Game 4 Preview: Reading at Manchester
Reading, PA - The Reading Royals (2-0-1-0, 5 pts., 2nd North), proud ECHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers and Lehigh Valley Phantoms, play the Manchester Monarchs (1-1-0-1, 3 pts., 4th North) for the first time since the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs Saturday at 6:00 p.m. at SNHU Arena. For the second straight season, the Royals have started with points in their first three games. Last campaign, Reading began 4-0-0-0.
The Royals ducked out to the Monarchs in the North Division Semifinals in four games; the first three games of the series went to overtime.
Friday, Reading scored five straight goals in the second period and hung on to defeat Maine, 6-4. Shane Walsh scored his team-leading third goal of the season and Alex Krushelnyski tops Reading with five points.
Reading's next home game is Wed., Oct. 24 at 7:00 p.m. vs. Newfoundland. Reading is at home Sat., Oct. 27 at 7:00 p.m. vs. Wheeling for Star Wars Night, featuring specialty jerseys. On Sun., Oct. 28 at 4:00 p.m., check out concourse trick-or-treating and the team's popular Halloween jerseys vs. the Nailers. There is also a postgame skate following Sunday's game, pres. by Body Zone.
Listen to tonight's game at Mixlr.com/ReadingRoyals, with coverage starting at 5:45 p.m.
New guys paying dividends
Shane Walsh and Josh MacDonald scored in the second period Friday, helping the Royals come back to defeat Maine. Walsh scored seven goals last season and tops Reading with three this campaign. A third-year professional from West Roxbury, MA, Walsh has tallied 29 goals in 118 ECHL games. He signed with the Royals in the 2018-19 offseason.
MacDonald has scored in back-to-back games and also scored a pair of strikes in the preseason. Last season, he played the first half of the season with Quad City before signing with a team in Norway. He is a fourth-year professional and combined to score 23 goals with Utah and Quad City in 2016-17.
Happy for six
The Royals have scored six goals in back-to-back games. Last campaign, the Royals were 9-0-0-0 when scoring at least six.
Reading tallied six goals in each of the team's preseason games.
Power play warriors
Reading's power play has scored in three straight games and the unit is 6-for-16 (37.5%) to begin the season. Nick Luukko scored his second career man-up goal. His first came vs. Manchester on Feb. 25, 2017.
Jack Riley, Frank DiChiara, Adam Larkin, Josh MacDonald and Shane Walsh have also recorded power-play goals.
Last season, the Royals tied for 17th on the power play, converting at a 16.0% clip.
Former Royals turned coaches
Manchester Monarchs Head Coach Doug Christiansen is one of three former Reading players that are now head coaches in the North Division, joining Kirk MacDonald and Riley Armstrong (Maine).
Christiansen is in his first season as Manchester Head Coach, replacing Rich Seeley this offseason. In June, Seeley left Manchester to become General Manager of the AHL's Ontario Reign.
The 40-year-old Christiansen skated in 99 games for Reading (2005-07) and led the team in goals (35) and points (64) in 2005-06. Only Brian McCullough (39) and Steve Rymsha (38) have scored more goals in a Royals season.
Armstrong skated for Reading in 2015-16 and became Maine Head Coach last February.
New season, same Charles?
In his rookie campaign, Manchester netminder Charles Williams helped eliminate the Royals from the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs by pitching a 4-0-0-0 record, one shutout, a 1.28 goals against average and .955 save percentage (140 saves, 147 shots). In the third period and overtime of the series, he blocked all 79 shots faced. The Royals will look for their third-ever win against Williams; last season, Reading earned a pair of shootout wins against the Monarchs and Williams was 3-0-0-2 vs. the Royals in the regular season.
In last season's playoffs, Chris McCarthy contributed a pair of goals and six points against Williams to top the team's playoff scoring.
This season, Williams is 1-1-0-1 with a 3.26 goals against average and .896 save percentage. Last season, he went 23-12-3-2 with a 2.68 goals against average and a .912 save percentage.
The Monarchs return 12 regulars from last season's squad, including three of the team's top-five scorers (Spencer Watson, Michael Doherty, Colton Saucerman). Returning forwards Tony Cameranesi and Sam Kurker lead the squad with five points. Kurker scored three points Oct. 14 vs. Brampton in a 4-1 win. Kurker potted 12 goals and 29 points in 35 games last season.
The litany of returning players helped Manchester finish last season second in the Eastern Conference in scoring (3.57 GF/gm). The Monarchs also topped the league by scoring 142 goals on the road (3.94 GF/gm).
Among some of the notable newcomers, forward Nick Moutrey (1g, 2a) was reassigned by Ottawa to Manchester in October. The fourth-year professional won the 2016 Calder Cup with Cleveland.
Postgame autographs, pres. by Rieck's Printing vs. Newfoundland: Oct. 24, 7:00 p.m.
Two players sign postgame autographs, pres. by Rieck's Printing | first-ever meeting between Reading and Newfoundland.
Star Wars Night vs. Wheeling: Oct. 27, 7:00 p.m.
Specialty Star Wars jerseys | dress as your favorite Star Wars character | first matchup against Wheeling
Halloween Night vs. Wheeling: Oct. 28, 7:00 p.m.
Specialty Halloween jerseys | concourse trick-or-treat
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