Reading, PA – In a battle for the top slot in the North Division, the Reading Royals (14-5-1=29) gave up two goals to the Wheeling Nailers in the first period and were forced to play catch up all night long, but were unable to muster the opportunities to pull it off, losing to Wheeling, 5-2. With the win, the Nailers now have 30 points–one point ahead of the Royals in the North Division standings, although the Royals do have two games in hand with respect to Wheeling.
Daniel Carcillo, who was re-assigned by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to Wheeling today, scored the game's first goal at the 8:31 mark of the first period on a two-on-one break with Paul Bissonette, who was also re-assigned from the Penguins today. Bissonette floated a nice diagonal feed off the top of the left circle to the charging Carcillo, who one-timed the puck from the mid-point of the right circle while poised on one knee to beat Royals' goaltender, Cody Rudkowsky. 4:21 later, after Reading failed to clear the defensive zone, the Nailers Jordan Cameron fired a sharp angle shot from low in the right circle that somehow snuck by Rudkowsky and into the far side of the net to give Wheeling a 2-0 lead after one period.
In the second the Royals got back in the game with a power play goal by Dany Roussin, who has now scored three goals in just four games for Reading. Greg Hogeboom fed a puck from low on the right wing side to the top of the crease, where Roussin was planted and was able to re-direct the puck high over the sprawling Wheeling netminder, Andy Chiodo. With that assist, Hogeboom extended his personal point streak to twelve games–the longest in the ECHL this season. The Nailers came right back, however, and regained the two goal lead, when defenseman Terry Virtue fired a shot from the right wing point that appeared to hit someone out front of the Royals' net and re-direct behind Rudkowsky at the 11:59 mark of the second. 1:18 later, the Royals' Grant Jacobsen was able to battle his way to the front of the Nailers' net and get the puck the puck to Doug Christiansen, who maintained his ground at the top of the crease and was able to punch it in. But in the waning moments of the second, the Nailers put a dagger in the heart of the Royals by converting on another two-on-one break–this one when Sean Collins fed Bo Cheesman for the one timer–with just 47 seconds left in the period.
In the third, the Royals could not impose their will on the Nailers, who played solidly with the lead and picked up an empty netter from Carcillo with just 32 seconds left to put the proverbial nail in Reading's coffin. This marked the second loss in a row for the Royals for only the second time this season, and snapped a personal seven game win streak for goaltender, Cody Rudkowsky.