The Royals Review
Royals sweep ’Blades, advance to Conference Finals
READING, Pa. – The Reading Royals have advanced to the American Conference Finals for only the second time in the team’s existence and the first time as the ECHL affiliate of the Maple Leafs and Marlies. The Royals won four straight games against the Florida Everblades in the conference semifinals, taking all four games by one goal. It was the first playoff sweep in the nine-year history of the club. It’s obvious that with all of their reinforcements back from the AHL, the Royals are a talented team and with the benefit of a rest and recuperation period prior to the start of the next round, Reading is in a fine position to take a serious run at the Kelly Cup.
Five players with Leafs/Marlies connections are playing key roles as the Royals await their next round opponent: either Cincinnati(affiliated with Montreal and Nashville) or Charlotte (ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers and Colorado). Here’s how the Toronto-contracted players fared during their series win over Florida (with ECHL playoff statistics).
Alex Berry – The former UMass-Amherst star isn’t seeing tons of ice time in the playoffs but is playing an important role as a third-line winger. He’s playing a fairly simple game; he chipped in a pair of assists and his plus/minus was even in the series against Florida. (9GP-1G-3A- +2 -4 PIM)
Stefano Giliati – The bad news is that the former Lewiston Maineiacs star didn’t do much in the second round of the playoffs. The good news is Reading still swept the series. Although one of the Royals’ top scorers in the regular season, he managed nine shots in the series against Florida, but just a single assist. If he finds the scoring range again in the next round, Reading could be really difficult to stop. (9GP-3G-1A- -1 – 8PIM)
Ben Gordon–If they gave an award for a series MVP, Gordon would have gotten a large share of the votes. The second-year pro LW has at least a point in eight of Reading’s nine playoff games this season and in the series-clinching 2-1 victory in Florida, he assisted on the first goal and then scored the game-winner midway through the third period. He was named as second star in that game. He’s on as good a roll as he’s had all season and that’s saying something considering he tied for 12th in league scoring despite playing just 56 games with Reading (he played another 16 games in the AHL including seven with the Marlies).(Under contract to Reading.) (9GP-2G-9A- +7 – 4 PIM)
Todd Perry – He’s not contributing points but he’s not expected to. What he is contributing is solid defence work. The 23-year-old, third-year pro didn’t make many mistakes in the second-round victory over Florida and finished the four games as a +2. (9GP-0G-1A- 5 -2 PIM)
Joey Ryan – His only appearance to date in the playoffs was in the first-round series clincher against Kalamazoo. He’s along for the ride as an extra defenceman now. (1GP-0G-0A- -1 -2 PIM)
Greg Scott– The RW from Victoria, B.C., who appeared in 71 games with the Marlies this season, played a key role in Reading’s second-round win. He assisted on five goals in the first three games including setting up the game-winner in Game Three. He was named second star in that game. (6GP-0G-6A- +3
Andrew Engelage – Is set in the role as backup goaltender for the rest of the playoffs unless something dramatic happens to starter Matt Dalton (a Boston Bruins’ prospect). (Has yet to appear in a playoff game.)
Barry Schickling can be contacted at Barry.DoubleSMedia@rocketmail.com