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Royals Receive Seven From Lehigh Valley

Monday, October 6th
Royals Receive Seven From Lehigh Valley

Reading, PA – The Reading Royals of the ECHL, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League and Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the American Hockey League, today announced that the Royals have received seven players from the Lehigh Valley. Four players were assigned by Philadelphia from the Phantoms to the Royals: (i) forward Andrew Johnston; (ii) defenseman Maxim Lemarche; (iii) forward Derek Mathers; and (iv) forward Marcel Noebels. Three players under AHL contract were loaned by Lehigh Valley to Reading: (i) forward Matt Hatch; (ii) goaltender Connor Knapp; and (iii) goaltender Martin Ouellette

Andrew Johnston

Johnston (6’1/191) (23), a third year pro from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, split last season between Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL and the Adirondack Phantoms in the AHL. While with Orlando, Johnston registered nineteen points (4g-15a) and forty-two penalty minutes in fifty games. In seven games with the Phantoms, he recorded two penalty minutes. Johnston, who was a member of the 2012 Centennial Cup Champion Humboldt Broncos in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, has registered thirty-five points (9g-26a) and fifty-seven penalty minutes in 104 games over two seasons of pro.

Maxim Lamarche

Lamarche (5’11/191) (24), who hails from Laval, Quebec, split his rookie season last year between the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL and the Adirondack Phantoms of the AHL. He began the season with the Jackals recording eight points (3g-5a) and thirty-eight penalty minutes in fifty ECHL games. His pims with the Jackals included a fight with Josh Brittain of the Royals in a 3-1 win for Reading in Elmira on March 12. Lamarche got a three game call-up to the Phantoms in late December and, after a second stint in Elmira, returned to Adirondack in mid-March to finish the season in the AHL. In twelve games with the Phantoms, he picked up one assist and seven penalty minutes, which included a tilt with Chris Bruton of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Prior to turning pro, Lamarche played five seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the vast majority of which was played with Baie-Comeau Drakkar. In his overage season with Baie-Comeau, Lamarche led all defensemen on the team with forty-three points (9g-34a) in fifty-three regular season games, while playing to a plus-31 (+31). Lamarche added eleven points (3g-8a) in nineteen post-season contests for Baie-Comeau, who advanced all the way to the championship finals before being knocked off by the Halifax Mooseheads, who would also go on to win the Memorial Cup. In 252 career QMJHL games, Lamarche, who signed a three year entry level contract with the Flyers in June of 2013, registered 113 points (20g-92a) and 269 penalty minutes.

Derek Mathers

Mathers (6’3/227) (21), who hails from Strathroy, Ontario, scored a pair of goals and racked up 105 penalty minutes in thirty-four AHL games with the Adirondack Phantoms last season. His penalty minutes for the Phantoms included thirteen fighting majors. Mathers, who was signed to an NHL entry level contract by the Flyers in May of 2012 and will be entering his second full year of pro, engaged in four AHL tilts in 2012-13 when he joined the Phantoms after the completion of his OHL overage season with the Peterborough Petes. During that stint with Adirondack, Mathers bagged his first pro goal when he beat Rick DiPietro of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on March 30, 2013. While with the Petes that season, Mathers registered twenty-nine points (10g-19a) and led the team for the third consecutive season in penalty minutes with 125 in sixty-four OHL games. He also became the first player ever suspended under the OHL’s then-new rule, which automatically imposed a suspension for engaging in ten fights in a single season. In his three seasons with Peterborough, Mathers bagged fifty-one points (20g-31a), while amassing 473 penalty minutes (which included sixty total fighting majors) in 184 OHL games.

Marcel Noebels

Noebels (6’2/211) (22), a third year pro from Toenisvorst, Germany, registered eleven points (3g-8a) and twenty-nine penalty minutes in fifty-two AHL games with Adirondack last year. He also scored a goal playing for his native country, Germany, in seven games in the World Championships in Minsk, Belarus. In his rookie season (2012-13), Noebels, a fourth round pick of the Flyers in 2011, racked up thirty-points in thirty-one games for the Trenton Titans in the ECHL. While with the Titans, Noebels was selected as the league’s Rookie of the Month in December of 2012 and was chosen to represent the Titans at the 2013 ECHL All-Star Classic in Loveland, Colorado. That year, Noebels also racked up twenty-three points (13g-10a) in forty-three games with Adirondack.

Prior to turning pro, Noebels registered 112 points (48g-64a) and forty-nine penalty minutes in 128 major junior games in the Western Hockey League. While in the WHL, Noebels was a member of the 2012 Portland Winterhawks’ team that advanced to the league championship finals before getting knocked off by the Edmonton Oil Kings. Noebels, who has played ninety-five AHL games, has had considerable experience in international hockey, as well, including winning a gold medal as a member of the U-20 German squad in the World Junior Championship Division 1-A.

