Wheeling, WV – After allowing an early goal, the Reading Royals struck for five straight and blistered the Wheeling Nailers, 6-3, Saturday at Wesbanco Arena. Matt Wilkins scored two goals for the second straight game and started the run, responding to Cody Wydo’s opening goal at 7:14 of the first. Matt Willows scored two minutes later to continue the explosion. In the second, Wilkins, Michael Huntebrinker (2g) and Adam Schmidt scored.
Chris McCarthy assisted on three strikes to tie a career-high helping effort. Reading’s top line of Wilkins-McCarthy-Willows factored on three of Reading’s six goals.
The Royals finished an eight-game road trip with a 3-1-4-0 record. Reading is up to 72 points and sits third in the North Division, three behind first-place Manchester.
Branden Komm allowed one goal each period and moved to 6-1-1-0 with Reading, denying 24 shots. Danny Tirone was pulled after the second (loss, 18 saves, 23 shots). Adam Morrison finished the third for Wheeling with 12 denials.
The Royals return home Wed., Feb. 14 vs. Fort Wayne, hosting a postgame autograph session (presented by Rieck’s Printing). The Royals are pleased to host Yannick Tifu Retirement Night on St. HatTrick’s Day next Sat., Mar. 17 at 7:00 p.m. with a chance to win $10,000 by registering at royalshockey.com. Also meet Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase during the game (free pictures and autographs).
The Royals bossed a 2-1 advantage after the first period, scoring the last two. Cody Wydo sprung Wheeling ahead with his seventeenth career goal against Reading at 3:38 of the first, slamming home a rebound at the left post. Komm initially denied Reid Gardiner on a right-circle shot.
At 7:14 of the first, Wilkins poked a rebound over Tirone’s right shoulder and tied the game. Frank Hora ripped a shot off Tirone and Wilkins quickly smacked it in. McCarthy earned his first assist of the period. Willows capitalized on a rush chance 1:50 later. After receiving a pass from McCarthy across the Nailers’ right-wing stripe. Willows sniped it to the far post and in. He leads the Royals with 26 goals.
In the second, Huntebrinker scored on the man up at 7:07 of the period. Tyler Brown whipped it wide left of the net and it bounced to Huntebrinker at the left post. He deftly backhanded it to the top shelf and roofed it over the 5-foot-11 netminder Tirone. Steven Swavely had the secondary assist.
With 6:37 of the period, Wilkins tied a professional-best two-goal effort by deflecting a right-point shot aimed by Chris McCarthy. Wilkins deflected by the glove. 1:22 later, Adam Schmidt took a wide angle on a wraparound shot at the right post. It knocked off a Nailers defender in front and sputtered into the back of the cage to provide the Royals a 5-1 lead.
Huntebrinker restored a four-goal lead after Wheeling scored late in the second. At 7:39 of the third, the Royals forward intercepted a blind pass to the slot. Huntebrinker took a quick crank and mashed it in for his 18th of the season and made it 6-2 Royals.
Garrett Meurs recorded Wheeling’s second power-play goal and finished the game’s scoring with a wrist shot and 6:08 left in the third.
Reading killed off two of Wheeling’s four man-up chances. The Royals were 1-for-5 on the man up.
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. 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.
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.
About the Royals
The Royals have been owned by serial entrepreneur Jack Gulati since 2014 and are in their 17th ECHL season. Proudly affiliated with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers and AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Reading plays in the Santander Arena, located in downtown Reading, PA at 700 Penn Street. The Royals won the Kelly Cup in 2013, have made the playoffs in eight straight seasons and are four-time division champions.
Reading Royals Mobile App
Head to the App Store and Google Play to download the new Reading Royals app on your smartphone! Stay up-to-date with team news, receive notifications and purchase tickets for your next experience at Santander Arena.
All Royals game can be heard on Rumba 1340 AM and the iHeartRadio app by searching “Rumba 1340”. The pregame show starts 15 minutes before puck drop. Watch Royals games on ECHL.tv. Reading away games are shown locally on BCTV, channel 15 Comcast, channel 19 Service Electric.