The Royals started the trip well, winning two games, but could not sustain the momentum.
Joel Laing turned aside 32 shots and Mike Hurley added a goal and an assist to help the Wheeling Nailers defeat the Royals, 3-2, Feb. 1. Laing, who stopped all 18 shots he faced over the first two periods, allowed only a pair of late third-period goals five minutes apart to Bryan Forslund, stopping a personal two-game losing skid. Hurley scored a power-play goal midway through the first period and assisted Kurt Drummond on his 10th marker with 1:05 remaining in regulation, for a 3-1 lead. The Nailers, who improved to 12-1-0 when leading after one period, snapped a five-game home losing streak. Jeff Salajko stopped 32 shots in a losing effort for Reading.
The Royals met strong goaltending again Feb. 2, as Bryce Wandler turned aside 41 shots to help the Charlotte Checkers oust the Reading Royals, 4-2. Wandler stopped 24 shots over the final two periods for his fifth straight win, extending his personal unbeaten streak to 13 games (9-0-4). Brandon Dietrich recorded his fifth goal and 10th point over his last six games for Charlotte, which has won all four games during its current eight-game homestand. Brendan Brooks and Tyler Prosofsky each had a goal for Reading. For the second night in a row, Salajko watched a solid effort evaporate into a loss. He made a made a season-high 40 saves in the loss, dropping his record to 6-8-1.ˆ ˆ ˆ ˆ
Scott Matzka had two goals and an assist to lead the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies past the Royals, 4-1, Feb. 6. Matzka scored 19 seconds into the second period on a two-man advantage assisted by Luke Curtain, set up Curtain for a score six minutes later and netted his 13th marker with 8:52 remaining in the match. J.F. Caudron, who scored a power-play goal 51 seconds into the second, extended his goal-scoring streak to five games (8g, 2a) for Atlantic City, which improved to 5-1-1 over its last seven home games. Shane Belter had three assists and Scott Stirling stopped 29 shots in the win for the Boardwalk Bullies. Brad Rooney scored his team-leading 17th goal for Reading, which has lost three straight. Jeff Salajko stopped 32 shots in defeat, falling to 3-0-3 in his last six games.ˆ
Former Royal Ryan Flinn has been making headlines, literally, since being called up to the Los Angeles Kings, the Royals' NHL affiliate.
Flinn is establishing himself as a fighter, taking on some of the NHL's big shots, including the Philadelphia Flyers' Todd Fedoruk. The Kings requested that the league expunge an instigating penalty levied against Flinn for the Feb. 4 game, but the request was denied. Flinn racked up 17 penalty minutes in the game, two for instigating, five for fighting and a ten-minute misconduct.
Flinn is fifth in penalty minutes among NHL rookies, despite playing in only five games as of Feb. 6. The rookie has 36 penalty minutes in those games. Kings' Coach Andy Murray is impressed with Flinn, a 6-foot-4, 234-pound rookie.
"We liked him in summer camp," Murray told the Los Angeles
Daily News. "He got into a fight with another big kid, and we still have that on tape...He plays that role the way it's supposed to be played."
Flinn started the season in Reading, and was called up to the Manchester Monarchs, the Royals' AHL affiliate, Dec. 5.
If Flinn receives two more instigating penalties this season, he will serve a one-game suspension.