While the Hershey Bears had a much needed night off on Black Friday, the Reading Royals looked to extend their franchise record in consecutive wins to eleven. They had no easy task, as they battled the Greenville Road Warriors. Entering Friday, the Warriors have earned 15 of their last 20 standings points. Many former Bears had some impact on the game, including Stanislav Galiev, who recorded his first point in the East Coast Hockey League during Reading’s 5-2 win over Greenville.
Four players dressed for the Royals on Friday who have already sought ice time with the Bears this season. Philipp Grubauer earned his 12th start of the season in goal for the Royals. He stood on his head again, winning his ninth consecutive decision of the season. He stopped 28 of the 30 Road Warrior shots he faced.
The first goal given up by Grubauer came off a second chance allowed via a big rebound out to the high-slot. Both goals against him on the night came under four minutes apart, as 3:38 later the Warriors tallied on the power play. A shot from the point beat Grubauer low to the ice with a weak crowd of bodies in front.
Despite giving up a big rebound leading to the first Greenville goal, in the third period, Grubauer allowed very little second chances on the 15 third period shots he faced. He showed he is excellent when moving side-to-side quickly and stopping odd-man rush chances. More than any other goaltender I can recall watching, Grubauer also loves to throw out his blocker to deflect pucks out of play for a stoppage, as well as fall forward to make saves on high shots.
Patrick Wellar was a healthy scratch for Hershey three out of the Bears’ first four games of the 2012-13 campaign, until he was sent to Reading during the third week of the season. In late October, Wellar dressed in an ECHL uniform for the first time since the 2009-10 season with South Carolina.
Against Greenville, early on Wellar was out-muscled on several 50-50 puck battles in the defensive third of the ice. The Royals only took three minors the entire game, but when shorthanded, Wellar went to work on the penalty kill.
Stanislav Galiev and Barry Almeida were the most latest transaction made by Hershey, as they were both handed a Royals’ uniform last Wednesday. Both individuals joined the Reading roster just in time for the team’s tenth consecutive win, setting a franchise mark.
Galiev tallied one assist in nine games with the Bears during the season. He also saw time on the power play for Reading leading to his first assist and first point in the ECHL. Good puck movement in the offensive zone led to a goal by Denny Urban, which turned out to be the game-winning goal at the 5:56 mark of the third period.
Almeida made a slightly bigger impact, notching two goals and one assist in thirteen games played with the Chocolate and White. Despite a quiet first period, Almieda proved during the second and third periods he has a decent goal scorer’s mentality. He was a constant threat on the ice with good breakout passes through the neutral zone, and often crashed the net for rebounds following shots.