Ian O’Connor put home the winner off a Brett Flemming chance at the 2:36 mark, a score which provided a final jolt of jubilation to the reported 2,665 in attendance.
The win was the club’s seventh in a row, most since early in the 2005-06 season.
“All I did was wait for (Ian) to drive through the middle,” Flemming said. “I shot for his stick. He made a great play and tipped it.”
Jesse Todd picked up his first goal of the season and Philipp Grubauer continued his recent run of success for the hosts, stopping 27 shots as the Royals (8-5-1) shook off some cobwebs after five tough matches against rival Trenton, including three in a row this past weekend.
Maxime Clermont was the hard-luck loser, managing to halt 23 pucks in defeat. Jordan Pietrus provided the opening goal of the contest for the Jackals (6-5-1), who have dropped five in a row and must head home following a six-game road swing to welcome the Titans for two this coming weekend.
Pietrus struck for the visitors before the game was six minutes old, converting a Darren Kramer dish in front. Kramer — who saw his three-game goal streak ended — was allowed space down the left wing before whipping a pass across ice to the finisher.
Todd evened the score with a fluke shot from just inside the blue line on the right wing, one which changed direction and totally fooled Clermont for a 1-1 tie at 8:36 of the second period.
Reading showed more life as the stanza wore on, but the score remained deadlocked after 40 minutes.
Elmira’s best chance to move ahead in the third came as the clock ticked to the nine-minute mark, as a scramble around the cage to the right of Grubauer kept the puck at the right post for what seemed to be an eternity before the whistle blew; when it was over, the disc was trapped despite several whacks, and a fight ensued between Pietrus and Reading’s Adam Comrie.
It’s as simple as this: he kept us in it,” Reading head coach Larry Courville said. “Sometimes you need your goalie to do that so you can come back. We didn’t play as well as I’d like but in the end we got the two points.”
Before the home crowd could go home happy, Yannick Tifu clanked a wrister off the near post from the left-wing side roughly 90 seconds into OT.
Notes: Reading plays in Cincinnati this Friday and Evansville on Sunday…Each team has won a game in the season series thus far, with the next meeting scheduled for December 7-8 in Elmira…Flemming and Ethan Cox finished a team-high plus-two…The Royals skated minus forward Alex Berry, recalled on Tuesday by Hershey of the AHL…O’Conner netted First Star, Grubauer picked up Second Star and Pietrus snagged Third Star…Neither team scored on four combined power-play chances.