Royals Conclude First Half with Country Night Matchup against Nailers
Reading, PA - The Reading Royals (19-12-4-0, 42 pts., 3rd North) continue a busy January home stand vs. the Wheeling Nailers (16-14-4-0, 36 pts., 4th Central) on Country Night, pres. by CJ Hummels Restaurant, Friday at 7:00 p.m. Reading plays nine times at Santander Arena this month, four of which come in the next week and a half. This includes the Royals' MLK Day Game Jan. 20 at 1:00 p.m.; where the first 1,000 kids receive a free kids jersey.
For today's game, call the Royals box office at 610-898-7825 to take advantage of Reading's Chic-Fil-A Promotion: get two tickets and two Chic-Fil-A sandwich coupons for $20.
Today's promotions: (Country Night) Presented by CJ Hummels Restaurant | Line Dancing, Live DJ and Music Performance by Kendal Conrad | Ice Angels Poster Giveaway and postgame meet-and-greet | $1 Chili Cheese Fries | 2 tickets and 2 chic-fil-a sandwich coupons for $20
Broadcast Coverage: Listen: Deibler Dental In-Arena Broadcast 99.3 FM and mixlr.com/readingroyals | Watch: ECHL.tv.
The Royals last played Tuesday and won, 2-1, on their first-ever Education Day Game. In front of a season-high 5,912 fans, Corey Mackin scored the game-winning goal midway through the second period. Kirill Ustimenko stopped the first 20 shots he faced and completed the game with 22 denials.
Goals: Cuddemi (21)
Assists: DiChiara (25)
Points: DiChiara (35)
PIM: Mitchell (81)
+/-: Knodel (13)
Goals: Hawkins (12)
Assists: Hirano (17)
Points: Hirano (26)
PIM: Hawkins (30)
+/-: Titcomb/Cam Brown (7)
A Royals win would:
Be the 96th in Head Coach Kirk MacDonald's career...Be the second straight at home...Provide Reading a 3-2-0-0 series edge over Wheeling.
Hittin' the Nail(ers) on the Head
Friday's matchup gives Reading the opportunity to break a 2-2-0-0 season series tie. Reading is 2-0-0-0 at home against Wheeling but winless at Wesbanco Arena.
Reading is 13-4-1 at Santander Arena and Wheeling holds a 6-7-3-0 away record. The teams have a matching 6-4-0-0 record across their past ten games. The Nailers are entering the weekend on a two-game losing streak, most recently falling to the Toledo Walleye 8-1 on Jan. 5.
Last face-off was the sole one-goal game between the teams this season. Corey Mackin tallied the game-winner less than one minute into overtime to give the Royals the edge over the Nailers, 1-0, on Nov. 16. Kirill Ustimenko made 32 saves in the shutout victory.
Matthew Gaudreau and Mackin lead active Royals in scoring against Wheeling this season (2g). Steven Swavely leads active Royals in assists and points against Wheeling (4a, 4pts). Ralph Cuddemi, who is on a PTO with the AHL's Laval Rocket, has tallied three goals against the team (6pts).
Myles Powell leads the Nailers in assists and points against the Royals (4a, 5pts). No Wheeling player has scored more than two goals in the season series. Alec Butcher has earned 12 of his 14 PIM against the Royals.
The Nailers are ranked 23rd in the ECHL on the power play with a 12.9% success rate. The Royals are sixth in league with a 20.9% success rate but have not been able to score a man-up goal on their 12 chances vs. Wheeling.
Neither team has reached a shootout this season. Wheeling is 3-4 in overtime. Reading's sole overtime victory this season was over the Nailers on Nov. 16.
Wheeling holds the ECHL's current-season record for fewest shots in the first period with one, while Reading holds the record for fewest shots in the second with two. However, the Royals continue to retain the record for most shots registered in the first period (25).
All Time Facts
Reading holds a 102-65-17 all-time record vs. Wheeling. The Royals own the edge over the Nailers in the Kirk MacDonald era, going 13-7-3.
Brian McCullough scored the first Royals hattrick in franchise history against Wheeling on Oct. 11, 2002. Reading dominated with a 7-3 victory.
The Royals have hosted the Nailers at a sold out Santander Arena five times since 2001 and have a record of 1-3-1 in those games.
Nailer in a Haystack
The Nailers are currently ranked fourth in the Central Division and 15 in the league with an overall record of 16-14-4-0.
Wheeling's top-three goal scorers are rookies. Brandon Hawkins leads Wheeling in goals and penalty minutes (12g, 30PIM). He is followed by Jan Drozg with 11 goals and Christopher Brown with 10.
Yushiroh Hirano leads the team in assists and points (17a, 26pts). Cam Brown is second in points (24).
Rookie Alex D'Orio has played 13 games with a 8-5-2-0 record for Wheeling. D'Orio has a 3.52 goals against average and a .886 save percentage. He has tallied both Wheeling victories over Reading this season and has allowed only two Royals goals. Emil Larmi most recently played in Wheeling's 8-1 loss to the Toledo Walleye on Jan. 5. Overall Larmi is 3-2-0-0 with a 2.51 goals against average and a .934 save percentage.
Forward Matthew Gaudreau is approaching a single-season high in points, totaling 31 with the Royals with half the season remaining (9g). He leads active Royals in points per game, averaging 1.19.
Most recently in the Jan. 7 victory over Maine, Gaudreau added two points to his total (1g). His power-play goal in the first period was his ninth goal of the season. Gaudreau's corner pass to Corey Mackin in the second led to Mackin scoring the game-winner.
He was named the AMI Graphics ECHL Plus-Performer of the Month for October (+8).
Gaudreau set his current career points record last season, tallying a total of 37 points in 58 games. He played 50 games for the Worcester Railers and eight for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, where Gaudreau scored his first AHL goal.
Gaudreau was reassigned to the Royals by the Stockton Heat (AHL) at the start of the season. He skated in four games for Stockton and posted an even plus/minus rating for the team after being recalled in mid-November.
This Day in Royals History
The Reading Royals faced off against the Greenville Grrrowl for the first time in franchise history on Jan. 10, 2003. The 7-2 victory is one of 29 times the Royals have scored seven goals in a contest. It was also goalie Jeff Sanger's eighth win in nine games. Three then-current Royals had skated for Greenville in the 2001-02 Kelly Cup Championship: Simon Tremblay, Colin Pepperall, and Steve Rymsha.
The team went on to sweep the weekend with a 4-3 win over the Grrowl the following day. Reading holds an all-time record of 4-0-1 against Greenville.
The Grrrowl defeated the Dayton Bombers in four games to take the Kelly Cup in 2001-02. The team ceased operations in 2006.
Upcoming Home Games: royalshockey.com/promotions
Fri., Jan. 10 at 7:00 p.m. vs. Wheeling, pres. by CJ Hummels: Kendal Conrad Performance at the Game |Line Dancing presented by CJ Hummel's | Live DJ | Country Western Themed Game | $1 Chili Cheese Fries
Fri Jan. 17 at 7:00 p.m. vs. Adirondack (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
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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