Justin Bernhardt scored twice, including the game-winning goal, as the Jackals out-gunned the Royals 5-4 tonight at Santander Arena. Nathan Oystrick added three helpers, while Colin Jacobs and Chris Langkow, who was playing in his 300th professional game, notched two assists apiece.
The Royals opened the scoring quickly as former Jackal Maxim Lamarche wristed a shot through traffic from the point past C.J. Motte just 30 seconds into the game. Elmira promptly answered just over two minutes later as Allan McPherson slammed his second goal of the season through the legs of Connor Knapp at 2:43 of the first frame. Cason Hohmann and Colin Jacobs recorded the assists on McPherson's tying tally. However, the Royals would regain the lead at 12:40 of the period as Riley Armstrong, another former Jackal, capitalized on the power-play on a play along the goal-line assisted by Robbie Czarnik and Kevin Young. The back-and-forth would continue as the Jackals knotted the contest again in the first period. On a five-on-three power-play, Colin Jacobs played the puck up to Nathan Oystrick and the captain fed it over to Spiro Goulakos who blasted a slap shot past Knapp to tie the game at 15:04. The pesky pack struck again and took the lead just 12 seconds later while still on the power-play. Off of the ensuing face-off, Oystrick quickly moved the puck along to Chris Langkow who made a cross-ice pass to Justin Bernhardt streaking down the left-wing side for the backhand-forehand bury between Knapp's legs.
The Jackals led heading into the second period, but Reading answered at 9:18 to equal the score once more. Adam Comrie fired his team-leading eighth goal of the season past Motte, assisted by Armstrong and Cam Reid. Less than three minutes later, the Jackals responded and regained the lead. Mark Bennett and Nathan Oystrick forced a turnover at the blue line and Oystrick found Scott Jacklin all alone in the slot for his fourth goal of the season. Late in the second period, Justin Bernhardt provided the dagger with a whistling wrist shot from the high slot with 43 seconds left in the stanza for his second goal of the night and third of the season. Chris Langkow earned the lone helper.
Reading pushed late in the third period and cut the deficit back down to one with Robbie Czarnik's seventh goal of the season at 18:28. Armstrong and Lamarche added the assists. However, the late tally was as far as the Royals' comeback bid went as the Jackals fended off the final effort of desperation to take two points from their division rival.
C.J. Motte stopped 20 of 24 shots faced to earn the win. Connor Knapp allowed five goals on 17 shots in two periods and was handed the loss. Alex Vazzano stopped all six shots faced in the third period.
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