Royals Visit Maine with Chance to Rise in Standings
Reading, PA - The Reading Royals (31-28-4-6, 72 pts., 6th North), proud ECHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers and Lehigh Valley Phantoms, open up the final week of the ECHL regular season looking to extend a five-game point streak at the Maine Mariners (35-30-2-1, 73 pts., 5th North) Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. Reading has three games remaining in the regular season and sits four points back of the fourth and final playoff spot in the North Division.
Two weeks ago, the Royals were in last place and seven points behind Manchester for the final spot. Maine has dropped four straight games in regulation, allowing Reading to climb within a point of fifth.
Watch Party and $2 Coors Light Drafts at Jimmy G's Railroad House: The Royals and team staff will host a watch party for Wednesday's game at Jimmy G's Railroad House, 152 Woodrow Avenue in Sinking Spring with $2 Coors Light Drafts. Additionally, fans can watch on BCTV.
Broadcast Coverage: Watch on BCTV (Ch. 15 Comcast, Ch. 19 Service Electric) | Mixlr.com/ReadingRoyals
North Division Standings | y = clinched division | x = clinched playoff spot
y - Newfoundland - 92 points (3 games remaining)
x - Adirondack - 82 points (3 games remaining)
Manchester - 76 points (3 games remaining)
Brampton - 76 points (3 games remaining)
Maine - 73 points (4 games remaining)
Reading - 72 points (3 games remaining)
Worcester - 70 points (4 games remaining)
The Royals last played Saturday and came back from a 2-0 deficit to stun Wheeling, 3-2, in a shootout. Josh MacDonald scored his team-leading 26th of the season to cut it to a one-goal game entering the third. Reading out shot Wheeling, 16-4, in the third period and Frank DiChiara pounded in his 16th of the season to even the score and force overtime. In the shootout, DiChiara and Alex Roos scored and Jamie Phillips stopped both Nailers shooters. Phillips has started eight straight games and is expected to get the call between the pipes Wednesday.
The Royals trail Manchester, Brampton and Maine in points and the first tiebreaker (regulation plus overtime wins - ROW). Manchester's ROW is 35, Brampton's ROW is 32, Maine has a ROW of 29 and Reading is at 27. Worcester sits two points behind Reading and has a ROW of 27.
A regulation loss Wednesday eliminates the Royals from the postseason.
Corey Mackin led the Royals with three points (1g) last weekend and scored his first professional goal Friday vs. Maine. Over the last five games, he has notched one goal, four points and a plus-three rating.
The Philadelphia, PA native grew up in the city's Mayfair neighborhood. His family has become a prominent cheering force at Royals home games as well, bringing a group of 60 to his first home game Mar. 15 vs. Indy.
The Ferris State product is one of four 2019 NCAA players to sign with Reading after completing a collegiate season, joining Jimmy Mazza (Canisius), Sam Becker (Maine) and Trevor Gooch (Colorado College). Gooch played in his first professional game Saturday against Wheeling.
Mackin signed an ATO with the Royals Mar. 7 and was rewarded with an ECHL contract Mar. 12. He notched an assist in his first game Mar. 9 vs. Brampton.
Jamie Phillips has played in nine Royals games this season and started the last eight, generating a 5-2-0-1 record, 2.54 goals against average and .909 save percentage. He also rides a five-game point streak (4-0-0-1, 1.74 GAA, .939 save percentage) that has elevated Reading to sixth in the North.
Saturday, he earned his third straight win, his best streak since Charlotte (AHL) reassigned him to Reading in the first week of March.
Phillips' eight straight starts give him the Royals' longest consecutive streak since 2016-17, when Mark Dekanich started eight in a row for Reading Nov. 30 - Dec. 21. During that streak, he won the first five, continued a season-long seven-game win streak and went 5-3-0-0 over the eight. Coincidentally, Dekanich's primary goaltending partner that season, Martin Ouellette, is the last Royals goaltender to earn a decision in ten straight games (Jan. 2-25, 2016, 3-5-2-0 record). Former South Korean Olympic netminder Matt Dalton holds the longest consecutive decisions streak in Royals history at 21 games (2009-10).
The Mariners have dropped four straight regulation games and lost three games in three days last weekend, starting Friday with a loss to the Royals, 6-2. On Saturday and Sunday, Adirondack combined to score 11 goals. The Mariners have allowed 23 goals in their last four games and given up at least six in three of them.
Prior to the four-game slide, Maine posted a 12-2-2-0 from Feb. 10 - Mar. 22. On Feb. 9, the Mariners were seventh in the North.
Sunday vs. Adirondack, Taylor Cammarata registered his first Mariners hat trick in a 7-5 loss. He has six goals and 17 points in 17 games since being acquired from Wichita. He has 51 points (20g) this season to top the Mariners.
Netminder Chris Nell is 3-6-0-0 with the Mariners this season (4.16 GAA, .882 sv.%). Backup Francois Brassard replaced Nell Friday in Reading and has allowed seven goals in three appearances this campaign (0-2-0-0, 3.64 GAA, .908 sv.%).
Head to head
The Royals are 4-3-0-0 against Maine and came from behind Friday with six consecutive goals to earn a 6-2 win. Reading fell behind, 1-0, 2:15 into the game on a goal from Zeb Knutson. Corey Mackin scored his first professional goal six minutes later and Jacob Graves scored his first with the Royals to give Reading the lead for good in the final two minutes of the first.
Reading has come from behind to win three times in the series (Oct. 19, Nov. 2, Mar. 29), while Maine has yet to win a game in the series when trailing at any point. Maine has netted the first goal of the season in six of the first seven meetings. Reading is 2-1-0-0 at Cross Insurance Arena and Wednesday is the first battle in Portland since Nov. 28.
Series results have been somewhat lopsided; the Royals took the only one-goal game of the series Nov. 2 in a shootout and the winning team has scored at least four goals in every game.
Michael Huntebrinker (1g) and Adam Schmidt (2a) each popped in two points in the last matchup to extend to a series-best seven points. Huntebrinker and Tyler Brown have scored a Royals-high three goals vs. Maine. Active Royals goaltenders Branden Komm (3 GP, 2-0-0-0), Jamie Phillips (1-0-0-0) and Andrew D'Agostini (2 GP, 1-0-0-0) have combined to go 4-0-0-0 against Maine, allowing 13 goals.
Maine netminder Chris Nell is 1-2-0-0 against the Royals this season (3 GP, 13 GA) and gave up six on Mar. 29 in defeat. He was replaced by Francois Brassard, who made his professional debut with Reading and stopped all four shots faced.
Forward Dillan Fox has two goals and six points and leads active Mariners in the series.
Regular Season Finale
Sat., Apr. 6: FANdemonium with prize giveaways at 7:00 p.m. vs. Adirondack
1) The Royals will hand out prizes to fans at every stoppage in play!
2) Season Ticket Holder jersey off our backs
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