READING, Pa. - Philipp Grubauer has had a magnificent start to the season for the Reading Royals, helping to lead his team to the best record in the Eastern Conference. That success continued Sunday afternoon, as the second-year backstop turned aside 26 of the 27 shots he faced, improving to 19-5-1, as the Royals slipped past the Nailers, 3-1 at Sovereign Center.
The Royals got the lone marker of the opening frame, and it came 7:16 into the contest, off of a defensive zone face-off win. David Vallorani led the breakout through the right side of center ice, before dropping a pass to Nikita Kashirsky, just over the blueline. Kashirsky skated forward, then slipped a pass through the slot to Adam Comrie, who tapped in the pass from the left side of the crease.
Neither team was able to find the twine in the second period, as Reading maintained their lead into the third, before adding to it with 7:19 remaining. Wheeling turned the puck over in the defensive zone, as Barry Almeida set up David Marshall, who snapped a shot into the top corner of the goal. The Nailers got within one with 1:44 left in regulation, when Scott Zurevinski slipped a shot through Philipp Grubauer's legs from the right side of the crease. Despite the potential momentum shift, the Royals were able to answer with Kirk MacDonald's empty net goal 37 seconds later, as the home team came away with a 3-1 win.
Philipp Grubauer was magnificent in goal for Reading, stopping 26 of the 27 shots he faced, earning the win. Peter Delmas made 20 saves on 22 shots for Wheeling, but received the tough luck loss.
The Nailers will play their next three games at WesBanco Arena, starting Friday night against Reading.
Wheeling0 0 1 - 1
Reading1 0 2 - 3
1st Period-1, Reading, Comrie 11 (Kashirsky, Vallorani), 7:16. Penalties-Stejskal Whl (interference), 7:41.
2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Comrie Rea (interference), 11:39; Shelgren Rea (delay of game), 14:21.
3rd Period-2, Reading, Marshall 9 (Almeida), 12:41. 3, Wheeling, Zurevinski 9 18:16. 4, Reading, MacDonald 11 (Wellar), 18:53 (EN). Penalties-Higgins Whl (hooking), 13:17; Kashirsky Rea (diving), 13:17.
Shots on Goal-Wheeling 6-11-11-28. Reading 13-4-6-23.
Power Play Opportunities-Wheeling 0 / 2; Reading 0 / 1.
Goalies-Wheeling, Delmas 5-3-0-1 (22 shots-20 saves). Reading, Grubauer 19-5-1-0 (28 shots-27 saves).
Referees-Ryan Murphy (10). Linesmen-Brian Oliver (36), Ryan Daisy (64).