(PR) Reading, PA – The Devils lost to the Reading Royals, 4-3, in a shootout Wednesday at Sovereign Center. Trenton came back from deficits of 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 on goals from Dave Leaderer, Martin Nolet and Mike Potacco to force overtime, but Reading took the shootout in eight rounds, 2-1. Dave Caruso made 35 saves, opposite Matt Dalton who made 40 saves for the Royals, holding the Devils scoreless on their final seven shootout chances.
The Royals capitalized on an early power play following a double-minor against Myles Stoesz. Rob Kwiet scored his seventh of the season on a point shot at 2:11, just 13 seconds into the man-advantage. Ryan Cruthers and Ben Gordon assisted on the opening score that kept the Royals in the lead until late in the second period.
Already short one skater to start the game, the Devils lost J.S. Berube to a game misconduct and Brad Miller to injury in the first period. With only 13 skaters and a 1-0 deficit, the Devils struggled through a first period during which they were assessed seven penalties and were outshot 14-7.
The Devils were more settled to start the second period, but could not convert on a carryover penalty. Ryan Ginand, who paced the Devils with two assists, failed to convert on a penalty shot six minutes into the second period. Dave Leaderer got the Devils’ first goal at 14:01 on a drive from the right point, with assists to Trevor Kell and Ginand. The tying score was Leaderer’s fifth of the year, and his 27 points are most among Devils defensemen.
Chris Blight put the Royals back on top less than two minutes later with an unassisted goal that tipped off Caruso and slid toward the goal line, but as Caruso dove backward for the free puck, he nudged it into the net for Blight’s 16th of the year and a 2-1 Reading lead.
Martin Nolet re-tied the game three minutes into the third period, taking a feed from Ryan Hayes just after a Ryan Ginand face-off win in the left-wing circle. Nolet’s left-point shot knotted the game, 2-2, for the rookie defenseman’s third of the year, as the Devils peppered Dalton with 33 shots in the final two periods.
After Leaderer was called for closing his hand on the puck later in the third, the Royals scored their second man-up goal on their sixth chance. Olivier Labelle tipped in a Rob Kwiet point shot at 7:46 for a 3-2 Royals lead, as Kwiet and Cruthers notched their second points of the night.
Trenton tied the game for the third time on Mike Potacco’s first career goal at 13:27 of the third on a rebound of a Myles Stoesz wraparound try with a secondary assist to Matt Lombardi. The Devils couldn’t cash in on a late-third-period power play and were silenced on three overtime chances.
In the shootout, Ryan Hayes put the Devils up 1-0 in the first round, but Chris Blight tied it in the fourth round and Denny Urban won it in the eighth round, 2-1.
Trenton returns home for a Friday contest against the Toledo Walleye at 7 p.m.