On Saturday night, the Icemen had an opportunity to return to Jacksonville with two victories in hand. However, the Royals had other plans and defeated the Icemen, 5-1, dropping Jacksonville to 1-6-1-0 in the 2017-18 season presented by Community First Credit Union.
For the first time this season and in his ECHL career, Colton Phinney got the nod in goal for the Icemen. Phinney was vital in keeping the Icemen tied when the Royals had a 5-on-3 power play for a full two minutes. Later in the first period, Steven Swavely broke the deadlock with helpers from James de Haas and Adam Schmidt. This would be the first time Jacksonville headed to the locker room down a goal after the first period on the road trip.
The second period was an up-and-down 20 minutes for the Icemen. Just 5:19 into the period, Matt Wilkins struck to give the Royals a 2-0 lead in front of the home crowd. Minutes later, the Icemen would get a power play when Nick Luukko took a hooking penalty. In his 200th career ECHL game, Emerson Clark provided a boost for his club with a power play goal. The goal marked the first power play goal on the road this season for Jacksonville and just the club’s second overall. Clark also extended his point streak to six games, dating back to Oct. 26 versus the Gladiators. Defenseman Chase Harrison picked up his first-ever ECHL point with the primary assist on Clark’s second of the season.
The celebration would be short lived, as Reading answered right back just 43 seconds later. Adam Schmidt’s first goal of the season put the Royals up two goals again, and the horn sounded on the second period with the Royals leading 3-1.
The Icemen’s bid for the first comeback win in franchise history was denied as the Royals continued to add to their lead in the third period. Matt Willows notched his third goal of the season at 8:31 in the frame, assisted by Ryan Penny and James de Haas. Royals forward Alex Krushelnyski put the Icemen away with an empty net goal with 1:01 remaining in the game.
The Icemen are finally back home on Tuesday, Nov. 14 when they take on the South Carolina Stingrays at 10:30 a.m. for the first-ever School Day game!
Fans can also get tickets to Friday’s game against in-state rival Florida Everblades at 7:30 p.m. here!