(PR) Trenton, NJ – Chris Blight and Casey Haines scored in the opening 3:08 of the third period to snap a 2-2 tie and the Reading Royals defeated the Trenton Devils, 6-3, Friday at Sun National Bank Center.
For the Atlantic Division champion Royals (44-22-2-3), the win helps their hopes of an Eastern Conference regular-season championship alive, starting the day a point behind the Greenville Road Warriors. The Devils drop to 26-37-2-6 and finish their 2010-11 schedule at Sun National Bank Center with a record of 15-16-1-4.
The winning goalie in the final game of the season at Sun National Bank Center was Matt Dalton, who made 23 saves on 26 shots, his fourth win in five games vs. Trenton. Prior to taking their first lead of the game in the third period, the Royals received goals from Andrew Sarauer and Olivier Labelle.
Jeff Prough continued his strong play by collecting points on all three Devils goals (two goals, one assist), while Ryan Hayes also scored for Trenton. With 14 saves, the losing goalie was Dave Caruso.
After the teams played on even footing throughout the first half of the opening period, Hayes scored his 23rd goal of the season at 11:27 of the opening frame and gave the Devils a 1-0 lead. Hayes’ second goal in the last two games was scored when the Trenton rookie knocked the puck out of mid-air, with Jeff Prough earning the assist.
However, the Royals’ league-leading offense responded less than five minutes later, when Olivier Labelle potted his 20th goal of the season. On the power play, Labelle’s goal came off a deflection of a feed by Rob Kwiet, and Ryan Cruthers also garnered a helper.
The Devils regained their lead when Jeff Prough scored his first goal of the game at 14:52 of the second period, by scoring on his third attempt of the sequence as he was falling to the ice, after getting tripped at the side of the net by a Reading defenseman. Assists on the play went to J.S. Berube and Chris Berenguer, whose helper was his sixth in his first seven games as a pro.
But, the Royals again responded as Andrew Sarauer scored out of a net-mouth scrum, with 41 seconds left in the second period, to knot the teams 2-2 after 40 minutes.
Building momentum off their tying goal, the Royals went ahead for the first time when Chris Blight beat Caruso with a wrist shot at 1:24 of the third period. Two minutes later, Casey Haines added insurance for the Royals and made the score 4-2 by notching his 18th goal of the season.
Jeff Prough scored his second of the game and 24th of the year with 2:16 left in the third period to cut Reading’s lead to one, but the Devils’ comeback attempts were foiled when Chris Blight made the score 5-3 with an empty-net goal in the game’s final minute. Andrew Sarauer scored his second of the game, a shorthanded empty-netter, with eight seconds left to finish the scoring.
The Devils and Royals will be back in action tomorrow night, when Trenton finishes its 2010-11 schedule with a 7:00 p.m. game at Sovereign Center.