Matt Hatch

Hatch (5’11/191) (24), a first year pro who hails from Massena, New York, scored thirteen goals and added nine assists (twenty-two points) and was assessed with thirty-nine penalty minutes while playing all forty-two games it took for the Union College Dutchmen to capture the school’s first ever NCCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey National Championship last year. Hatch, who scored Union’s first goal at the start of the team’s magical tournament run, was tied for fourth in the ECAC with three game winning goals over the course of the season. During his tenure at Union, the Dutchmen won three ECAC Tournament Titles, appeared in the NCAA Tournament four times, made it to the Frozen Four Twice, and compiled an overall record of 104-37-20. In 148 career collegiate games, Hatch recorded seventy-three points (34g-39a) and 198 penalty minutes, while playing to a collective plus-65 (+65)—second best among his four year class.

Connor Knapp

Knapp (6’5/221) (24), who hails from Hornell, New York, is entering his third year of pro. Last season, his second in a two-year NHL entry level deal with the Buffalo Sabres, he split his season between five teams in three leagues, which included a two-game stint with the Sabres. Knapp started last season with the Greeenville Road Warriors of the ECHL, where he played 16 games, compiling a 7-7-2-0 with a 2.32 goals against average and a .933 save percentage. While with the Road Warriors, Knapp recorded his first pro shutout when he stopped all thirty-one shots he faced in a 3-0 win over the Gwinnett Gladiators on November 23, 2013. Knapp was recalled by the Sabres and re-assigned to the Florida Everblades of the ECHL in mid-January. He ended up playing eleven games for Florida, going 2-5-1-2 with a 3.09 GAA and .888 save percentage. Knapp was recalled for a second time in March and re-assigned to the eventual Kelly Cup Champion Alaska Aces, where he won both games he played for the Aces in mid-March (2-0-0-0, 1.50, .947).

From there, Knapp was recalled to the Rochester Americans of the AHL, where he played he would ultimately appear in three games (0-3-0, 4.04, .876). In mid-April, Knapp was recalled to Buffalo where he would make his NHL debut on April 12, when he made six saves on seven shots in 11:35 of relief against the Boston Bruins. The next day, Knapp made his first start in the NHL, falling in a shootout (4-3) to the New York Islanders in the last game of the regular season for the Sabres. In that game, Knapp made 22 saves on 25 shots, as he became the sixth goaltender to appear in a game for Buffalo during the 2013-14 season—and the ninth goaltender to dress for the team, which established a new NHL record in that regard.

Knapp split his rookie season, 2012-13, between Rochester in the AHL and Greenville in the ECHL. In twelve games with the Road Warriors, Knapp went 5-7-0-0 (3.50 GAA, .909 save %). Although he did not face the Royals in the regular season, he started in four of the five games of the 2013 Eastern Conference Quarterfinal matchup between Reading and Greenville, going 1-3-0 in the first four games of that series. His lone win in that series came when Knapp made 37 saves and earned the third star in a 4-2 win for the Road Warriors in Game Three.

Knapp, who has played in forty-one career ECHL games (16-19-3-2, 2.69, .917) and ten in the AHL (1-9-0, 3.55, .888), began his pro career after completing a stellar four year career at the Miami University (Ohio). In his senior season with the Redhawks, Knapp established single season school records with a 1.69 goals against average and .945 save percentage and received the CCHA’s Best Goaltender Award. Knapp, who compiled a 46-22-11 record in 86 games at Miami completed his collegiate career holding the school with a 1.94 goals against average, and his .918 save percentage is second best all-time.

Martin Ouellette

Ouellette (6’2/194) (22), who hails from Saint-Hippolyte-ilken, Quebec, went 15-15-4 in thirty-four games in his senior season at the University of Maine last year. Ouellette, who recorded four shutouts last season for the Black Bears, compiled a 2.29 goals against average with a .925 save percentage, which is the second best (to current Detroit Redwing Jimmy Howard) in school history. Ouellette, a seventh round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, received the Three Stars Award at Maine after his junior and senior seasons with the team. In 82 career collegiate games, Ouellette compiled a record of 28-33-14 with a 2.52 goals against average, .913 save percentage, and seven career shutouts with the Black Bears.

The Royals open the 2014-15 season on Saturday, October 18, at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling, West Virginia, where the team will face the Wheeling Nailers. The home portion of the schedule will kick off the following Saturday (October 25, 2014 @ 7:05 pm) when the Elmira Jackals travel to Santander Arena. Royals’ season tickets are currently available. Call 610-898-7825 for more information or log onto www.royalshockey.com.