A Royal Mess

(PR) Trenton, NJ – With the score tied 2-2, Reading’s Devin Timberlake and Matt Caruana scored 57 seconds apart in the second period, giving the Royals a lead they would never relinquish Sunday evening. Matt Lombardi scored on the power play for the Devils with 8:38 remaining in the third period to draw Trenton back to within a goal, but Matt Dalton foiled the Devils down the stretch by making 16 of his 37 saves in the third period, earning his second win of the season against Trenton.

The Devils scored on their first shot of the game Sunday afternoon, with Ryan Hayes extending his point streak to eight consecutive games by beating Matt Dalton with a slap shot 49 seconds into the first period. Assisted by J.S. Berube and Justin Coutu, Hayes’ goal moved the Syracuse, NY native into a tie for seventh place in scoring among ECHL rookies. The Royals pulled even 5:31 later, with Ben Gordon notching his 10th goal of the season by firing a shot over Dave Caruso’s shoulder. Rob Slaney put Reading ahead 2-1 by scoring a shorthanded goal at 15:12 of the first period, but J.S. Berube tied the game 2-2 with 1:52 remaining in the opening stanza, scoring on the power play as Reading’s Matt Caruana was serving a two-minute penalty for interference.

After the Devils played on equal footing with the Atlantic Division-leading Royals through one period, a red-hot Reading club used the second period to get the advantage on Trenton. The Royals took the lead when Devin Timberlake scored off a pass from John Scrymgeour, after Louis Liotti had started the play with a long-range pass to Scrymegeour from deep in Reading’s defensive zone. The Royals added insurance when Matt Caruana deflected a point-shot from Rob Kwiet past Dave Caruso 8:51 into the second period.

In the third period, the Devils held a decisive shooting advantage over the Royals, at a clip of 17-9. Justin Pender and Brad Miller set up Matt Lombardi’s power-play goal to bring the Devils to within a goal of Reading in the game’s final nine minutes, but Trenton was unable to find the equalizer. Devin Timberlake capped off the day’s scoring by depositing an insurance marker into an empty net in the game’s final minute, as Reading went on to defeat Trenton 5-3.

A bright spot for Trenton in Sunday’s loss was its power play which finished the game scoring twice on seven opportunities. Sunday was the Devils’ fifth consecutive game with a power-play goal, with Trenton scoring multiple power-play goals in four of those five games. With a record of 11-13-0-2, the Devils will next be in action Wednesday when they square off with the Elmira Jackals at Sun National Bank Center at 7:00 p.m.

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