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Royals Preview: Final Game of Series at Jacksonville

March 2, 2018 - ECHL (ECHL) - Reading Royals News Release

Jacksonville, FL - The Reading Royals (31-20-5-0, 67 pts., 3rd North) look to sweep the season series against the Jacksonville Icemen (21-29-4-3, 49 pts., 5th South) in Reading's first-ever game in Jacksonville Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Royals have points in the first three contests of a season-long eight-game road trip (1-0-2-0).

The Icemen, formerly of Evansville, IN, have faced the Royals once this season and Reading dominated a 5-1 win Nov. 11 at Santander Arena. Friday marks the final matchup of the season series.

The Royals fought back from a pair of deficits Thursday at Orlando but fell in overtime, 4-3. Tyler Brown tied the game at three in the final half of the third. Mark Bennett and Matt Willows also scored. Willows is tied for fourth in the league with 59 points and has recorded at least one in 16 of 17 games (10g, 17a).

The Icemen had a three-game winning streak snapped in their last game at Florida on Wednesday, a 6-2 loss.

Friday's broadcast starts at 7:15 p.m. on Rumba 1340, RumbaReading.com and BCTV (Channel 15 Comcast, Channel 19 Service Electric). Listen in during first intermission to the BCTV/Jimmy G's Railroad House Trivia Question of the Night for a chance to win a gift card to Jimmy G's.

On Sun., Mar. 4 at 1:30 p.m., the Royals are back in Orlando for the season-series finale at the Solar Bears. Royals Pregame starts 15 minutes before puck drop on RumbaReading.com and BCTV for all Royals road games. Check out the BCTV broadcast during first intermission for the Jimmy G's Railroad House Trivia Question of the Night for a chance to win a gift card to Jimmy G's.

Reading is next at home on Wed., Mar. 14 at 7:00 p.m. vs. Fort Wayne, with four players hosting a postgame photo and autograph session, courtesy of Rieck's Printing.

Enter for a chance to win $10,000 with the Reading Royals as the team hosts Brampton on St. HatTrick's Day Sat., Mar. 17 vs. the Brampton Beast at 7:00 p.m. It's an easy process; Step 1: purchase tickets to the game here | Step 2: Register to be entered into the contest here | Step 3: Watch a Royals player score a hat trick vs. Brampton.

Additionally, meet WWE's Million Dollar Man and celebrate the holiday with the Royals, presented by Met-Ed! Royals legend Yannick Tifu will have his #10 retired to the Diamond Credit Union Wall of Honor during the game as. The first 5,000 fans will receive a Yannick Tifu poster, courtesy of Rieck's Printing and Diamond Credit Union. The Royals will wear special St. Patrick's Day jerseys. Tifu captained Reading to the team's first Kelly Cup in 2013 and played in 245 Royals games, third-most in team history. Tickets are available here.

We love when you're here

Royals forward Tyler Brown potted his fifth of the season to help force overtime Thursday at Orlando. Jamming away just outside the crease, the puck dripped over the goal line with 6:39 to go and tied the game.

When the alternate captain is in the lineup, Reading is 27-8-5-0. The penalty kill expert and two-way forward has 11 points this season. Reading endured a season-long five-game losing streak in December and Brown missed all the games.

This is the most goals Brown has scored in a season since 2014-15, when he donned the "A" with Greenville (12g) and combined to scored 19 between the ECHL and AHL.

Earlier this season, Brown skated in his 400th professional game. He has 407 professional games on his resume and 109 career points (46 goals).

Solving the second game

The Royals have been excellent in standalone games and the first game of a back-to-back this season, combining for 28-8-4-0 mark when Head Coach Kirk MacDonald has been given at least a day off to prepare. The second game in a row has shown fragility, as Reading is 4-10-1-0 on day two.

In the opening game of a back-to-back Thursday at Orlando, the Royals forced overtime with a goal in the third and lost, 4-3.

The last time Reading completed a back-to-back was Sunday at Manchester for a 2-1 shootout win. The Royals have turned around the second game woes of late, winning two of the last three.

In particular, Reading has stood out most on standalone dates at home, boasting a 9-0-0-0 mark.

Just missed you

The Icemen are the second ECHL team to play in Jacksonville and the first since the Lizard Kings were in the league from 1995-00. The Royals missed the Lizard Kings by two seasons, entering the ECHL in 2001-02.

