Game Day: Royals Seek 100th Win Ever vs. Wheeling
Wheeling, WV - The Reading Royals (21-19-3-5, 50 pts., 5th North), proud ECHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers and Lehigh Valley Phantoms, seek their 100th victory ever against the Wheeling Nailers (21-22-5-1, 48 pts., 6th Central) Wednesday at 7:05 p.m.
Reading is 99-62-17 all-time against Wheeling, the most the Royals have faced and defeated any opponent. In October, the Royals became the Nailers' most-played foe in Wheeling history, surpassing Johnstown. Reading has beaten Wheeling 45 times in 88 road games contested in West Virginia.
Wednesday's contest is the seventh of eight meetings between the clubs this season and the Royals are 3-2-0-1 against the Nailers.
The last time these teams played was Jan. 26 in Reading's first game out of the all-star break and Royals forward Chris McCarthy registered one goal, four points and the shootout-winning goal to complete a 6-5 victory.
Reading's next home game is Wed., Feb. 20 vs. Maine at 7:00 p.m. Reading and Allen spar Saturday and Sunday in the Royals' only trip to Texas this season.
Monday, the Royals received a goal from Tyler Brown in a 4-1 defeat vs. Brampton. Branden Komm made 20 saves in the first period, but allowed two goals.
The Nailers are coming off a 4-1 loss at Maine Feb. 10. Jordan Ruby blocked 30 shots (3 GA) and Michael Phillips scored Wheeling's only goal.
Next Home Games
Wed., Feb. 20: Player Cards and Player Autograph session vs. Maine at 7:00 p.m.
Postgame player autograph session and player card giveaway, pres. by Rieck's Printing
Sun., Feb. 24 at 4:00 p.m.: Faith and Family Night + Battle of the Badges with a Berks Schuylkill Oil Heat Puck Giveaway vs. Adirondack
1) Pregame Battle of the Badges for the FirstStates Cup game (Allentown police and fire vs. Reading police and fire departments)
2) Royals will give away a Berks Schuylkill Oil Heat Puck.
3) Faith & Family Night
Group tickets start at $11 for all Royals home games.
Listen to today's game at mixlr.com/readingroyals or watch on ECHL.tv. Coverage starts 15 minutes before puck drop.
The Nailers have gone 1-4-3-1 since the CCM ECHL All-Star Classic, allowing 36 goals in nine games. Wheeling's offense has posted 28 goals since the All-Star break. Six of the Nailers' eight losses have been by one goal, including the 6-5 shootout slip up against the Royals Jan. 26 in Wheeling's second game out of the break.
Wheeling's only win over the last three weeks was at Worcester, 5-1, on Feb. 9.
Leading scorer Zac Lynch paces the Nailers with 33 assists and 47 points. Troy Josephs is the top goal scorer on the club (21) and is tied with Yushiroh Hirano for second on the team with 39 points.
The Nailers score 3.41 goals a game, good for 7th in the circuit, and allow 3.35 goals a contest.
Five goaltenders have played for Wheeling this season; Jordan Ruby and Matt O'Connor are the two on the active roster. Ruby is 5-3-1-1 with a 2.54 goals against average and .917 save percentage. O'Connor leads Wheeling in wins with an 8-4-2-0 mark, 3.11 goals against average and .896 save percentage. Former Royals netminder John Muse was reassigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton by Pittsburgh earlier this month.
Last series matchup
The Royals have won three of the last five games of the series, taking a 6-5 shootout win in the last matchup. The clubs combined for seven goals in the first period and the Royals led, 4-3, after allowing two quick strikes. Chris McCarthy had four points (1g) in the first frame. Reading trailed by one entering the third, but Alex Roos scored with fewer than six minutes to go to help the Royals reach overtime. Brayden Low generated his second career multi-goal game (2g) and finished with a career-best four points.
Andrew D'Aogstini made 39 saves (44 shots) and stopped all three Nailers in the shootout, gunning the Royals to victory in the instant classic.
Head to head
Chris McCarthy's four-point effort in the last series meeting has moved him to tops among all players with eight assists and ten points in six meetings. He has one goal and seven points in the last two series games. Over the last two seasons, McCarthy has 20 points (3g) in 16 games against Wheeling.
Frank DiChiara (2g) and Brayden Low (2g) are next among active Royals with five points in the series. Eleven Royals have scored against Wheeling, compared to nine Nailers.
Wheeling's top goal scorer Troy Josephs has punched in a team-best seven points against the Royals this campaign. He and Cedric Lacroix each have four goals.
The Royals are 8-1-2-0 in the last 11 games contested at Wesbanco Arena.
Andrew D'Agostini and Branden Komm have each played against the Nailers this season. Komm is is 1-1-0-0 with a 3.06 goals against average and .908 save percentage. D'Agostini won his only game against Wheeling Jan. 26 (39 saves, 5 GA).
Wheeling goaltender Matt O'Connor was yanked Jan. 26 after surrendering three goals on seven shots. In his place, Jordan Ruby blocked 30 of 32 shots in a shootout loss. Ruby has surrendered five goals to the Royals in 111 minutes and he is 3-0-0-1 against the Royals in his career.
The final matchup of the season series is Mar. 30 in Reading.
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