Yes, they lost…in heartbreaking fashion, too…but the real story here is the health of Chris Poli, who has arguably been the T-Devils best player over the past few weeks. And Dave Caruso didn’t finish the game after playing the first 20 minutes, either. Yikes.
(PR) Trenton, NJ, January 18, 2010 – The Reading Royals won their eighth game in as meetings against the Devils, 4-3, Monday afternoon on the strength of Ben Gordon’s rebound goal with 1.2 seconds left in regulation. Fighting back from deficits of 1-0 and 3-1, the Devils scored twice in the third period to get the game tied, but never held the lead.
Chris Poli factored into each of Trenton’s scores (1g, 2a), launching Trenton’s comeback early in the third with his third goal coming on assists from Slavomir Tomko and Dan Eves. His assist on the game tying goal came with a price. Sandwiched hard between two Royals, Poli crumpled to the ice as he steered the puck toward the oncoming Tomko. With most of the attention on the fallen Poli, Tomko beat Dalton off the right post at 16:02 of the third, his sixth of the year, to tie the game 3-3. Poli eventually skated to the bench with help from the training staff.
The Devils had chances to pull ahead in the final four minutes, including a two-minute power play after a Jimmy Fraser hold at 17:21. Trenton moved the puck well and produced several quality chances, but could not get the bounce, as goalie Matt Dalton and his defense kept the puck away from the goal mouth. Trenton’s power play had six chances on the day, and despite good puck movement, could not convert.
Three Devils power plays came in the first period, but it was the Royals scoring just as Dinos Stamoulis emerged from the penalty box at 10:40 of the first. Marc Cavosie led a three-on-two on the left wing and passing on the strong side between Rob LaLonde and Bryan Ewing eventually got it back to Cavosie in the high slot for a slapper over goalie Dave Caruso’s glove and a 1-0 Reading lead.
Jack Combs tied the game five minutes later, redirecting blast from Dave Leaderer. Combs tipped it perfectly toward Matt Dalton’s five hole, and the puck trickled through and across the goal line before Dalton could reach back to grab it. Poli picked up the secondary assist, his first of three points in the game.
Goals for Olivier Labelle and Rob LaLonde reclaimed the lead for Reading in the second period. Dinos Stamoulis created the chance for Labelle, taking advantage of open space on the right side, passing sharply to slot for the goal from Labelle at 8:10 and the 2-1 lead. LaLonde notched the third Royals goal on the power play from Cavosie and Ben McLeod at 10:33.
The 3-1 lead was served up in the third, but Gordon’s game-winner after a Charlie Kronschnabel face-off win denied the Devils even a point. Trenton (13-19-4-5, 35pts ) enters the all-star break five points out of second place, with a matchup with Johnstown this Friday.