Royals continue home stand, cross-conference Walleye in town
Reading, PA – The Reading Royals (2-0-0-0, 4 pts., T-4th North) play their third straight home game Thursday at 7 p.m. against the Toledo Walleye (2-1-0-0, 4 pts., T-3rd Central). The Royals are coming off back-to-back overtime victories and are one of two undefeated teams in the North Division.
Thursday’s game is a postgame photo and autograph session with four Royals players, courtesy of Rieck’s Printing. The Royals complete a four-game home stand this Sunday, Oct. 29 at 4:00 p.m. against Adirondack. It’s a Halloween Game, featuring dollar-dog day, special Halloween jerseys, a Halloween costume contest and a team photo giveaway to the first 2,500 fans, brought to you by Rieck’s Printing.
The Walleye are the defending Henry Brabham Cup winners (most points in regular season, 106 in 2016-17).
Reading has two games left on its four-game home stand before embarking on a five-game road trip.
Rare gameThe Royals play their first of five games against the Western Conference Thursday against Toledo. Besides two games against the Walleye, Reading also matches Cincinnati twice and Fort Wayne once. Reading next hosts Toledo on Jan. 24.
Thursday’s game is Reading’s first of 15 against a team outside of the North Division (10 against the Eastern Conference’s South Division). The Royals play South Carolina, Orlando, Jacksonville and Norfolk.
Series historyThe Royals hold a 37-25-10 all-time record against Toledo (formerly known as the Toledo Storm from 1991-2007) and are 10-6-1 against the Walleye since Toledo changed names.
Last season, the Royals swept Toledo on the road, but the Walleye had the best record in the league. The clubs have split the last four matchups. Since 2010-11, the season series is nearly knotted (Royals are 7-6-1).
The Royals and Walleye met in the playoffs for the first time in 2015-16 and the Royals won the conference quarterfinals series in seven games. The Royals won game one and the clubs alternated wins for the remaining games. Martin Ouelette (37 saves) outdueled Jeff Lerg (16 saves) in Game 7, a 4-1 Royals win on the road. Reading lost to Wheeling in the next round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
Zajac is backDefenseman Nolan Zajac is facing Toledo for the first time since signing with Reading. Last season, as a rookie, Zajac had 11 goals and 54 points (both 2nd among team defensemen) with the Walleye and made the ECHL All-Star Game. In 16 playoff games, Zajac added nine assists.
Through two games this season, Zajac has one goal and two points.
Multi-point guys Seven Royals have multiple points through the first two games. Matt Willows (2g, 1a) and Adam Comrie (1g, 2a) lead the Royals.
Alex Krushelnyski, Chris McCarthy, Nolan Zajac, Mark Naclerio and Adam Schmidt all have two points.
Last Time OutNolan Zajac scored in overtime to lead the Royals to a 2-1 win over the Wheeling Nailers Sunday at Santander Arena. Matt Willows also tallied halfway through the first period, his second straight game with a goal and John Muse made 37 saves.
The Royals allowed a power-play goal in the first period but killed off the next five man-up chances. In the second period, Wheeling was on the power play for 10:05, including two 5-on-3 chances and one five-minute major power play assessed to Adam Comrie for slashing.
Scouting the WalleyeThe Walleye rebounded with a 3-0 shutout victory over Quad City last Saturday in the team’s only game of the week. Pat Nagle denied 23 shots for his 11th career shutout. The 7th-year professional is 2-0-0-0 with a 1.16 GAA and .951 save percentage.
On the scoresheet, defenseman Kevin Tansey leads the squad with three points and scored the game-winning goal Saturday against Quad City. Kyle Bonis and A.J. Jenks each have two goals and Bonis was loaned to Iowa (AHL) Wednesday.
Second-year Head Coach Dan Watson is the reigning ECHL Coach of the Year. The Walleye lost to the Colorado Eagles in the 2017 Western Conference Final.
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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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Broadcast CoverageAll 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 locally on BCTV.