The Everblades met the Reading Royals for the first time this season. After last season's disappointing loss to Reading in the playoffs the thought of the Blades returning to Reading was a bit frightening. Although only four players in Everblades jerseys actually took part in that series, it was still an important game.
The Royals position just one spot, and two points, above the Everblades made this game an even bigger deal. Their 11-6-0 record going into the game was slightly better than the Blades 11-8-0.
Both teams came out buzzing for the first period. Most of the major offense for the Blades came from a new forward line that included Mike McKenzie, Matt Beca, and the Blades newest arrival Jared Staal. That line was eventually rewarded with a goal around the ten minute mark when McKenzie scored his second goal of the season.Unfortunately, the Royals responded a few minutes later by slipping one past goalie Jaroslav Janus on the power play. There was no further scoring in that period, and the teams left the ice tied up one apiece.
The second period started of fast paced yet again. The Royals took the lead about 3 minutes into the game. There was no further scoring in that period. The Blades went into the second intermission down 2-1.
The tables turned in the third period though. seven seconds into the game a Royal player was whistled for goaltender interference. On the ensuing power play, Elgin Reid was able to score. All of a sudden, 30 seconds into the game, the Everblades found themselves tied with the Royals. It was obvious both teams wanted to find the goal that would give them the lead, but it was Mike McKenzie's hard work that was rewarded yet again with his second goal of the night at the 12:46 mark. A few minutes after that, a Royal player was called for boarding and the Blades found themselves in the position to put the final nail in the coffin. Unfortunately, they just couldn't convert and eventually Phil Paquet was called for hook with 31 seconds left on the power play. After the 31 second 4 on 4, the Royals pulled goalie in favor of the extra attacker.
You read that right, the Blades had a 6 on 4 on their hands.
At some point there was a mad scramble and the puck slipped into the net.
Thankfully, the Blades had the hockey gods on their side and the Referee had whistled the play dead a mere half a second before the puck crossed the line.
As you can imagine the Royal fans were not very happy when they announced a no-goal after they thought they had it all tied up.
Play started up again, and the Royals kept their net empty. Unfortunately for them, they had a defensive breakdown, and Phil Paquet was able to notch the empty-netter and his second goal of the year. When the final buzzer sounded the Blades had come away with a 4-2 victory. The game sheet is here.
The Blades now travel to Elmira to take on the Jackals, and former coach Malcolm Cameron, at 4:00 in the afternoon. With less than 24 hours off it's going to be a difficult game against an offensive powerhouse. The Blades just need to keep the hard work, and they should show Elmira a repeat of the playoff disappointment they handed them last season.