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Game 19 Preview: Reading at Wheeling

Friday, December 1st
Game 19 Preview: Reading at Wheeling

Division foes meet up for a trio starting Friday in Wheeling

Wheeling, WV – The Reading Royals (10-7-1-0, 21 pts., 3rd North) play the first of three straight games against the Wheeling Nailers (11-5-2-0, 24 pts., T-1st North) Friday at 7:05 p.m. Reading is also at Wheeling tomorrow and host the Nailers Wed., Dec. 6 at 7:00 p.m. The Royals play their next three home games against the Nailers.

Reading is coming off a 4-3 loss against Cincinnati. Chris McCarthy had two goals and Nick Luukko (1g, 1a) had his second multi-point game of the season. Adam Comrie recorded an assist to tie him with Simon Tremblay for most points ever by a Royals defenseman (86).

The Royals are a quarter of the way through the season.

Reading hosts a special postgame autograph session and take on Wheeling on Wed., Dec. 6 at 7:00 p.m., presented by Rieck’s Printing. Tickets are available here.

Quarter pole

The Royals have played 18 of 72 games and are a quarter of the way through the season. Three Royals have 15 points to lead the team in scoring – Matt Willows, Alex Krushelnyski and Mark Naclerio. Ryan Penny, Naclerio and Krushelnyski top the squad with seven goals.

Reading has the most home wins in the North Division (7-1-0-0 record) and are outscoring opponents, 33-20, at Santander Arena. The Royals have taken the fewest PIMs (188) in the conference.

Last season, the Royals went 8-8-2-0 in the first quarter. Reading was 13-5-0-0 in the next 18, moving the team into playoff positioning.

McCarthy multi-goal games

Chris McCarthy scored two goals Wednesday at Cincinnati, the second time this season he has had a multi-goal game. The 26-year-old scored two goals in the third period against Toledo (10/26) and the Royals overcame a two-goal deficit to win overtime. McCarthy’s goals on Wednesday helped him snap a streak of 11 games without a marker. He is one goal away from a team-best seven.

In his career, McCarthy has four multi-goal games, but has never recorded a professional hat trick. After spending the first two years of his career with the Rangers organization, the fourth-year professional signed with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for 2016-17. Last season, he had 19 goals and 47 points with Reading.

Krushelnyski returns to Reading

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms announced Thursday that forward Alex Krushelnyski has been returned on loan to the Reading Royals. Krushelnyski played three games last week with Lehigh Valley and recorded an assist in his first game.

The native of Bloomfield Hills, MI is tied for Reading’s team lead in goals (7) and points (15) in 14 games. In his four-year professional career, he has 59 goals and 158 points in 211 games. He leads Reading with five multi-point games this season.

Last time out

Chris McCarthy scored twice in a 4-3 loss to the Cincinnati Cyclones Wednesday at U.S. Bank Arena. He scored the first goal, but Reading allowed the next three. McCarthy then struck late in the second period to yank the Royals within one goal, 3-2.

Trailing by two in the third, Nick Luukko scored with 6:28 left to apply late-game pressure. Jonas Johansson made 27 saves in victory and had seven stops in the third. Mark Dekanich (loss, 20 saves) is 5-4-0-0 this season.

Cyclones forward Justin Danforth scored on the final shot of the second period with 29 seconds left to provide insurance and a 4-2 Cincinnati edge.


Reading is 1-1-0-0 against Wheeling this season and has scored three goals (Nolan Zajac, Ryan Penny and Matt Willows).

The Royals defeated Wheeling in the first game of the season series on a Nolan Zajac OT goal.

Last time against the Nailers on Nov. 26, the Royals dropped the final game of a three-in-three, 5-1. Cody Wydo (2g) and Hunter Fejes (2g, 1a) topped the score sheet. Wydo has 24 points against Reading in 26 career games (14g).

John Muse has allowed six goals in two games against the Nailers.

Scouting Wheeling

Led by second-year Head Coach Jeff Christian, the Nailers have forged an offensive identity, scoring 4.06 goals per game (2nd in league) and allowing 3.39.

Cody Wydo (24 points), Reid Gardiner (22) and Garret Meurs (21) all rank in the top-ten of league scoring.

The Nailers convert on 27% of their power plays, best in the league. One third of the team’s goals have come on the man up and Wheeling’s PP is 2-for-10 against the Royals.

Colin Stevens (3 GP) is 0-0-1-0 against Reading this season and 2-0-1-0 on the season (3.27 GAA, .907 sv%). Former Royals goaltender Adam Morrison lost in his only game against Worcester on Nov. 25, allowing four goals on 24 shots. Sean Maguire (12 GP) was recalled by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins earlier this week.

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.

Reading Royals Mobile AppHead 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.

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 are shown locally on BCTV.