The Reading Royals played one of their few Wednesday night games this season against the Wheeling Nailers and though the game started out promising, lack of motivation seemed to be the enemy that brought them yet another loss.
The Reading Royals faced the Wheeling Nailers at home for the first time this season to start their three-game series. The Royals only took one point in their first meeting after going down in overtime. At the start of the game, it wouldn’t appear the team would even dip that far with their two-goal lead but it appears the dying edge of the game seemed to take hold of the team like a virus starting in the second period.
In the first period, Tag Bertuzzi started the game strong with a power play goal at 8:47 assisted by Adam Brubacher and Devon Paliani. It was a successful power play that started the strong edge that the team seemed to carry through the period, so much so that it gave them what it took to score yet again at 17:44 with the goal being scored by Mason Millman, assisted by Shane Sellar and Adam Karashik. They ended that period on a high note taking a two-goal lead giving the fans a promising outlook for the game, however, much like many of the games this season, the energy ended with the buzzer of the first period.
The shots on goal for the first period were six for Reading and seven for Wheeling but during the second period, the Royals only managed four shots on goal while Wheeling got 14. In the second period alone, Wheeling was able to take the lead scoring three goals, the first at 4:42 by Jordan Martel, the second, a shorthanded goal, at 13:45 by Matt Koopman, and the third, a power play goal, at 18:38 by Jordan Martel, assisted by Cédric Desruisseaux and Justin Addamo. The energy just didn’t seem to be there for the Royals in the second period with the Nailers taking advantage of their weakened energy and thrived going into the third scoring on penalties. The Royals had a power play and still managed to slip up and create an opportunity for Wheeling to score which they optimized.
Going into the third tied looked promising in principle, but in reality, the Royals still struggled especially with Wheeling taking the lead at 12:56 with a goal by Lukas Svejkovsky, assisted by David Drake and Louie Roehl. However, though the Royals only managed to get six shots in the third, it was that sixth shot at 19:33 by Ryan Chyzowski, assisted by Tag Bertuzzi and Adam Brubacher that tied the game giving fans that touch of hope to at least win the game in overtime.
It only took 53 seconds in overtime for the Royals to fall to Wheeling with Lukas Svejkovsky scoring the game-winning goal, assisted by Jordan Martel and Davis Bunz. Even without the overtime period, would the Royals have stood a chance with their unmotivated gameplay? Was the tying goal in the last 30 seconds worth it just to fall in less than a minute in overtime? This game posed many questions as to how the game will run in the weekend series and also how the rest of the season will play out as well. Will there continue to be games where we go up multiple goals but then fall in overtime or even in regulation? Where does there need to be change to maintain that edge throughout the entire game? Should the focus be less on finishing checks and more so on continuing to push for more goals? The questions continue to collect as the season continues to look a bit worrisome as it starts to head down the second half.