If a team loses three-straight games in overtime to start a series, they go down 3-0 with a chance to get swept. They’d be in the same spot as a team that gets blown out every game. It doesn’t sound fair, right?
Ask the Reading Royals.
The Royals are down 3-0 in their first round series against the Manchester Monarchs after three overtime losses. In Games 1 and 2 in Manchester, they lost in double overtime, while they lost in the first overtime in Game 3.
To add insult to injury, both games in Manchester had very controversial goaltender interference decisions in overtime. In Game 1, a shot from Reading’s Matias Cleland was sent into an open net but was immediately waved off. Matt Wilkins took goaltender Charles Williams out of the play, and the referee immediately said it was no goal. However, Wilkins seemingly was tripped by David Kolomatis, and that was what sent him sliding into the crease.
In Game 2, Jordan LaVallee-Smotherman of the Monarchs burst into the slot from the right wing and was lightly pushed by Nolan Zajac. LaVallee-Smotherman slid straight into John Muse and didn’t make an extreme effort to get away from him. Muse couldn’t grab the puck or get up because of him being in the crease. Zac Lynch skated behind the net to get the puck and banked it off LaVallee-Smotherman, and it went into the net. This was apparently a good goal.
Check out both goals in this video from Royals broadcaster David Fine.
The ECHL has no version of video review, so the ruling is made by the refs’ first view and discussion thereafter. There was no controversy surrounding the Monarch’s win in Game 3.
The Royals have held a lead in each game, which makes it so much harder to accept these losses. John Muse has been unprecedented, making 54, 53, and 52 saves in each game, respectively. What’s even crazier is that these three games have been played within four days of each other, meaning the teams have basically played over four hockey games in four days (259:10 minutes).
It’s unfortunate to see where the Royals are right now, but a call or two in their favor and a timely goal could have had this series being 3-0 for Reading. With Muse playing lights-out and Chris McCarthy scoring 6 points so far, this series still has the potential to turn around in the Royals’ favor, but it’ll take a lot to reverse-sweep the Monarchs.
Game 4 is tonight at 7 p.m.
Photo via Reading Royals