Season Ending Loss In Reading

(PR) Trenton, NJ, April 3, 2010 – Trenton allowed more goals Saturday than in any of its previous 71 contests this season, losing, 8-4, at Sovereign Center. A night after the Devils’ playoff hopes were quashed by Reading’s overtime victory in Wheeling, the Royals’ relentless offense produced the 11th win in 14 meetings with the Devils. Three players had four or more points for the home team and goalie Kain Tisi made 42 saves in his professional debut.

Stefano Giliati notched four assists, Andrew Saraurer had three goals and three assists and Daniel Steiner had four goals and one assist to pave the way for the Royals. The three stars of the game teamed up to produce the game’s first score, an even strength goal in transition at 6:26 of the first. Giliati started the play and Saraurer passed from the left goal line to the crease for Steiner’s score. Captain Dinos Stamoulis created the next scoring opportunity, reversing a Devils rush and leading Sarauer for a two-on-one. The drop pass on the high right came to Steiner for another goal. Before the first period was halfway complete, Ryan Cruthers tacked on his 22nd of the year on a pass to the backdoor from Ben Gordon and the Royals had a 3-0 lead.

The Devils fought back with two goals to close out the first, both on the power play. Dan Eves whirled and whipped the puck under Tisi’s pads after a centering pass from Matt Vokes and a secondary from Trevor Kell at 11:35. A minute later, Chris Poli’s rocket from the deep right-wing circle got the Devils within 3-2, with Tim Kunes and Ryan Ginand contributing.

The same 3-2 output was replicated in the second period for a 6-4 Royals edge after two. The period began with Sarauer getting his first goals of the game in quick succession. Moments after Tisi denied Kell on a shorthanded breakaway, an otherwise successful penalty kill couldn’t prevent another transition goal. A shorthanded breakaway for Ryan Cruthers forced goalie Jeff Lerg to make a sprawling save, but the rebound from Sarauer made it through for a 5-2 Royals lead.

Jeremy Akeson got points on the next two Trenton scores to again put the Devils on the comeback trail, first with a pass interception and a breakaway goal, his eighth of the season, and then assisting on a Dan Eves tally at 17:06 of the second to make it Royals 5, Devils 4. Eves’ goal was his second of the night and fourth in the last two games, and his 23 for the season are only short of Jack Combs’ 24 and Jeff Prough’s 30.

Reading finished things off with authority, scoring the last three goals of the game. Sarauer completed a hat trick by beating Lerg glove side. He’d earn his sixth point of the night on the Royals’ next goal, another hat trick from Steiner. Giliati assisted on that score and the final nail, crashing the net and then watching Steiner bang it home for his fourth goal of the game with 30 seconds left and an 8-4 victory over the Devils.

Trenton finishes the season 33-30-4-5, 75pts, third place in the East Division and ninth in the American Conference. 21 of those wins came in the final half of the season, and Trenton’s final quarter of the season was their strongest, posting 22 points in the final 18 games, but ultimately coming up three points short of a playoff spot.

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15 Responses to “Season Ending Loss In Reading”

  1. Bob Smyth Says:

    Just a sidebar to the game: my son and I drove over to Reading, and what a pleasure it was to see a full, sold-out, building. The Devils’ organization needs to move in this direction. As a start, every season ticket holder should be sent a questionnaire asking what (everything!) the organization could do to improve things. Also, every former season ticket holder should get the same questionnaire (they’re still out there, and they all showed up for Bertoli night in Feb. 2009).

  2. I want real hockey in Trenton Says:

    Bob, that would require the Devils to spend money on marketing. And they don’t care about marketing and putting fans in the seats. As long as the NHL team contends every year and they can develop a handful of minor league players in their system, they could care less how many people watch them play.

  3. Mike M. Says:

    I went to two Royals games during the season and their GM was personally out in the corridor asking folks if they were enjoying themselves and if the team could do anything to make their experience better. We told him we liked their ticket prices (2 tickets for $15) and the food was reasonably priced. Then we said don’t change a thing.

    Of course you had the selfish asses who had the nerve to complain that $7.50 a ticket isn’t good enough because “the team sucks” (these two specific trips were at the time Reading was leading the division by the way).

  4. chiarams Says:

    Bob – it’d also require the Devils to drop the Devils name in Trenton. Until that happens, there’s no chance of getting most of the Flyer/Ranger fans in the area to support the team.

  5. Section 106, Row F Says Says:

    As a now “former” season ticket holder – the luster of hockey in Trenton is gone, and so am I. The end of the season was exciting, as it should be, but a team cannot expect to pull out the stops in the last 15 games and come up with a realistic hope for a post season…not in this league.

