Reading Royals Review
Reading Royals Review
READING, Pa. – One series down and three to go. That’s the way the Reading Royals are looking at their ECHL Kelly Cup playoff run so far.
The Royals, the ECHL affiliate of the Maple Leafs and Marlies, struggled at the outset of their first-round playoff series against Cincinnati, losing the first game and going into the second overtime period of game No. 2 in the best-of-five Eastern Conference quarterfinal. But a critical extra-time marker By Ben Gordon evened the series, got Reading’s train back on the track and the Royals took both games in Ohio for a 3-1 series victory. Up next for the Royals is Kalamazoo, the New York Islanders’ ECHL partner. The teams split a pair of matches during the regular season; Reading eliminated Kalamazoo in the first round of the playoffs in 2010. From here on out, the rest of the series are best-of-seven matchups.
With the Marlies’ season ending without an appearance in the Calder Cup playoffs, Reading has gotten one last roster piece back in place. Goaltender Ben Scrivens, who set a Reading record with nine consecutive victories this season, returns to the ECHL for the first time since Feb. 6 in order to see his first pro playoff experience. Expect him to see most of the action between the pipes for as long as the Royals’ post-season run lasts.
Here is a brief look at the other Toronto-contracted players who are on the team’s playoff roster (with 2011 ECHL playoff statistics in parentheses):
Matt Caruana – The C from Orono, Ontario scored the first goal of the series against Cincinnati in his first career ECHL playoff game. The third-year pro also scored goals in two other games including the game winner in the game No. 3 of the series. He’s the pivot on the second line and also killing penalties and working on the power play. He’s been above 50 percent in the face-off circle, too. Caruana was one of Reading’s top performers in the series win over the Cyclones. (4 GP – 3G – 0A – +4 – 2 PIM)
Dale Mitchell – After playing just five games with the Royals during the regular season, the rookie RW was returned by the Leafs from the Marlies for games three and four against Cincinnati. Reading’s record when he played for the Royals in the regular season was 1-4. In the playoffs so far, it’s 2-0. (2 GP – 0G – 0A – even – 0 PIM)
Rob Slaney – As the second-round of the playoffs begins, the second-year pro is one of the black aces. His inability to crack the roster is a testament to the quality of the 16 active skaters that Reading is employing right now. But with potentially three series and 21 more games to come this spring, it’s a reasonable bet that the LW will get a chance to get back on the ice at some point and help the Kelly Cup quest. (0 GP)
Barry Schickling can be contacted at Barry.DoubleSMedia@rocketmail.com