Stolarz Starts for Royals Again Tonight on Tifu Retirement Night
Reading, PA - The Reading Royals (33-21-8-0, 74 pts., 3rd North) have a massive promotional night - Yannick Tifu number retirement, Ted DiBiase and a $10,000 giveaway - Saturday at 7:00 p.m. against the Brampton Beast (24-28-6-4, 58 pts., 6th North) for St. HatTrick's Day. Goaltender Anthony Stolarz will make his second straight start for the Royals Saturday. He played seven games last season with the Flyers, Reading's NHL parent club. Here's what you need to know for tonight's game and tickets are available here.
1) Wrestling legend Ted DiBiase the "Million Dollar Man" will be in attendance to take pictures and sign autographs during the game. There is no charge for pictures or autographs. Fans can meet the Million Dollar Man during the first and second periods. Season ticket holders will have a special meet-and-greet with the Million Dollar Man from 5:45-6:30 p.m. at the game.
2) One lucky fan will go home with $10,000 tonight if a Royals player scores a hat trick. The Royals will wear special green St. Patrick's Day jerseys on St. HatTrick's Day.
3) The first 5,000 fans in attendance will receive a special-edition Tifu poster, courtesy of Rieck's Printing and Diamond Credit Union.
4) The Kelly Cup will be at the game with Mr. Pat Kelly! Get your picture taken with the Kelly Cup Fri., Mar. 16 during Happy Hour 4:00-7:00 p.m. at Jimmy G's Beverley Hills Tavern on Old Fritztown Road. It's the 5th anniversary of the team winning the Kelly Cup.
5) All fans are invited to stay after the game to partake in a special photo "recreation" of Yannick Tifu receiving the Kelly Cup from Mr. Pat Kelly after Saturday's game.
The Royals are coming off a 5-4 overtime loss against Fort Wayne Wednesday. Adam Schmidt tied the game in the final five minutes and Stolarz made 30 saves in defeat. Reading is on a five-game point streak, matching a season high. The Royals have points in 10 of the last 11 games (5-1-5-0).
Brampton has taken two of three games since playing Reading March 8. In the last game, the Beast scored three times in the final half of the third to defeat Kalamazoo, 5-3. Saturday's showdown is the ninth and final of the season series. The teams have split the first eight.
The Yannick Tifu Legacy
Former Royals forward Yannick Tifu will have his #10 retired to the Diamond Credit Union Wall of Honor during tonight's game. Tifu was the Royals Captain three times (2011-14) and wore the "C" during the 2012-13 Kelly Cup championship season. Tifu, who is the third all-time leading scorer for the Royals with 222 points (84g, 138a) in 245 regular season games, was the first Royals player to touch the Kelly Cup after the team triumphed over the Stockton Thunder in five games on May 25, 2013. He was chosen as the team's most valuable player twice-including the 2012-13 championship season-and is the only player in team history to receive the Fans' Choice Award on four separate occasions.
When the Royals acquired Tifu from the Chicago Express midway through 2011-12, Head Coach Larry Courville said, "Yannick is the type of player who is always difficult to play against. He is a tough competitor with a great combination of skill and grit. We look forward to having him bring his competitive fire to our team."
Tifu registered a point a game (72) during the 2012-13 regular season and topped the ECHL with 12 goals and 25 points in the 2013 Kelly Cup Playoffs. He played in all 94 games that season en route to the championship.
During Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals vs. Cincinnati, Tifu scored a tie-breaking goal with 11 seconds to go on a broken play with a shot from outside the right-wing circle to place Reading a win away from its first Kelly Cup Finals berth. The Royals clinched a spot in the Final the next night and Tifu had an assist in Game 5. He started the Kelly Cup Finals with his most-prolific postseason performance, recording four points (1g, 3a) to put the Royals in control of the series. Reading held a 2-0 series edge as the series shifted to Stockton. In Game 3, the Captain scored two goals, including the game-winning strike in the third, to grab Reading a 3-0 series edge. At season's end, Tifu had combined for 39 goals in the regular season and Kelly Cup Playoffs, tied for the most in team history.
Tifu returned to lead the Royals as team captain again for his third straight season in 2013-14, leading the squad to the postseason. After a season playing in France and a brief stint with Brampton, Tifu brought his all-out skill set back to Reading in 2015-16 for his fourth season in purple. In his final ECHL season, he tied for fourth on the Royals with 43 points (18g). Throughout his career, he placed a premium on being involved in the community and meeting the fans that came out to support the team. 700 Penn Street will always be a second home for this Reading legend.
Stolarz continues Royals strong goaltending legacy
Anthony Stolarz (7 NHL GP) became the 10th goaltender to play in the NHL before appearing for the Royals. Stolarz made his Flyers debut last season and won his first two starts. Twelve former Royals netminders skated for Reading before eventually advancing to the NHL.
Jonathan Quick, Philipp Grubauer, Michael Hutchinson and Ben Scrivens are some of the most notable names to play for the Royals before starting their NHL careers.
Three goalies on the Royals roster this season have suited up for NHL teams on a game day: Stolarz, Mark Dekanich (1 GP, 2010-11) and John Muse. Though Muse never played an NHL game, he served as a backup multiple times with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Thirty-two former players have advanced from Reading to the NHL, most recently Tyrell Goulbourne this season.
