The Reading Royals are in the midst of a competitive first-round playoff series against the Brampton Beast in the 2017 Kelly Cup Playoffs, and so far, the numbers 2-1 have been the theme of the series.
Not only do the Royals currently trail two games to one after three games of the series, but each game so far has been decided by a 2-1 score, as well.
The Royals are looking at a tough task ahead, as games four and five are being played in Brampton, as well, which means that the Royals need to win at least one on the road if they want to bring the series back to Reading.
The Kelly Cup Playoffs feature a best-of-seven first round series, but the format for home games is 2-3-2, which I have always found to be an unusual format for a playoff series. The Royals finished the season clinching home ice advantage in the first round, but more often than not a 2-3-2 format can almost seem like a disadvantage to the team with “home ice advantage,” unless the series becomes a six or seven game series.
Let’s take a look at the series so far:
Date: Thursday, April 13, 2017
Score: Beast 1 | Royals 2
Reading, PA: The Royals kicked off their playoff series against the Beast last Thursday, and came away with a game 1 victory by a score of 2-1.
Robbie Czarnik and Todd Perry scored the goals for the Royals, and Mark Dekanich got the series started on a high note, stopping 43 of the 44 shots he faced in net.
The Royals were out-shot by the Beast 44-36, and did not convert on any of their three power play chances, but they were able to put the puck in twice at even strength, and rode Dekanich’s goaltending to the victory.
Game highlights via the Reading Royals:
Date: Saturday, April 15, 2017
Score: Beast 2 | Royals 1 (OT)
Reading, PA: The Royals looked to utilize home advantage to take a 2-0 series lead, as they played game two back on Saturday, but unfortunately for them, they were unable to hold off the Beast, and ended up losing 2-1 in overtime.
Dekanich performed very well in net again, stopping 38 of the 40 shots he faced, but Zachary Fucale of the Beast stopped 30 of the 31 shots he faced, and has given the Royals a tough time in his two appearances in this series.
Ryan Penny scored the only goal for the Royals, who were out-shot 40-31 by the Beast, and could not convert any of their five power play chances.
Penny’s goal was just over two minutes into the game, and the Royals held the Beast off of the board completely until just under four minutes left to play in the game. Not only that, but the Beast would finish off the win nearly 15 minutes into overtime.
Game highlights via the Reading Royals:
Date: Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Score: Royals 1 | Beast 2
Brampton, ON: The teams traveled to Brampton for game three on Tuesday night, and the result was very similar to Saturday night, as the Beast came away with a 2-1 win, this time in regulation.
Fucale was trouble for the Royals again, stopping 25 of the 26 shots that the Royals put on goal, and that proved to be the difference. Dekanich did play well, also, as he stopped 30 of the 32 shots he faced.
Each team converted once on the power play in this game, and Matt Willows was the only goal scorer for the Royals. The Beast scored their goals less than three minutes apart in the first period, and then Willows made a game of it in the second, but neither team was able to put the puck in the net in the third period.
Game highlights via the Brampton Beast:
- Chris McCarthy (0 G, 3 A for 3 points in 3 games)
- Seven players tied with 1 point each
As mentioned earlier, the Royals have a tough task ahead, as they would certainly benefit from bringing the series back to Reading, which would only occur if they are able to take one of the next two games on the road. They have to figure out how to get pucks past Fucale, but they have the capability to put up some offense, as we saw at times this season.
Dekanich is really holding the Royals, and their struggling offense in this series, as he has made 111 saves on the 116 total shots he has faced in this series so far. Based on his playing time, that is good for a GAA of just 1.56, and equals out to a save percentage of 95.7%. If Dekanich is able to keep up his great goaltending, hopefully the team will be able to let loose, and get the puck in the net, to take some of the pressure off.
Game four will be held tomorrow night at Brampton at 7:15 PM ET. Let’s go, Royals!Follow @Brian_Sloane