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Game 37 Preview: Worcester at Reading

Wednesday, January 10th
Game 37 Preview: Worcester at Reading

Second half starts with another game against Railers       

Reading, PA – The Reading Royals (19-15-2-0, 40 pts., 3rd North) start the second half of the season with a third straight home game against the Worcester Railers (14-14-3-2, 33 pts., 5th North) Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. The Royals have $5 Green Zone tickets and a postgame autograph and player photo session, courtesy of Rieck’s Printing.

Reading has split the first two games against the Railers in this mini-series. The Royals shut out Worcester, 3-0, Sunday led by a 28-save shutout from John Muse. The 29-year-old netminder was named CCM/ECHL Goaltender of the Week (Jan. 1-7) Tuesday and went 3-0-0-0 (3 GA, 1 SO) last week.

Last season, the Royals had 44 points at the halfway mark, tied for second in the North Division. Reading went 6-1-1-0 to start the final half last campaign.

The Royals remain three points behind Adirondack for second in the North Division. Reading matches up against the Thunder for a home-and-home starting at Santander Arena on Fri., Jan. 12 at 7:00 p.m. The Royals will giveaway gym bags to the first 2,000 fans, courtesy of Tower Health.

The MooseRoyals goaltender John Muse has won six straight starts and was awarded ECHL/CCM Goaltender of the Week Tuesday. Friday against Brampton, he denied 42 shots, one short of a career high. To cap his 3-0-0-0 week, Muse denied 14 shots in the second period in a 28-save Worcester blanking on Sunday.

Since returning from Lehigh Valley on Dec. 28, Muse is 5-0-0-0 with a 1.59 goals against average and .955 save percentage. He’s 9-1-0-0 at home this season and 11-3-1-0 overall.

Against the Railers, Muse is 3-1-0-0 and has allowed five goals on 129 shots (.961 save percentage).

Equally impressive, Muse is tied with South Carolina goalie Parker Milner for a netminder-best three assists. Muse and Milner paired together at Boston College in their NCAA days. Muse won two national championships with the Eagles and was named 2012 Kelly Cup Playoffs MVP with Florida.

Three straightThe Royals and Railers play their third consecutive game Wednesday and this is the third and final time Reading squares off against an opponent in three straight. From Nov. 3-5, Reading played at Worcester and went 1-2-0-0. Next, the Royals teed off on Adirondack by defeating the Thunder in three straight games Nov. 21-25.

Reading is 2-0-0-0 in the final game of three-game series.

Last season, the Royals played an opponent in three consecutive contests on five occasions. Reading was 8-5-2-0 in those situations and 3-1-1-0 in the last game off the series.

Still clicking after the holidaysThe Royals are 5-2-0-0 since returning from this season’s holiday break. Entering this season, Reading has used the time off to increase the level of play in four of five years. Last season, the squad went 13-3-0-1 after returning from Christmas to boost to 28-14-1-2 and second in the North Division. The run included a five-game win streak. Nick Luukko was a team-best plus-17 from Dec. 26 – Feb. 4.

During 2014-15, the Royals accrued 12 consecutive wins in an 18-4-0-0 stretch after the holidays. The 2013-14 team demolished opponents during a 10-3-0-0 post-Christmas jaunt which included a seven-game winning streak. The season before, Reading fired off five wins in six games after the holidays.

Scouting WorcesterThe Railers are in game four of a six-game road trip (2-1-0-0 so far). After Wednesday, Worcester adjourns to Manchester for a pair of games this weekend.

After the road trip ends, Worcester enjoys a season-long 11-game home stand from Jan. 19 – Feb. 10. The Railers will enjoy restful sleep in their own beds for a full month (Jan. 13 – Feb. 13), an unusual perk in the ECHL.  Once the 11-game dream ends, the Railers have a seven-game road trip.

Barry Almeida has 21 points, most on the active roster. Woody Hudson leads the squad with 12 goals. Mitch Gillam is 6-7-0-0 with a 2.62 goals against average and .902 save percentage. Eamon McAdam has played in 20 games, six more than Gillam. The Penn State graduate has an 8-7-3-2 mark with a 2.83 goals against average and .912 save percentage.

Head-to-Head: Series tied, 4-4Chris McCarthy and Ryan Penny each have four goals against the Railers and are Reading’s top-two scoring threats in the series. Both have recorded goals in the last two games against Worcester. Railers forward Woody Hudson tops the team with four goals in the series, but has yet to record an assist against any opponent this season. Former Royals forwards Barry Almeida (2g, 4 pts.) and TJ Syner (1a) have found the score sheet. Frank DiChiara has three game-winning goals this season and two have been against Reading.

Four of the eight games have been decided by a goal and both teams have two wins.

John Muse has a 3-1-0-0 record against the Railers and shut them out with 28 saves Sunday. Mark Dekanich is 1-3-0-0, but holds a 2.30 goals against average and .918 save percentage. Eamon McAdam (2-2-1-0, 2.78 GAA, .917 save percentage) defeated Reading, 3-2, Jan. 6. Mitch Gillam opened the series with consecutive wins against the Royals (52 saves on 53 shots), but has allowed four goals in four periods since (31 shots, 35 saves).

Quick hitter: Penny and McCarthyRoyals forwards Chris McCarthy and Ryan Penny have each scored in three straight games for the third time in their careers. McCarthy has never had a scoring streak longer than three. Penny needs a goal to match his longest scoring streak ever (4), accomplished last season with the Royals.

$5 Green Zone Tickets, Post-game photo and autographs Jan. 10Wed., Jan 10 vs. WOR at 7 p.m.: Postgame photo and autograph session with four players (players TBA) thanks to Rieck’s Printing.

Gym Bag giveaway on Jan. 12 vs. ADK at 7 p.m.– First 2,000 fans receive a gym bag (Tower Health).

THON, Scout and Star Wars Night Jan. 20Sat., Jan. 20 vs BRM at 7 p.m.:THON, Scout, and Star Wars night. First 2,000 fans will receive a Slapshot bobblehead. Star Wars jerseys.

Tickets to three of our biggest games for $30 – Purple and Black PackGet 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.