Stolarz and Goulbourne are the first two players to appear for both the Royals and Flyers since the affiliation began in 2015.
Earlier this season, Royals Captain Derek Whitmore became the 22nd player to make the NHL prior to playing for Reading.
Willows is right there
Matt Willows scored twice Wednesday against the Komets, the third time this season he has notched a multi-goal game. He has matched a single-season best 66 points, accomplished as a rookie during the 2015-16 campaign with Florida. The third-year professional is two points away from 200 in his career. With goals in four straight games, Willows is on his second-longest streak of the season. Earlier this campaign, Willows tied the Royals team record with tallies in eight straight games.
Since Jan. 14, Willows has recorded at least a point in 20 of 23 games (15g, 19a), including a career-best 15-game point streak. Reading has scored 81 goals over that stretch, meaning he's recorded a point on 42.0% of Reading's strikes.
Here's a wild stat
At least one player of the Matt Wilkins - Chris McCarthy - Matt Willows has been on the ice for 50 of the last 81 Royals goals (61.7% --- stat since Jan. 14). On 48 of those 81 (59.3%), at least one of those skaters has a point. Willows leads the way with 34 points (15g), Wilkins is second on the team with 11 goals since Jan. 14 (24 pts., 23 GP) and McCarthy has 23 points (5g).
Good vibes on the power play
Since Feb. 16 (13 GP), the Royals are 14/57 on the man advantage (24.5%). Reading has power-play goals in the last four games, the most consecutive games the Royals have recorded a man-up tally. Approximately 38% of the team's 37 goals on the man advantage have come in the last month.
At home, the Royals power play converts 21.6% of the time, 4th-best in the league.
Matt Willows leads Reading with 18 power-play points (5g). A third of Michael Huntebrinker's 18 goals have been on the man up.
One-goal game history vs. Brampton
The Reading Royals and the Brampton Beast just hit their 15th one-goal decision in series history last time out Mar. 8 (4-3 REA win). Reading is 4-1-0-0 in one-goal decisions against the Beast. The Royals are now 4-1-5-0 in one-goal wins all time in the regular season against the Beast, all of which have come in this campaign. Including last year's postseason, the Royals are 6-2-7-0 in contests decided by a tally vs. the Beast. Reading's game-winning goal scorers against Brampton this season are Chris McCarthy, Michael Huntebrinker, James de Haas and Tyler Brown. For the Beast, they only have beaten the Royals by a one-goal margin once and the scorer was Jordan Henry Nov. 19th.
Head to head series: Series tied 4-4-0-0
The Royals tied the series, 4-4, against Brampton, taking the one-goal edge while on the road, 4-3, Mar. 8. All of Reading's wins have been one-goal victories.
In the last match-up, Reading scored three unanswered goals after falling behind 3-1 in the first to take the 4-3 victory. Matt Willows recorded his 20th multi-point game of the season and Adam Schmidt, Matt Wilkins and Tyler Brown all tallied for the Royals. Braden Komm stopped 34 shots in the victory.
Willows leads the Royals with nine points in the series. Alex Krushelnyski, now in Lehigh Valley, has recorded a team-high four goals vs. the Beast.
Mark Dekanich allowed 14 goals in three games vs. the Beast. Branden Komm is 1-for-1 against Brampton. John Muse, now in the AHL, was between the pipes for three of Reading's victories.
Alex Foster is best on the Beast with nine points (5g, 4a) in the series.
Scouting the Beast
Brampton skates for the first time against the Royals with Erik Bradford, the leading scorer for the Toledo Walleye (14 goals, 39 points) prior to the ECHL Trade Deadline. Bradford has one assist in two games with the Beast.
Brandon Marino is the leading scorer for the Beast (53 points, 62 games) and has seven points (2g) against Reading.
Leading goal scorer Chris Leveille (18g) has one against the Royals. He is cousins with Lehigh Valley Phantoms defenseman James de Haas.
Alex Foster, a former NHL player with the Toronto Maple Leafs, scored last game in Brampton's 5-3 victory over Kalamazoo Tuesday and has 11 this season.
The Beast boasts the third-ranked penalty kill in the league, while hitting at 15 percent on the man advantage, 23rd in the ECHL.
Forward Dillan Fox has been released from his standard player contract.
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.
Special Olympics Night Fri., Mar. 23 vs. WOR at 7:00 p.m.
Tickets are available here, with $5 going back to benefit the Special Olympics of Berks County. Postgame shake, shiver and freeze with the Royals to raise money for the Special Olympics and a Royals trading card set giveaway to the first 2,500 fans (Rieck's Printing).
Autism Awareness Night Sat., Mar. 24 vs. WOR at 7:00 p.m.
Tickets are available here. $5 from every ticket goes back to the Autism Society of Berks County and Unending Promise! This is one of the best nights of the season for a wonderful cause. No goal horn and the Royals wear special autism awareness jerseys. Plus, a one-time-only giveaway: a puck with Head Coach Kirk MacDonald and Assistant Coach Pat Wellar.
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.
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