Willman Returned on Loan, Royals Host Maine Tonight
Reading, PA - The Reading Royals (31-16-5-0, 67 pts., 2nd North) hold a two-point edge on the Maine Mariners (31-22-2-1, 65 pts., 3rd North) entering Wednesday's 7:00 p.m. game at Santander Arena. The Royals have played five fewer games than the Mariners and Reading has 20 games remaining in the regular season (7 home). The Royals also announced forward Max Willman has been returned on loan from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (details below).
Reading split four games last weekend and is 8-2-0-0 over the last ten games. The run has allowed the Royals to gain three points on Maine (6-3-1-0) in each team's last ten.
Wednesday's game is Kirk MacDonald's 200th regular season game as Royals Head Coach, the third to reach that milestone with Reading (Karl Taylor, Larry Courville). Since becoming interim coach in Apr. 2017, MacDonald is 107-68-18-6 (.597%).
Reading's next home game after Wednesday is Sun., Mar. 8 at 4:00 p.m. for First Responders Night. The Royals visit Adirondack for two games this Friday and Saturday at 7:00 p.m. Reading then finishes the road weekend with a Sun., Mar. 1 showdown against Worcester at 3:05 p.m.
Today's promotion: Free souvenir cup refills at the concession stands.
Broadcast coverage: Listen on the Deibler Dental In-Arena Broadcast at 99.3 FM and mixlr.com/readingroyals. Watch on ECHL.tv
A Royals win would...
Be the fourth straight head-to-head win against Maine...Move Reading within four home victories of matching 2012-13 team for most ever in a single season at Santander Arena (26, 2012-13).
Willman returned on loan
F Max Willman returns to Reading for the first time since Dec. 15. The rookie signed professional try-out contract with the Phantoms in December and scored his first AHL goal Jan. 15 vs. Syracuse. In total, the former Brown University and Boston University talent has potted three AHL goals and seven points in 20 games.
With the Royals, Willman has five goals and 15 points in 20 games.
Goals: Cuddemi (21)
Assists: DiChiara (32)
Points: DiChiara (50)
PIM: Mitchell (106)
+/-: Knodel (20)
Goals: Fox (21)
Assists: Kile (32)
Points: Kile (48)
PIM: Crevier-Morin (13)
+/-: Adams-Moisan (67)
A quirky stat as MacDonald hits 200
Kirk MacDonald will join Larry Courville (612 games coached) and Karl Taylor (216) as the only Royals head coaches to lead the team for at least 200 regular season games. MacDonald is 107-68-24 as through his first 199 games since becoming interim Head Coach in Apr. 2017. Both Taylor and Courville had 107 wins through their first 200 games as head coach, putting MacDonald in position to pass each Wednesday for the most wins through the first 200 games coached in team history.
Through 200 games (2008-10), Courville had a 107-78-15 mark (.572%). Karl Taylor registered a 107-74-19 record (.582%).
Regardless of Wednesday's outcome, MacDonald will finish the game with the best points percentage of any Reading head man ever through 200 games.
Courville completed his 9+ seasons as Head Coach with a 343-212-56 mark (.607%). Derek Clancey has the best points percentage of any Reading Head Coach in team history over his 144 games (.615). Clancey is an ECHL Hall of Fame member, former Columbus Chill star and Stanley Cup Champion with the Pittsburgh Penguins front office.
Reading is 4-1-1-0 through two-thirds of the nine-game series. The teams haven't played in seven weeks, when the Royals hosted their first-ever Education Day game and Corey Mackin scored the game-winning goal to best Maine, 2-1.
Reading has outscored Maine, 12-4, over the last three series matchups, all Royals wins. In six games, Reading has a plus-six goal differential (23 GF, 17 GA). That includes an 8-3 goal differential in the first period.
This is the fourth of five games at Santander Arena against Maine; the clubs meet Mar. 6 in Portland and Mar. 22 vs. Reading to complete the series.
The Royals have scored the first goal four times (3-0-1-0) against Maine and Reading has one come-from-behind win against the Mariners this season (Dec. 31).
Seven Royals have two goals against the Mariners and Matthew Gaudreau (2g) leads all players with 11 points.
Felix SandstrÃ¶m is 1-1-0-0 (5 GA) in two games vs. Maine. Connor LaCouvee (1-3-0-0) and Francois Brassard (0-1-0-0) have surrendered a combined 20 goals in their five appearances. Former Mariners netminder Tom McCollum beat Reading on Oct. 19 with an ECHL-career-high 44 saves (3 GA). He has never faced Maine.
Royals-Maine head-to-head leaders this season
Royals goals - 7/w (2) | Mariners goals - Fox (4) |
Royals assists - Gaudreau (9) | Mariners assists - Cammarata (7)
Royals points - Gaudreau (11) | Mariners points - Cammarata (8)
Royals PIM - Cockerill (12) | Mariners PIM - Adams-Moisan (11)
Royals +/- - DiChiara (7) | Mariners +/- - Wallin/Master (3)
Mackin an impression league-wide
Corey Mackin generated two goals last week and has at least a point in 15 of his last 18 games (10g, 12a). The 24-year-old rookie is tied for 4th in the league among rookies with 19 goals; within the division, only Newfoundland "freshman" Justin Brazeau has more tallies.
The Ferris State graduate leads active Royals in goals and is second to Frank DiChiara with 38 points. Eight Royals have at least ten goals this season.
Interestingly, Mackin's consistency mirrors his four seasons in the WCHA at Ferris State, where he finished with exactly ten goals and 25 points in three of his four collegiate seasons.
He reached 50 career points with a goal last Friday vs. Newfoundland (20 career goals).
Oops Maine did it again
For the second straight season, the Maine Mariners have forged an early-second-half run that's put the team in position to control its own destiny for a postseason berth. This season, the club is 14-5-2-0 since falling to hockey .500 on Jan. 12. Maine is ten points in front of Adirondack for the North Division's fourth and final playoff spot.
Last season, Maine fell two games below .500 in early February, then rolled off wins in 13 of 17 (13-2-2-0) to move into third in the North. The Mariners slumped to a 2-6-0-0 finish and missed the postseason by two points (Reading finished one point behind Brampton for the final seed).
Single-game tickets and mini-plans are on sale by visiting royalshockey.com/promotions, calling 610-898-7825 and visiting Santander Arena and The Weidenhammer Box Office at 700 Penn Street, Reading, PA.
Upcoming Home Games: royalshockey.com/promotions
Sun., Mar. 8 at 4:00 p.m. vs. Brampton (First Responders Game, Pres. by Met-Ed)
Game pres. by Met-Ed - the Reading Fire/Police squads face the Allentown squads before the game at 12:30 p.m. - 1 ticket includes admission to both games | $1 Hot Dogs, Sodas and Nachos | Touch a Truck Event for Kids | Faith & Family Night - Church Group Rates Available | Heaven's Thunder music performance | Last Postgame Party of the season with players at Cheers! Restaurant at the DoubleTree Hotel.
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