    It wasn’t a lack of effort – the players tried. It wasn’t a lack of talent – individually, the players are good, solid INDIVIDUALS. But they never gelled as a TEAM. That’s the coaches job…

    Overall, and I doubt anyone can sanely argue this, the leadership was missing. The lack of emotion filtered down from Lou and sons, through Kowalsky and Williams to the players and, dare I say, the fans themselves. If the organization doesn’t care, why should the players?The best thing Kowalsky did for the team was to light them on fire by getting thrown out of a game. HE SHOULD HAVE DONE THAT IN NOVEMBER!! A dismal, emotionless start of the 09-10 season proved too much to overcome.

    Ed Levin and the marketing crew missed an opportunity this year. They could have helped turn the season around by reversing that downward spiral. Advertise! Put a few spots on local radio and cable. Hand out more incentives at the door – a few promotional t-shirts, caps or pucks won’t kill the budget – but it’ll get butts in seats. This in turn shows the players they have something to play for, and that filters up.

    So I may get a 12 pack of tickets for 10-11 – but only because I’m a hockey fan. The T-Devs will have to do a hell of a lot to make me a T-Devs fan again.

  6. thunderbaseball Says:

    Are the coaches partly responsible? Sure. Completely their fault? No.

    Look at the overall level of talent on the team…compare it even to Elmira. You can’t tell me Elmira isn’t a ton more talented than Trenton. Where they ended up in the standings is indicative of the talent this team had. Good, but not enough.

    Could the marketing be better? Absolutely. But there’s no money for them to use to market the team. Not their fault, take that up with the parent org.

  7. Section 106, Row F Says Says:

    Excerpt from above…”The lack of emotion filtered down from Lou and sons, through Kowalsky and Williams to the players and, dare I say, the fans themselves.”

    I blame the organization…the marketing…the coaches…the players…and the fans. It all goes hand in hand.

    Enough said?

  8. chiarams Says:

    It’s cyclical. How excited can you get playing in front of 500-1,000 people most nights? And yet, why would people want to turn out to watch mediocre hockey in a building with all the excitement of a eulogy?

    Indifference breeds indifference.

  9. Section 106, Row F Says Says:

    And….it comes from the top

  10. Bob Smyth Says:

    Much of what Section 106, Row F says is true, and I’d like to add a couple of things. The T-Devils did have injury issues on and off throughout the season. When healthy, look what they were able to do v. Elmira (4 wins, 3 of them blowouts). If the Reading game meant something, I think the T-Devils would have won it. Clearly, they’re the best team not in the playoffs. That part can be credited to the coach – he had them playing at a high level, and they believed in themselves. The marketing was abysmal. Few handouts, few group offers, few attractions (how about getting Luc back for a night to sign autographs, how about Bertoli? How about tickets to NJ Devils’ games? How about getting the games back on the radio?) The leadership point is well taken. Coaching staff can only go so far. The team needs a voice in the room, like Bertoli, MacLean, Cam White, etc. Over the years, especially since the Devils took over, I went from 4 club seats to 2, to 1, and now to 1, but only half a season. Quality of play, empty building, obvious lack of interest on the part of management were some of my reasons. The over 6,000 people that came to Bertoli night in Feb. 2009 shows that those once-season ticket holders are still there. Management should make every effort to get them back.

  11. thunderbaseball Says:

    Being the best team not in the ECHL playoffs is kind of like being the tallest midget, though…just about everyone makes it.

  12. chiarams Says:

    “The over 6,000 people that came to Bertoli night in Feb. 2009 shows that those once-season ticket holders are still there. Management should make every effort to get them back.”

    Agreed, and I’d like to think they’ve tried as best they can on a shoestring budget. Add to that mix several thousand Phantoms fans that no longer have an outlet for affordable hockey and there’s gotta be a pool of folks that are looking for exactly what the T-Devs are offering.

    But to beat the dead horse, the brand won’t sell, and never will sell.

  13. #39 Fan Says:

    I think the team gets a lot of credit for hanging tough and coming within a smidgen of the playoffs. They pretty much kept the the same core of players and didn’t shuffle the roster each night(players down from the AHL) the way Reading and Elmira seemed to do down the stretch. Also, there should have been more emphasis on defense during the season. Maybe have Scott Stevens or Kenny D. come in once a month to assist in practices. Defense and Goaltending are the Devils way of winning and that should be instilled first and foremost at the T-Devs level. Plus, I think they should have traded G. Coleman once the decision was made to make Caruso the #1 goalie. I can’t defend G.C ‘s performance at times but there were games where Caruso had to be relived by Gerald and he played well and the team responded as well,too. I was distressed that the best thing to say about him in the game notes was ” has not played since giving up six goals vs. Toledo” Couldn’t it say “was the winning goalie on the ROAD against a team that wasn’t named Elmira(early March in Wheeling). Or, came within 4 mins. of having the first shutout on the ROAD vs. Florida. But, its a TEAM game after all and if EVERYONE played with the heart and determination that Tony Z. showed night after night then the Kelly Cup will make a regular occurence in Trenton.

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  15. Couldn't resist Says:

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