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Game 32 Preview: Reading at Adirondack

Sunday, December 31st
Game 32 Preview: Reading at Adirondack

wNew Year’s Eve showdown in Glens Falls      

Glens Falls, NY – The Reading Royals (16-13-2-0, 34 pts.) are in a three-way tie for second in the North Division and conclude the calendar year with a rematch against the rival Adirondack Thunder (16-14-1-1, 34 pts.) Sunday at 5:00 p.m. The Royals, Thunder and Wheeling Nailers sit at 34 points and all the North Division play on New Year’s Eve. Reading matches Adirondack 14 times this season and the Royals hold a 7-1-0-0 season series advantage after a 5-3 win Saturday.

Coverage begins at 4:45 p.m. on Rumba 1340 and BCTV with Royals Pregame. Watch BCTV on Channel 15 Comcast and Channel 19 Service Electric. Answer our BCTV Royals Trivia Question of the Night, presented by Jimmy G’s Railroad House in Sinking Spring, PA for your chance to win a Jimmy G’s gift card.

Michael Huntebrinker recorded his first hat trick and a professional-best four points Saturday to spring the Royals to a 5-3 win vs. the Thunder Saturday. Reading accumulated 24 penalty minutes and Adirondack had 41. The teams combined for 46 PIMs in the third period. Huntebrinker sealed his hat trick with an empty-net goal at 19:48 of the third. Brian Morgan pitched in his first multi-goal and three-point night (2g, 1a).

Reading has one more home game against Adirondack the rest of the season (Jan. 12). The Royals are 5-1-0-0 against the Thunder at home and 2-0-0-0 on the road.

After Sunday’s bout, the Royals are on the road to face Worcester on Wed., Jan. 3 at 7:05 p.m., with coverage beginning at 6:50 p.m. with Royals Pregame on BCTV and Rumba 1340.

The Royals play three home games next weekend Jan. 5-7 and start a season-long five-game homestand.

Huntebrinker’s hat trick and Morgan’s three pointsMichael Huntebrinker recorded professional highs with three goals and four points Saturday, while linemate Brian Morgan had the other two goals (plus three points) in the 5-3 win over Adirondack.

Huntebrinker has 11 goals this season, placing him in a tie for fifth in the league among rookies. He had last recorded a multi-goal game during his junior year of college at Minnesota State (2g vs. Alabama-Huntsville on Dec. 15, 2015). His last hat trick, and only since starting his junior career, came in 2012-13 when he played for the USHL’s Waterloo Black Hawks. In a 7-3 win over the Green Bay on Feb. 2, 2013, Huntebrinker recorded the “same trick” – his first goal was on the power play, he had two goals in the second and sealed the trick with an empty-netter in the third. Huntebrinker had four points Saturday. He has had a pair of four-point outputs since beginning his junior career – Saturday and a two-goal effort at USHL’s Sioux City on Nov. 10, 2012.

The rookie Morgan tied professional highs in goals and points Saturday. He had two goals with Pensacola (SPHL) earlier this season vs. Huntsville on Nov. 25 and three points against Fayetteville Nov. 10.

New Year’s EveThe Royals have played seven times on New Year’s Eve and this is the third straight year opposing the Thunder on Dec. 31.

Last season, Reading took a 5-2 win at Adirondack and Robbie Czarnik netted the game-winning goal. Former Royals goalie Drew Fielding had 40 saves. Fielding is now on the Thunder. In 2015, the Royals dropped a 2-1 decision in the shootout.

Reading played its first New Year’s Eve game against Mississippi in 2004 and lost, 5-3. That was game four of an eight-game road trip. Reading reeled off wins in its next three games after Dec. 31.

2017 marks the fourth straight season the Royals play on New Year’s Eve.

First-period eruptionThe Royals are outscoring opponents, 35-25, in the first period this season and much of the damage has been done against Adirondack. The Royals have 14 goals in the first frame against the Thunder and Adirondack has six. Saturday, Brian Morgan scored in the final minute of the first to coax a tie, preventing the Thunder from taking a 1-0 edge into first intermission. Reading scored the opening goal in the first six season-series matchups. All of those first goals came in the initial 20 minutes.

The squad put up three goals in the first period against Adirondack on Oct. 21, Oct. 29 and Dec. 8. Reading has scored multiple goals in the first period on four occasions against the Thunder. Adirondack managed three goals in the first against the Royals on Dec. 17.

Scouting the seriesFifteen Royals players have goals against Adirondack this season, compared to 11 Thunder players. Michael Huntebrinker’s Saturday hat trick tied him with Ryan Penny to lead the series with five goals. Huntebrinker has seven points against the Thunder in six games. With ten points (3g), Matt Willows leads all players in season series points.

John Muse is 4-0-0-0 against the Thunder, allowing nine goals. He earned his first career ECHL shutout against Adirondack in a 2-0 win on Nov. 24. Dekanich had 47 saves on 48 shots Dec. 8, the second-most saves he’s had in a game this season (5-1 win).  The 10th-year professional is 3-0-0-0 against the Thunder.

Pierre-Luc Mercier has seven points in the series to top the Thunder (2g). Chris Nell is 1-1-0-0 against the Royals and lost Saturday allowing four goals. Drew Fielding is 0-1-0-0 in three appearances and made a pair of relief appearance for Nick Riopel.

Where do we go from here?After today, the teams play just five more times the rest of the season. The squads have another home-and-home on Jan. 12-13 and the first game of it is in Reading. The Royals are at Adirondack on Jan. 30, Feb. 24 and March 31.

Meet Jerry “The King” Lawler on Wrestling Night Jan. 5Meet wrestling legend Jerry “The King” Lawler at Santander Arena and watch the Royals battle the Brampton Beast on Fri., Jan. 5 at 7:00 p.m.

Mental Health Awareness Night and Kelly Cup Puck Giveaway Jan. 6Sat., Jan 6 vs. WOR at 7 p.m.: Kelly Cup Tribute Championship puck to the first 2,000 fans courtesy of Berks-Schuylkill Oil Heat Association. Mental Health Night is presented by the Berks County Office Of Mental Health And Developmental Disabilities.

Dollar Dogs and Postgame skate Jan. 7Sun., Jan 7 vs. WOR at 4 p.m.: Dollar dog day presented by Safe Berks, Berks Packing and Coca-Cola, and a postgame skate presented by Body Zone.

Tickets to three of our biggest games for $30Get 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.

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.