Royals Look for Weekend Sweep against Growlers
St John's, NL - A day after running away from the Newfoundland Growlers (16-7-1-0, 33 pts., 1st North) with a season-high seven goals, the Reading Royals (9-7-2-4, 24 pts., 3rd North), proud ECHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers and Lehigh Valley Phantoms, look for a weekend sweep Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
Michael Huntebrinker provided a hat trick and a tied a career high with four points in the 7-5 win Friday at Mile One Centre. He completed his second-career hat trick about eight minutes into the third. Josh MacDonald sizzled with a season-high three points. The Royals held four leads, but Huntebrinker's go-ahead goal (his second goal of the night) in the second period provided Reading a 5-4 edge and Newfoundland failed to tie again. The Royals trailed after one, 3-2, but engineered their sixth come-from-behind win of the season. Callum Booth made 26 saves in the win and four Royals had multi-point games.
A Reading win would give the Royals their second victory of the season series provide Reading a three-game winning streak. The Royals have won back-to-back games for the first time since a season-long three-game streak Oct. 28-Nov. 3. The Growlers suffered their second regulation loss in the last month Friday. Newfoundland has points in 11 of the last 14 games (11-2-1-0).
Saturday marks game five of the 11-game season series. The Royals and Growlers play four times at Mile One Centre this campaign and Saturday's rematch is the second time Reading is at Newfoundland. The teams match at Santander Arena four more times, with the next matchup Dec. 28-29 in Reading. The Royals return to St. John's Mar. 5-6.
Reading returns home to host the Allen Americans for the Weekend of Giving Fri., Dec. 14 - Sun., Dec. 16. The Weekend of Giving features games at Santander Arena on three straight days, pres. by the Salvation Army and Met-Ed. The Weekend of Giving features a clothing drive, toy drive and food drive, plus the team's annual Teddy Bear Toss Sat., Dec. 15 at 7:00 p.m. with all proceeds on $5 tickets going back to the local Salvation Army on Community Night. The money raised and good donated with stay locally in Reading and Berks County.
Huntebrinker's hat collection
On Newfoundland's Teddy Bear Toss night, Michael Huntebrinker brought hats to mind with a three-goal, four-point performance Friday. He scored back-to-back goals to provide Reading a two-goal edge, breaking a 4-4 tie. He is the sixth Royals player to record multiple hat tricks, joining Andrew Sarauer, Cam Reid, Chris Blight, Brian McCullough and Olivier Labelle.
Huntebrinker has scored the last two Royals hat tricks. On Dec. 30, 2017, he also scored four points (3g) and completed his hat trick with an empty-net marker vs. Adirondack to secure a 5-3 win.
Josh MacDonald assisted Huntebrinker's last two goals, providing him a Royals-best three-point night.
Reading has registered 47 hat tricks in team history. The Royals are 40-6-1 when a Reading player nets at least three goals. The Royals team record for goals in a game is four, accomplished by Chris Blight, Daniel Steiner and Shay Stephenson.
Welcome to the Rock
The Growlers have started the season 8-3-0-0 at home, outscoring foes, 48-32. The home record at Mile One Centre is the best in the North Division.
Similarly to the Growlers, "the Rock's" previous professional team, the St. John's IceCaps, also found success at Mile One Centre. Over the team's six-season existence, the IceCaps were 109-87-24-8. The team made the 2014 Calder Cup Finals (losing to Texas in 5 games) and went a franchise-best 23-10-2-3 at Mile One Centre. Over six AHL seasons, the IceCaps finished above .500 at home five times.
Heidelberg Country Club Long Drive
The Reading Royals' long drive of the game is presented by Heidelberg Country Club. St. John's, NL is the furthest trip the Royals make this season (approx. 1,800 miles).
Goalies rocking the second game back-to-back
Callum Booth made 31 saves (1 GA) in his Royals debut last Saturday at Adirondack, moving Reading to 5-2-0-1 when playing for the second day in a row. Reading has won consecutive Saturday games, both vs. Adirondack.
The first game of a back-to-back has seen Reading earn points in seven of nine games (3-2-2-2).
In the second game in a row, Reading has outscored foes, 30-22.
Booth has never started on back-to-back days in his career.
Seeing you again (and again)
Saturday's game completes the second "back-to-back" set of the season vs. the Growlers. The Royals and Growlers face off on consecutive days five times this season, the most the Royals face any opponent in a back-to-back this season.
Ten of Reading's 11 contests against Newfoundland are played over consecutive days, with the lone exception coming in a 3-1 Newfoundland win over Reading Oct. 24 in the teams' first-ever matchup. The Growlers play the same opponent in back-to-back games 26 times this season.
Need to Know: Weekend of Giving events vs. Allen Americans
Fri., Dec. 14 at 7:00 p.m.: Clothing Drive, 4-for-48 Family Pack (4 tickets, 4 burgers, 4 sodas for $48)
Sat., Dec. 15 at 7:00 p.m.: Community Night with $5 tickets (all proceeds to Salvation Army), Teddy Bear Toss, Food Drive, Holiday Ornament Giveaway to the first 2,000 fans, Royals will wear Ugly Christmas Sweater jerseys
Sun., Dec. 16 at 5:00 p.m.: Toy Drive at Santander Arena, plus have a personal meet-and-greet with SpongeBob SquarePants with the Royals SpongeBob VIP Package as he visits Santander Arena. The Royals will wear SpongeBob jerseys and Allen will wear Patrick Star jerseys.
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