Five-Game Homestand Begins vs. Division Foe Thunder
Reading, PA - The Reading Royals (20-13-4-0, 44 pts., 3rd North) continue a home-prevalent January schedule with a battle vs. the Adirondack Thunder (14-17-5-5, 38 pts., 5th North) Friday at 7:00 p.m.
The Royals also announced Friday the team signed defenseman Ben Owen to an ECHL deal and Nick Niedert to be the team's emergency back-up netminder for Friday's game (details below).
Today's promotions (4-for-$48 game | Opioid Awareness Night): 4 tickets, 4 sodas and 4 burgers for $48 by calling 610-898-7825 | $1 Sprite beverage special | Toiletry Drive | DVD Drive
Broadcast coverage: Listen on the Deibler Dental In-Arena Broadcast at 99.3 FM and on Mixlr.com/readingroyals. Watch on ECHL.tv.
Reading is in the middle of a nine-game home slate in January. So far, the squad has gone 2-2-0-0 at home, with the only two defeats vs. Worcester. The Royals hold a 2-1-0-0 series edge over Adirondack. All-time each team has 26 wins.
The Royals last played Sunday at Worcester and suffered a 5-3 defeat. Frank DiChiara scored twice and leads active Royals with 12 goals and 37 points. Corey Mackin registered two points and his 11th tally of the season. All last season, he had ten goals as the senior captain of Ferris State.
Adirondack has gone 1-3-2-0 over the last six games, falling one point back of Maine for the fourth and final playoff spot in the North. In the team's last game, Charlie Curti scored, but Maine rattled off three goals in the third to bump the Thunder, 4-1.
The upcoming homestand includes a 4-for-48 game (Jan. 17), dollar deal day (Jan. 19), youth jersey giveaway and (MLK Day - Jan. 20). Single-game tickets and mini-plans are on sale by visiting royalshockey.com/promotions, calling 610-898-7825 and visiting Santander Arena and The Weidenhammer Box Office at 700 Penn Street, Reading, PA.
Owen signs, Niedert here
Defenseman Ben Owen signed with Reading Friday. He will wear #55, the seventh player in Royals history to earn the number. In 18 career ECHL games, the second-year professional has scored three assists. He played all of his previous games in the league with Allen, his hometown team from Texas. Owen played two seasons for Allen High School, collegiately in NCAA Division III (2014-16 at Northland College, 2016-18 at Saint Mary's Univ.) and began the 2018-19 rookie season with Evansville of the SPHL.
Niedert, a 16th-year professional, has served as emergency back-up when needed throughout his Royals career. He has never lost in regulation with Reading in his 5 career games since 2012 (2-0-0-1, 3.18 GAA, .897 sv.%). Niedert has also been rostered by Adirondack a few times throughout his career, including during the 2018 playoffs. Niedert's last ECHL game was in Nov. 2018 vs. the Thunder, when he stopped 38 saves (1 GA) to pull out a 2-1 win in New York.
Division records and playoffs
Once again this season, performance vs. the division has led to slotting in the top-four of the North. The four-best teams in each division qualify for the 2020 Kelly Cup Playoffs. All the North teams above hockey .500 vs. the division have the best point percentages overall.
Reading is 14-10-4-0 (.571 points percentage), third-best behind Brampton and Newfoundland.
Newfoundland has the most wins vs. the North (22) and the Growlers are first place in the division.
Last season, the four top teams vs. the North Division qualified for the postseason.
Reading took the opening two matchups before falling, 6-2, Dec. 28 at Adirondack. The Royals are 1-0-0-0 at home in the series, stunting the Thunder, 1-0, behind a 23-save shutout from Felix SandstrÃ¶m Nov. 3. Reading has won two games this season by a 1-0 score (Nov. 16 vs. WHL).
In the second series game, Kirill Ustimenko blocked 24 shots (1 GA) and Max Willman scored his first pro goal in a 4-1 win. Reading. That's the only game Ustimenko has played vs. Adirondack this season.
The most-recent game between the squads featured Royals goals from Garrett Mitchell and Trevor Gooch and a 40-24 Royals shots advantage in defeat.
Each team has seven goals in the series; no Royals player has more than one. Frank Dichiara leads Reading with three points in the series.
Matt Salhany and James Henry each had four points in the Dec. 28 meeting. Salhany (2g, 3a) has factored in on five of Adirondack's seven goals and leads all players in the series.
Netminder Eamon McAdam is 1-2-0-0 in three games against Reading (6 GA, 2.04 GAA, .945 sv.%).
Upcoming Home Games: royalshockey.com/promotions
Sun., Jan. 19 at 4:00 p.m. vs. Worcester ($1 Deal Day): $1 Hot Dogs, $1 Nachos, $1 Sodas | $2 Kids Tickets (12 and younger) | 1 free Applebee's Meal and free kids ticket if you present a report card with an "A" grade on it
Mon., Jan. 20 at 1:00 p.m. vs. Worcester (Kids Jersey Giveaway | MLK Day): First 1,000 kids receive a kids jersey | Free Parking from Reading Parking Authority | Kids are off from school on MLK Day | 1 kids ticket, 1 guaranteed kids jersey, 1 hat, 1 Applebee's kids meal ($15) | Kids Club Game| Postgame team meet-and-greet on the ice
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