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Game 1 Preview: Adirondack at Reading

Saturday, October 21st
Game 1 Preview: Adirondack at Reading

2017-18 season begins with pregame block party, division rival in town

Reading, PA – The Reading Royals (0-0-0-0, 6th North) open the 2017-18 regular season with a pregame block party, purple t-shirt giveaway and 4 p.m. start time at the Santander Arena vs. Adirondack Thunder (2-0-0-0, T-2nd North). Saturday’s Opening Day Block Party features a performance by “The Uptown Band” outside of Santander Arena at 1 p.m. Fans will also receive a free purple Royals t-shirt, courtesy of Met-Ed.

On Sunday, the Royals are back at home against the Wheeling Nailers at 4 p.m. on a “4 for $44” game. Fans will receive four hot dogs, four bags of chips and four sodas for $44. The first 2,000 fans will get a limited-edition Royals puck, courtesy of Deibler Dental.

Reading begins the season with four straight home games, the longest home stand the club has ever started with. The Royals match the Thunder 14 times this season and Reading blasted Adirondack in the 2016-17 season series (7-2-1-1), with six games decided by one goal.

The Thunder (93 points) edged the Royals (88 points) for first place in the North Division last season and each club fell in the opening round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs.

Tune-up seasonReading bested Adirondack two weeks ago in back-to-back preseason games. In Reading's only home preseason game, the Royals defeated the Thunder, 3-1.

The goaltenders, John Muse (36 saves) and Mark Dekanich (28 saves), showed no signs of preseason rust. Dekanich led the 2016-17 Royals with 39 games played to go along with a 21-12-3-1 record, 3.04 goals against average and .910 save percentage.

Adam Schmidt (3g, 1a) and Tyler Brown (4a) topped the Royals in preseason points. Schmidt is in his fourth-year professional season and spent 2014-17 playing in Sweden. The Royals signed Schmidt in June to a standard player contract. Brown is familiar with Adirondack, playing in the Flyers organization from 2011-14 as a member of the AHL's Adirondack Phantoms (the team relocated to Lehigh Valley in 2015). In 365 professional games, Brown has scored 41 goals and 98 points.First-year menThe Royals' Kirk MacDonald and Adirondack's Brad Tapper are in their first seasons as ECHL head coaches. MacDonald spent 2014-17 as an assistant coach under Larry Courville before being named interim Head Coach with three games to go in 2016-17. MacDonald's assistant, Patrick Wellar, is in his fourth season as an assistant coach (player-assistant 2014-16, assistant coach in Cincinnati in 2016-17).

Tapper was an assistant coach in affiliated hockey from 2010-17, most recently serving as an assistant with the AHL's Rochester Americans in 2016-17. Both Tapper (1997-2000) and MacDonald (2002-07) played at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Scouting the ThunderAdirondack is in its third season in the ECHL and switched affiliations from the Calgary Flames to the New Jersey Devils this offseason.

The Thunder overcame a three-goal deficit Friday to charge to a 6-5 shootout win Friday over Manchester. Adirondack has combined for 11 goals in two games. Returning forward James Henry scored two goals and J.C. Campagna scored the game-winning tally in the shootout. Forward Ty Loney (2g, 2a), catapulted the Thunder to a 5-4 win on Oct. 14. Loney scored the game-winning goal in third period of the opening-night victory and matched a career high in points (12/10/16 vs. NOR).

The Thunder also return last season's leading goal scorer Brian Ward (27g). The former St. Lawrence Captain is in his second professional campaign and has one assist this season.

In between the pipes, Nick Riopel is a 2009 Flyers draft pick that has played eight professional seasons. Friay, Riopel made 38 saves and allowed five goals. Nick Niedert was added as an emergency back-up goaltender this week after Ken Appleby was recalled by Binghamton.

Call 610-898-7825 for more information or log onto www.royalshockey.com.

About the RoyalsThe 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.

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