(T-Devils PR) Trenton, NJ – A spirited rally in the last minute of regulation on Sunday afternoon salvaged a point for the Trenton Devils but the Reading Royals prevailed in overtime to sweep the weekend series, while also winning for the sixth time in six games this season.
Sunday’s contest started with a bang. After the Devils dominated play in the opening minutes, captain Trevor Kell delivered a crushing hit on Royal defenseman Rob LaLonde in the Reading zone, shattering the glass on the right wing sideboards. Once play resumed, Reading wasted little time retaliating. Dan Steiner took a pass from Ben Gordon, cruised down the left wing into the Devils zone and whipped a quick wrist shot towards goal that sailed in over Gerald Coleman’s glove to give the Royals the early 1-0 lead at 4:36. Ryan Cruthers then made it 2-0 at 15:38 with his sixth of the year. Gordon and Steiner assisted. The Devils had several quality scoring opportunities and poured on 21 shots in the first, a season high for a period, but were unable to connect on their chances.
The Royals padded their lead five minutes into the second after Marc Cavosie took advantage of a Devils turnover to make it 3-0. The goal seemed to let the air out of Trenton’s tires as the hard pressing offense they exhibited in the first period quieted in the second. When the Devils did penetrate the Reading zone, goaltender Matt Daltonshut them down at every turn.
Kyle Kucharski finally found a way to solve Dalton at 4:19 of the third period when his aggressive forechecking paid off. With Dalton controlling the puck in front of his crease, Kucharski jumped in front of his clearing attempt and found himself all alone in front with the puck on his stick. Kucharski turned and buried his sixth of the year to pull the Devils within two.
Still searching for a way back into the game through the third, The Devils finally broke through in the final minute. Starting a power play inside of the 18-minute mark, Coleman was pulled after a time out, setting up a six-on-four with under a minute left in regulation. Kunes got the puck deep and Dan Eaves gathered at the bottom of the right circle and swung it across the goal mouth for Trevor Kell who slammed it home. Just 31 seconds later, Kunes threw a wrist shot through traffic that found its way through to tie the game at 3-3. Kell and Jeff Prough assisted and the game headed to overtime.
The Royals broke the tie 1:33 into the extra period on Joey Ryan’s second goal of the year. Stefano Giliati sent the puck to LaLonde who controlled the puck on the left wing, buying enough time for Ryan to get to the net and redirect the pass by Coleman.
Matt Dalton earned the win with 35 saves, improving his record to 5-4-0-0 and extending the Royals’ record to 13-8-1-1. The Devils notch their 20th point of the season, and are now tied with Johnstown for third place in the East. Trenton takes to the road to take on the South Divion’s fourth place team, Gwinnett, Wednesday night, and the South’s division leader, South Carolina Friday and Saturday.