Preview: Royals Host Railers Sunday
Reading, PA â The Reading Royals (28-14-5-0, 61 pts., 2nd North) match the Worcester Railers (17-30-3-0, 37 pts., 6th North) for the tenth time this season with a chance to take the season-series edge at Santander Arena Sunday at 3:00 p.m. The Royals are on a season-long five-game winning streak. Reading is 4-4-1-0 against Worcester in the season series and have not led it since Nov. 13.
Today's promotions: Last free postgame skate of the season, presented by Body Zone | $1 kids tickets, plus $1 Hot Dog, $1 Soda & $1 Nacho Concession Special Pricing | Game Included Kids Club Packages presented by Applebee's, Schuykill Valley Sports and YMCA of Reading and Berks County (Sign Ups Available)
Broadcast coverage: Listen on the Deibler Dental In-Arena Broadcast at 99.3 FM and mixlr.com/readingroyals. Watch at ECHL.tv
Sunday's game is the first of three straight at home; next Friday and Saturday at 7:00 p.m., the Royals are home to a pair of Canadian opponents (Brampton, Newfoundland) Reading hosts #FlyersFriday vs. Brampton with a trading card giveaway presented by Outten and free beer fest on the concourse for those 21+. Flyers legends Riley Cote, Brad Marsh and Jim Watson will be at the game to promote the first-ever Royals Alumni vs. Flyers Alumni Game Sat., Mar. 28.
Marvel Night is on Sat., Feb. 22 with Spiderman meet-and-greets available and a Marvel poster giveaway to the first 1,000 fans.
Last Time Out
Two goals in the second and the first three of the game made for a comfortable Friday north of the border in a 3-1 win over Brampton. Jeremy Beaudry scored his fourth of the season in the first, while Matthew Strome and Matthew Gaudreau added in the second.
Felix SandstrÃ¶m won his third straight game with 22 saves.
The Royals improved to hockey .500 on the road (9-9-3-0), while Royals' 19-5-2-0 record at home is the second-best mark in the conference, trailing North-Division-leading Newfoundland.
Worcester has tied their season-long winless streak (7 games, 0-6-1-0) and a defeat Sunday would match the longest slide in team history. The Railers last hosted Newfoundland Feb. 9 and suffered a 4-2 defeat despite Nic Pierog's 20th goal of the season and a 4-for-4 penalty kill.
A Royals win would...
Increase Reading to a season-long, six-game win streak...Be the third straight vs. Worcester...Provide Reading with their 20th win at home.
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.
Goals: Cuddemi (21)
Assists: DiChiara (31)
Points: DiChiara (47)
PIM: Mitchell (106)
+/-: Knodel (25)
Goals: Pierog (20)
Assists: Almeida (19)
Points: Pierog (33)
PIM: Turcotte (153)
+/-: Hitchcock (1)
The Royals are 4-0-0-0 this season at home on Sundays and 5-3-0-0 overall. The home Sunday wins have come against Worcester, Newfoundland, Maine and Adirondack. In standalone games (no contests the day before or day after), Reading is 4-0-0-0 at home.
The Royals have gone 3-0-1-0 in the last four matchups after slumping to a 1-4-0-0 beginning. This is the ninth game against Worcester over the last two months, and eighth over the last seven weeks. Following Sunday's game, the Royals and Railers meet three more times to complete a 13-game series â Mar. 1, Mar. 7 and Mar. 25.
Corey Mackin has taken the Royals' series points lead, scoring ten in nine games (3g). Trevor Gooch slammed the Railers Jan. 31-Feb.1 with five goals and six points in two games. The Colorado College graduate was honored as ECHL Player of the Week for the weekend, which was the most-prolific two-game run of the Royals regular season. He enters the game with a team-leading six goals (7 pts.) vs. Worcester.
Railers forward Nic Pierog was given a game misconduct for continuing altercation the last meeting Feb. 1, but still boasts the most goals (8) and points (11) of any player in the series. He has five multi-goal games and 16 points (13g) in 18 career games against Reading.
Reading is 3-0-0-0 against the Railers with D Eric Knodel in the lineup; he's rewarded the Royals with two assists and leads all with a plus-eight rating in head-to-head meetings.
Kirill Ustimenko is 4-2-1-0 against the Railers (2.42 GAA, .927 sv.%) and was the team's netminder for the back-to-back wins Jan. 31-Feb. 1. Felix SandstrÃ¶m has surrendered seven goals in two games to Worcester (0-2-0-0). Railers goaltender Evan Buitenhuis has taken three of five decisions (3-2-0-0, 3.04 GAA, .901 sv.%), while "Mr. Sunday" Ian Milosz has won twice vs. Reading on the weekend's final day.
