ELMIRA, N.Y. - The Elmira Jackals battled back from a 4-1 deficit to claim a 6-4 win over the conference-leading Reading Royals on Wednesday night at First Arena. The win was Elmira's second straight and improved the Jackals to 24-18-4 on the season.
The Jackals came out strong in the first period and built up a healthy shot advantage over the Royals during the opening 10 minutes. But goalie Brandon Anderson was dialed in during the early stages and kept the Jackals from claiming the first goal. It turned out to be a former Jackal that struck first as Yannick Tifu found some open ice on the right wing to close in on goalie Maxime Clermont. Tifu's shot was partially deflected by a Jackals defender but still fluttered over Clermont's shoulder at 16:33 to put Reading in the driver's seat. Clermont kept the Jackals within striking distance by stopping nine of the 10 shots he faced, but Anderson thwarted each of Elmira's 11 tries at the other end.
The second period saw the scoring increase to a break-neck pace with Reading coming out on top with three of the four goals scored within 2:22 of one another. Mark Mitera began the barrage with a 5-on-3 power play goal for the Royals as he one-timed a cross-ice feed from Alex Berry. That goal prompted a goalie change for Elmira as Ian Keserich came on in relief. The change sparked the Jackals' offense as Louie Caporusso set up Andrew Rowe's first shorthanded goal of the season off of the ensuing faceoff. Reading responded, however, with Stanislav Galiev netting a 5-on-4 power play goal 23 seconds after Rowe's strike. Just moments later a Jackals turnover lead to a Reading 3-on-1 rush from the blue line in and resulted in an Ian O'Connor goal.
The Jackals refused to wilt, though, and started their comeback with a Kevin Harvey power play goal at 14:05. They continued to pick up momentum 1:54 later when Jordon Southorn beat a defender in open ice and wristed a shot past Anderson from the left wing to get Elmira within one at 4-3. Despite being outshot 17-6 in the second the Jackals went into the third down just one.
Elmira out-scored Reading 4-0 in the third period in picking up a 5-2 comeback win in Reading on January 21. Tonight they netted three markers to Reading's none to cap their comeback. Jordan Pietrus snapped home his eighth of the season from close range to knot the score with 9:15 remaining in the contest. Shortly after Louie Caporusso was set up by Rowe and newcomer Ryan Palmer for his 19th to put Elmira in front for the first time. The goal extended Caporusso's goal streak to a career-best five games. The Jackals sealed the win when captain Jean Bourbeau hit an empty net, with the Jackals on the power play, at 18:48. Reading had a power play for the final 1:06 but no scoring materialized from it.
Keserich earned his third win of the season in stopping 22 of the 24 shots he faced. The Jackals ended the game 2-for-4 on the power play and 3-for-5 on the penalty kill.
By: Ray Schmitt - Elmira Jackals