During their five-season ECHL tenure, the Lizard Kings made the playoffs once and to the Riley Cup Finals once, in their inaugural season. Jacksonville was swept, 4-0 by the Charlotte Checkers in the 1996 Finals.

The Icemen are 12-13-2-2 at Veteran's Memorial Arena and the club averages more than 5,500 fans a game, best in the Eastern Conference.

We enjoy visiting for the hockey, too

Reading is above hockey .500 all-time against the three ECHL teams in the Sunshine State. The Royals are 5-3-1-0 vs. Orlando, 15-12-6 against Florida and 1-0-0 vs. Jacksonville since the club moved from Evansville.

While the Icemen were in Indiana, the Royals held a 10-2-1-0 mark and won their last four games.

Scouting Jacksonville

Despite the early-season loss to the Royals, the Icemen are 5-3-0-0 against the North Division. Earlier this season, the squad beat first-place Manchester in two of four games and swept Brampton. On the other side, the Icemen have won 16 of 48 against the South Division (16-25-4-3 record).

Both Reading and Jacksonville tend to score first; the Royals lead the league with 40 opening goals (28-8-4-0) and have it in 16 of 17 games (11-3-3-0 record). The Icemen rank in the league's top five with 32 "first goals", but have the ECHL's worst record when notching the opening tally (15-12-4-1, .547%).

The Icemen's top-five point scorers are rookies, the only team in the league with such youthful accolades. Elgin Pearce leads the brigade in goals (19), assists (24) and points (43). Center Jimmy Lodge, another first-year professional, has a team-best plus-20 rating and ranks second on the Icemen with 36 points.

Goaltender Austin Lotz leads the goalies in games played (27) and has registered a pair of shutouts, 14-10-1-1 record, 2.97 goals against average and .896 save percentage. Colton Phinney is normally next in line to mind the cage (20 GP), reaching a 4-8-2-2 record, 3.27 goals against average and .886 save percentage.

Road trip diary: 1,770 miles down, 2,230 to go

A quick Friday roundtrip to Jacksonville chops off about another 300 miles for Reading on its season-long eight-game road trip. After Friday's game, the Royals have a rematch with Orlando Sunday afternoon. The Royals will drastically alter their "climate" after the Sunday game, flying to Buffalo, NY and then driving to Brampton, ON for a game Mar. 8 at 11:05 a.m. A pair in Wheeling, WV completes a three-in-three Mar. 9-10.

Season tickets for 2018-19 now available: Early Renewal through Mar. 15

Call 610-898-7825 to join the Royals family or renew season tickets for the 2018-19 season. Early renewal and registration runs through Mar. 15. Top Early Renewal Benefits include: Extra chance to win jerseys-off-our-backs | Chance to win Owner's Suite | Chance to watch warm-ups from bench and high-five tunnel experience.

Royals Awards Banquet at Santander Arena Mar. 26

Register here. Get a pregame pep talk from Royals Head Coach Kirk MacDonald, behind-the-scenes tour of the Royals locker room and buffet meal at Santander Arena Mon., Mar. 26 from 6-8 p.m. for the Royals Awards Banquet. We will hand out the best awards from the 2017-18 season.

Postgame autograph session Wed., Mar. 14 vs. FW at 7:00 p.m.

Stay after the game for a special postgame autograph session on Wed., Mar. 14 at 7:00 p.m. vs. Fort Wayne, presented by Rieck's Printing. It's the only chance of the season to see the Komets.

Next Big Night: Yannick Tifu Number Retirment, Ted DiBiase "Million Dollar Man" appearance, St. HatTrick's Day on Sat., Mar. 17 vs. BRM at 7:00 p.m.

Enter for a chance to win $10,000 with the Reading Royals as the team hosts Brampton on St. HatTrick's Day Sat., Mar. 17 vs. the Brampton Beast at 7:00 p.m. It's an easy process; Step 1: purchase tickets to the game here | Step 2: Register to be entered into the contest here | Step 3: Watch a Royals player score a hat trick vs. Brampton.

Additionally, meet WWE's Million Dollar Man and celebrate the holiday with the Royals, presented by Met-Ed! Royals legend Yannick Tifu will have his #10 retired to the Diamond Credit Union Wall of Honor during the game as. The first 5,000 fans will receive a Yannick Tifu poster, courtesy of Rieck's Printing and Diamond Credit Union. The Royals will wear special St. Patrick's Day jerseys. Tifu captained Reading to the team's first Kelly Cup in 2013 and played in 245 Royals games, third-most in team history.


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