Reading, PA – The Reading Royals of the ECHL, affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, today announced that the team has added six players to the team’s Training Camp Roster. Forwards Kevin Goumas and Derek Mathers and goaltenders Connor Knapp and Martin Ouellette have been loaned to Reading from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the AHL. In separate transactions, forwards Kevin Sundher (Lehigh Valley) and defenseman Jordan Heywood (Springfield Falcons) have been returned to Reading after being released from AHL training camp.
These transactions bring the Royals’ current training camp roster to twenty-three players (twelve forwards, seven defensemen and four goaltenders). A current PDF version of the team’s TCR is attached to this release. Statistical Format Bios for Goumas, Mathers, Knapp and Ouellette follow this release.
This marks the second stint in Reading for Goumas (5’10/167) (23), a second year pro who hails from Long Beach, New York. Last season, he played principally for Lehigh Valley, racking up eighteen points (7g-11a) and twenty-three penalty minutes in sixty-three games for the Phantoms. However, he was loaned to Reading in mid-January, playing one game for the Royals without registering any points or penalty minutes before being immediately recalled to the AHL.
Goumas actually began his pro career late in the 2013-14 season with then-Adirondack Phantoms after the conclusion of a standout four-year career at the University of New Hampshire. While with the Phantoms during that stint, he picked up four points (1g-3a) and eight penalty minutes in eleven games. In his senior season at UNH, Goumas racked up a team-leading fifty-two points (19g-33a) in forty games with the Wildcats. At the conclusion of that season, Goumas was selected as the team’s Most Valuable Player and a Hockey East Second Team All-Star, as well as being chosen to the New England Sports Writers’ Division I All-Star Team. Goumas completed his collegiate career as the twenty-ninth leading scorer in UNH team history with 146 points (44g-102a) in 146 career collegiate games.
This is also the second stint in Reading for Mathers (6’3/227) (22), a third year pro from Strathroy, Ontario. Last year, Mathers, who signed a three-year entry level contract with the Flyers in 2012, actually started the season in Reading but was quickly recalled to Lehigh Valley. He was also loaned for a one-game stint with the Royals in mid-January. He ended up playing three games with the Royals, registering an assist and fourteen penalty minutes, which included two fighting majors. Mathers also logged forty-games in the AHL with the Phantoms, registering a pair of assists and 147 penalty minutes, which actually led the Phantoms in a penalty minutes recorded per game played (3.27).
In his first full season of pro, 2013-14, Mathers scored a pair of goals and racked up 105 penalty minutes in thirty-four AHL games with the then-Adirondack Phantoms. His penalty minutes for the Phantoms included thirteen fighting majors. He also 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, who was playing for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on March 30, 2013.
In his final season of major junior, 2012-13, Mathers registered twenty-nine points (10g-19a) and led Peterborough 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 the Petes, Mathers bagged fifty-one points (20g-31a), while amassing 473 penalty minutes (which included sixty total fighting majors) in 184 OHL games.
This is also the second stint with the Royals for Knapp (6’5/221) (25), a fourth year pro who hails from Hornell, New York. Last season, in what has to be considered a breakthrough year for the young goaltender, he played forty-one regular season games with Reading compiling a record of 24-11-3-1, a 2.58 goals against average (which was tied for twelfth best in the league), and a .915 save percentage with one shutout. Knapp was also recalled to Lehigh Valley on three occasions during the regular season, but he did not appear in an AHL game last year.
Over the course of his year with Reading, Knapp had several sequences of spectacular play which included stringing together a team season-long eight game winning streak (8-0-0-0) from January 17 through February 11 and a nine game unbeaten streak (8-0-1-0) (01/17 – 02/13/15). He also recorded a separate personal four game win streak from December 20, 2014 through January 7, 2015. Knapp, who held the opposition to one goal or less ten times during the regular season, recorded his second pro shutout when he made twenty-two saves in a 5-0 win over the Cincinnati Cyclones on February 15, 2015. Knapp’s forty-one appearances with the team is fourth most in a single season for a Royals’ goaltender. His twenty-four wins tied for third most in a single season for the team.
In the post-season last year, Knapp also played all seven games for the Royals in the East Division Semi-Final series against the South Carolina Stingrays, logging 442:27 of game time and stopping 205 of the 223 shots he faced, which translated into a .919 save percentage and 2.44 goals against average. Knapp faced thirty-five or more shots in four of the seven games of the series, which included seeing thirty-nine shots in 87:21 of game time in the double-overtime loss in Game One. Knapp’s seven post-season games played is seventh most in team history; his three wins are seventh most in Royals’ team history; his 2.44 goals against average is seventh best; and .919 save percentage is eight best in Royals’ history.
Knapp kicked off his pro career when he inked a two-year entry-level contract with the Buffalo Sabres after the conclusion of his collegiate career in 2012. In his first two years of pro, he ended up logging time for five teams in three leagues, which included making his NHL debut on April 12, 2014, when he suited up for the Sabres and 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, rejecting 22 of the 25 shots he faced in a shootout loss (3-4) to the New York Islanders in Buffalo’s last game of the 2013-14 regular season.
During those first two years of pro, Knapp also played for three different teams in the ECHL: the Florida Everblades, Alaska Aces, and most notably the Greenville then-Road Warriors, where he spent a substantial portion of his rookie season (2012-13). That year he went 5-7-0 in twelve regular season appearances with Greenville and was the team’s primary goaltender in the post-season, where 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. In fact, Knapp was exceptional in that post-season series, but simply ran into the buzz-saw that proved to be the 2013 Kelly Cup Champion Royals. 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.
In ninety-five career pro regular season games (including ten in the AHL) over the past three seasons, Knapp has compiled an overall a record of 41-39-10 (2.74) (.912) (2 shutouts). Prior to turning pro he put together a stellar four year career at 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.
As with Goumas, Mathers, and Knapp, this is the second stint in Reading for goaltender Martin Ouellette (6’2/194) (23), a second year pro from Saint-Hippolyte, Quebec. In his rookie season last year, after being signed to an AHL contract by Philadelphia, he was loaned from Lehigh Valley to the Royals prior to the start of the season. He played 29 games for Reading, compiling a record of 17-10-1-1 with a 2.91 goals against average and a .907 save percentage with one shutout. Ouellette was recalled to Lehigh Valley on four different occasions during the regular season. He played in eight games for the Phantoms, compiling a record of 3-2-0 with a 2.90 goals against average and a .890 save percentage.
While with Reading last year, Ouellette held the opposition to one goal or less seven times and recorded his first pro shutout when he made twenty-four saves in a 2-0 win over the South Carolina Stingrays at Santander Arena on December 7. That game actually kicked off a personal season-best five game win streak that ran through December 19. Ouellette, who made a team season-high forty-five saves in a 5-4 win on February 6 over the Florida Everblades, also had a four game win streak for Reading from January 11 through February 8.
Prior to turning pro, Ouellette had a stellar career at the University of Maine. In his senior season with the Black Bears (2013-14) he went 15-15-4 in thirty-four games, racking up four shutouts and compiling 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. 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 Fifteenth Anniversary Season of Royals’ hockey kicks off with back-to-back games against the South Carolina Stingrays at North Charleston Coliseum on Saturday (October 17) and Sunday (October 18). Reading opens the home portion of the team’s schedule on Saturday, October 24, (7:00 pm) when the Elmira Jackals visit Santander Arena. The home opener will be preceded by a Block Party complete with a FREE concert by the Gin Blossoms. Season Tickets for the 2015-16 Reading Royals ECHL season are currently available. Call 610-898-7825 for more information or log onto www.royalshockey.com.