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Game 23 Preview: Reading at Manchester

Saturday, December 9th
Game 23 Preview: Reading at Manchester

Winner takes sole possession of first in North Division

Manchester, NH – The Reading Royals (13-7-2-0, 28 pts., T-1st North) duke it out for first in the North Division with the Manchester Monarchs (13-7-1-1, 28 pts., T-1st North) Saturday at 6:00 p.m. from the SNHU Arena.

The Royals are on a four-game point streak and stuffed Adirondack, 5-1, Friday in Glens Falls, NY. Mark Dekanich made a season-best 47 saves in the game. Reading poured in three goals in the first period. The Royals have scored the first goal in 17 games this season, most in the circuit.

Manchester is on a five-game winning streak after beating Norfolk, 5-2, at home. This is the second of nine meetings between the clubs. Wheeling lost at Indy Friday, moving both Reading and Manchester two points ahead of the Nailers for first.

After Saturday, Reading has seven of its next eight games at home.

The next Royals home game is Fri., Dec. 15 at 7:00 p.m. against Wheeling. It’s a big night on Sat., Dec. 16 for the annual Teddy Bear Toss game and Ugly Sweater Jerseys against Wheeling at 7:00 p.m. Plus, the first 2,000 fans receive a Royals Christmas ornament, presented by Met-Ed.

The Dex ShowGoaltender Mark Dekanich, who has been nicknamed “Dex Show” since playing collegiately at Colgate, made 21 saves in the second period and denied 47 in Friday’s 5-1 win. He was three short of an ECHL career high, set during last season’s playoffs when he denied 50 in an overtime loss to Brampton.

In the past two games, Dekanich has made 74 saves on 76 shots.

Cap is backDerek Whitmore scored the game-winning goal in his first game back from injury Friday against Adirondack. He scored on a breakaway, sprung by a perfect 140-foot pass from Ryan Penny. Whitmore missed the previous month (12 games) with an upper-body injury. He has three goals this season and all have been against the Thunder.

Krushelnyski racks them upAlex Krushelnyski has amassed points in four straight games since returning from Lehigh Valley Dec. 1. He had two assists Friday and leads the Royals with eight multi-point games. He has had three multi-point efforts in the last four. Prior to his Lehigh Valley recall, he had points in consecutive games, meaning he has ten points (5g. 5a) in six games.

A fourth-year professional born in Los Angeles, CA, Krushelnyski has 156 points (59 goals) in 163 ECHL games.

Road comparisonWhile the Royals are 8-1-0-0 at home, the Monarchs are 4-5-0-0 at SNHU Arena. One of those losses came to the Royals, 5-3, on Nov. 15.

Manchester has done their best work on the road with a 9-2-1-1 away record (2nd-best in the league). Manchester has won seven road games by multiple goals. The Monarchs are outscoring teams, 55-36, on the road.

The Royals are 5-6-2-0 on the road and have scored and allowed 39 goals.

We win in the divisionThe Royals are 11-5-1-0 against the North Division and have three more wins than the next-closest team (Worcester). Reading has also played the most games against the North and takes on division foes 57 times this season. The Royals began a stretch of 24 straight games against the North on Dec. 1. Fourteen of those games are at home and Reading is 8-1-0-0 at Santander Arena.

Reading is 6-1-1-0 against the North since Nov. 21. Manchester holds a 5-6-0-1 mark against North opponents.

Head-to-HeadThe Royals took a 4-1 edge early in the third and held on for a 5-3 win against the Monarchs on Nov. 15. Five Reading players scored. Nick Luukko (3a), Michael Huntebrinker (1g, 1a), Matt Wilkins (1g, 1a) and Loic Leduc (2a) had multi-point games. Mark Dekanich had 12 saves in the first to keep the Royals ahead and denied 30 in the game.

Huntebrinker scored the game-winning goal and his first professional marker.

Manchester scored two goals in the third. Sam Kurker (1g, 1a) led the team in points. Evan Cowley made 29 saves on 33 shots in the loss.

Scouting ManchesterThe Monarchs made a host of roster moves to prepare for the weekend. Ahead of Friday’s game vs. Norfolk, G Branden Komm, D Alexx Privatera, F Matt Buckles and F Mikkel Aagaard were all added. Buckles and Aagaard both scored in a 5-2 win Friday.

Before returning home, Manchester went on a five-game road trip and won the last four. Including an 8-3 win at Utah on Nov. 24, Manchester outscored opponents, 17-7, in the last four games of the trip. Charles Williams played in three of those games (3-0-0-0, 1.30 GAA, .958 sv.%).

Joey Lowry tops the Monarchs with 22 points and is one of three players tied for the team lead with nine goals.

In cage, rookie Charles Williams is second in the circuit with a 2.13 goals against average and .933 save percentage, accompanying a 9-3-1-0 record. The former Ferris State graduate transfer made 31 saves and allowed two goals in Friday’s win.

Santa Sacks Holiday Gift

Stuff the stocking with Santa Sacks! Get an autographed Royals puck and come out to three of our biggest games for just $30.- Sat., Jan. 20 at 7:00 p.m. vs. Brampton (Slapshot bobblehead giveaway, THON Night, Star Wars jerseys)- Fri., Feb. 17 at 7:00 p.m. vs. Brampton (Pink in the Rink, knit scarf giveaway)- Sat., Mar. 17 at 7:00 p.m. vs. Brampton (Yannick Tifu number retired, Meet WWE Million Dollar Man)- Sat., Mar. 24 at 7:00 p.m. vs. Worcester (Kelly Cup Tribute puck giveaway, Autism Awareness jerseys)- Sat., Apr. 7 at 7:00 p.m. vs. Norfolk (FANdemonium, fan appreciation, fan’s choice giveaway)- Call 610-898-PUCK and tickets are available here.

More $5 TicketsThe Royals are pleased to announce $5 tickets in the Green Zone to three upcoming games in December!- Wed., Dec. 6 at 7:00 p.m. vs. Wheeling (postgame autographs) | Sun., Dec. 17 at 4:00 p.m. vs. Adirondack (dollar dogs and player photo) | Thurs., Dec. 28 at 7:00 p.m. vs. Worcester (special Flyers jerseys, aPHILLYation night)- Call 610-898-PUCK (7825) and tickets are available here.

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.