The Royals have won three of four games against Worcester to make the team 13-11-4-1 all-time against the Railers. Home games have slanted more Reading's way, with an 8-4-3-0 mark. The current two-game win streak against Worcester matches the Royals' best ever since the Railers joined the league in Oct. 2017. By contrast, Worcester's longest winning streak ever against the Royals is three.
Steven Swavely has played at least one game against Worcester every season and has a career nine goals and 14 points. Frank DiChiara was a rookie with the Railers in 2017-18, scoring two game-winning goals against Reading. Since that point, he's posted five goals and 11 points against his former team. Matthew Gaudreau, another Railer-turned-Royal, has one goal and five points against Worcester since jumping from the Railers' tracks to Penn Street's.
Worcester's Barry Almeida, a 2013 Kelly Cup Champion with the Royals, has been the most-prolific Railers points producer against Reading. Of his 145 career points with Worcester in three seasons, 24 have been against Reading (9g).
On the goaltending front, the Railers have played six netminders ever against Reading, with Evan Buitenhuis and Mitch Gillam the only two to play in more than one season. Buitenhuis is 5-2-0-0 all-time against Reading, allowing 20 goals in 485 minutes (2.47 GAA). Former Royals netminder Branden Komm is the only Reading goalie to see action in more than one season against Worcester (career: 4-1-1-0 record).
This Day in Royals History
On Feb. 16, 2008, Jonathan Quick blocked 33 shots and the Reading Royals triumphed to a 4-1 win over the Texas Wildcatters. The victory was Quick's third straight; he ended his ECHL tenure with a 6-0-1-0 mark over his final seven decisions before being lifted to Manchester.
Ned Lukacevic scored his 13th of the season in that game against Texas; a month later, Lukacevic "wowed" Santander Arena by scoring three goals on St. Hat Trick's Day to win one lucky fan $10,000. This season, on Mar. 13-14, both games will feature chances for one fan to win if a Royals player registers a hat trick. On Mar. 13, $10,000 is up for grabs for three lucky fans selected at random; each will guess which Royals player they think will score three goals. If their selected player does, that fan will win $10,000. On Mar. 14, three lucky fans will be selected randomly and guess which Royal will record a hat trick. If the fan guesses correctly, they will win a 2019 Jeep Compass Limited, pres. by Savage Auto Group. Both games will be played on green ice.
Over a seven-game winless streak, Worcester has allowed 30 goals and scored 11 times. Reading has handed the Railers two of those defeats; the Royals dominated Worcester on back-to-back nights Jan. 31 (5-1) and Feb. 1 (6-2). Since that point, Worcester is 0-3-1-0, most recently taking a point vs. Atlanta Feb. 8.
Forward Dylan Sadowy was loaned to Worcester two weeks ago, but has yet to play for the Railers. He scored 17 goals and 34 points for Kalamazoo in 29 games earlier this season. Nic Pierog is the only Worcester player to reach 20 goals (20g, 33 pts.).
The Railers have allowed the most goals against (190, 3.8/game) in the North Division. Evan Buitenhuis leads the team in wins (11-18-1-1) over his Railers-high 34 games played. The second-year netminder out of Hamilton College has a 3.41 goals against average and .895 sv.%.
Upcoming Home Games: royalshockey.com/promotions
Fri., Feb. 21 at 7:00 p.m. vs. Newfoundland (Trading card giveaway, Flyers alumni at game)
Beer Tasting (Free Beer fans 21+ with purchase of a game ticket) | Meet Flyers alumni Brad Marsh, Jim Watson and Riley Cote ahead of the Mar. 28 Royals Alumni vs. Flyers Alumni Game | Trading Card Giveaway presented by Outten | Purple Goes Green Presented by Berks Nature | $1 Frozen Treats | Kid's Report Card: Bring by your report card that has an âA' on it and earn a free kids ticket for a future game
Sat., Feb. 22 at 7:00 p.m. vs. Brampton (Marvel Night)
Spider-Man Meet-and-Greet | Marvel Poster giveaway for the first 1,000 fans | Girl Scout Night | Abilities in Motion Night | Special Spider-Man Theme Jerseys | One fan has a chance to win four first-class flight tickets and a trip to Universal Studios in Orlando if a Royals player gets a hat trick (pres. by Berkshire Travel)
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