READING, Pa. – For just the fourth time this season, the Manchester Monarchs were shutout, falling 6-0 to the Reading Royals on Wednesday night.
The Royals scored four goals before the first intermission, including goals from Matt Wilkins, Steven Swavely and Chris McCarthy in the game’s first two minutes.
The other first period goal came from Wilkins’ second goal of the game, a quick strike from the slot off crisp passes from Adam Schmidt and Ryan Penny.
Schmidt would later add a shorthanded goal for his third point of the night, the game’s final goal and the last moment of the game for Manchester starting goaltender Evan Cowley.
That final goal came 17:46 into the second period, just over three minutes after Matias Cleland’s second goal of the season.
Charles Williams would stop all 12 shots he faced in relief of Cowley while Reading netminder John Muse had 32 saves on his end of the ice.
In the race for the ECHL North Division title, Wednesday’s loss kept Manchester at 85 points, with five games left in the regular season. Despite the loss, their lead remains at two points over the Adirondack Thunder, who lost 2-0 in Worcester on Wednesday.
If the postseason started today, the Monarchs would face Wheeling in the first round, but Worcester is closing in on that final playoff spot, moving to just three points behind Wheeling with Wednesday’s win.
The Monarchs are back in action Friday, Mar. 30 (7 p.m.) when they play the Reading Royals at Santander Arena for the second time this week.