It took more than 43 minutes, but a power play early in the third period gave Reading the opportunity it needed to break a scoreless tie.
The Royals registered 30 shots but had nothing to show for it until defenseman Patrick McNally ripped a powerful shot from the point into the net. The power-play goal proved to be the game-winner as Reading shut out Worcester 2-0 on Friday in a New Year’s Eve ECHL game at Santander Arena.
“We did a great job creating offense,” coach Kirk MacDonald. “We did a really good job sticking with that mindset and we finally broke the dam.”
The Royals dominated on both ends of the ice, outshooting the Railers 44-14. Reading was quick on offense and generated one scoring chance after another, but did not find the net until nearly four minutes into the third period.
McNally’s goal ignited an eruption of stuffed toys as fans threw teddy bears and other stuffed creatures onto the ice following the Royals’ first goal as part of the annual Teddy Bear Toss promotion. Play was stopped for several minutes as the stuffed toys were collected from the ice.
“It’s always fun,” MacDonald said. “The guys are always chomping at the bit to see who gets the Teddy-Bear-Toss goal.”
McNally leads all Reading defenseman with four goals — two of which have come on the power play — and 11 points this season. The game-winning goal was his second of the season.
Reading extended its lead less than three minutes later when forward Thomas Ebbing scored to make it 2-0. The Royals outshot Worcester 35-10 over the final 40 minutes.
“They worked really hard in the second and third periods,” MacDonald said. “They didn’t get frustrated and stuck with it.”
Railers goaltender Brody Claeys was stellar, recording 42 saves. Claeys made multiple highlight-reel saves, including a couple without his stick, which was knocked from his grasp on several occasions.
In his professional and ECHL debut, goaltender Tristan Cote-Cazenave earned a shutout for Reading. He made 14 saves.
“He made the saves he needed to make,” MacDonald said about Cote-Cazenave. “He can only stop the shots that he gets, and he stopped all of them.”
The Royals held the possession advantage throughout the game, and did not allow Worcester time to build its offensive attacks. Reading was 1-for-1 on the penalty kill and 1-for-3 on the power play.
“We have success when we’re doing a good job possessing in the offensive zone,” MacDonald said. “It was a really good job all around.”
Source: Berkshire mont