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Game 49 Preview: Reading at Worcester

Wednesday, February 7th
Game 49 Preview: Reading at Worcester

Boosted Royals roster looks to move 14 points ahead of Railers

Worcester, MA – The Reading Royals (27-19-2-0, 56 pts., T-2nd North) are a season-high eight games above .500 and at the Worcester Railers (19-19-4-2, 44 pts., 5th North) to complete a six-game road trip Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. With a victory Wednesday, Reading can move two points back of Manchester for first place in the North Division.

The Royals are 4-1-0-0 through the first five of the trip, outscoring opponents, 17-8. Last weekend, Reading allowed one goal in two games to Norfolk. Mark Dekanich started in both wins (.50 GAA, 1 SO) and was named CCM ECHL Goaltender of the Week.

The Royals received a roster injection from Lehigh Valley Tuesday; G John Muse, F Steven Swavely and F Alex Krushelynski were returned on loan. Muse is the reigning Warrior Hockey ECHL Goaltender of the Month, Swavely has 13 points (5g) in 21 games and Krushelnyski (11g, 13a) tops the Royals with a plus-14 rating in 23 games. Forward Chris McCarthy also returned from Lehigh Valley last week and has five points (2g) in two games since coming back to the ECHL.

Fifth-place Worcester has climbed out of the North Division cellar with wins in four of five games. The top-four teams in each division qualify for the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs. Worcester is 12 points out of the final playoff spot.

Check out the Royals at Santander Arena Feb. 16-18 for three straight days of fun. The weekend includes Pink in the Rink, Paw Patrol, Jerry “The King” Lawler Wrestling Night, Faith and Family Night and the Battle of the Badges. Tickets are available at royalshockey.com/tickets or by calling 610-898-7825.

Royals Pregame coverage starts at 6:45 p.m. on RumbaReading.com, Rumba 1340 (iHeartRadio) and BCTV. Listen for a chance to win a gift card to Jimmy G’s Railroad House with the Trivia Question of the Night during 1st intermission.

Muse is back and @DexShow is rollingMark Dekanich (Twitter handle @dexshow) was named Goaltender of the Week Tuesday, his second such honor with the Royals. Reading has won the goaltender honor the last two weeks and three times in the last five. In two games at Norfolk, the North Vancouver, BC native combined to make 49/50 saves and shut out the Admirals with 22 denials Saturday.

John Muse made 38 saves over his former team Charlotte Friday for Lehigh Valley and returned to the Royals on loan Tuesday. With Reading, he is 17-5-1-0 with a 2.25 goals against average and .932 save percentage. Boasting a 12-2-0-0 in his last 14 ECHL appearances, Muse is 4-1-0-0 vs. Worcester this season. Including his AHL games, the 29-year-old is 15-3-0-0 since Dec. 1.

Krushelnyski and Swavely add to depthWith Alex Krushelnyski and Steven Swavely back, the Royals have two players back that have scored about a point per game with Reading. Krushelnyski has 23 points in 21 Reading games. Over two seasons in Reading, Swavely has generated 52 points in 61 contests.

Krushelnyski scored the game-winning goal in his last game with the Royals vs. Worcester (Jan. 10). He has 41 career multi-point games and 157 points in 160 ECHL games. Swavely registered a plus-eight rating with the Royals and last played with Reading Dec. 9. He managed two goals and four points with Lehigh Valley in 19 games.

Pennsylvania boysWith Chris McCarthy and Steven Swavely returning in the last week, Reading has five players from Pennsylvania on the roster.

Swavely – Reading, PAMcCarthy – Collegeville, PANick Luukko – West Chester, PADillan Fox – Hummelstown, PAAdam Schmidt – Warrington, PA

Nine days offThe Royals have a nine-day break between Wednesday and Feb. 16. It’s tied for the longest mid-season break Reading has ever had. The Royals have had two other nine-day breaks: Dec. 18-27, 2005 and Dec. 19-28, 2004. Those times off were built around the ECHL’s December holiday break and were lengthy because of travel. On Dec. 18, 2005, Reading dropped 3-2 vs. Fresno and was off until Dec. 27 for a trip to Stockton, CA and the beginning of a road trip. Similarly, in 2004, Reading lost in a shootout at Toledo on Dec. 19, enjoyed the holidays and returned Dec. 28 at Mississippi for a 5-2 win.

The last time the Royals have had a break longer than a week that didn’t involve the holiday break was Feb 3-11, 2007. Reading played consecutive road games at Johnstown and lost both.

Scouting WorcesterThe Railers fell a game below .500 (14-15-3-2) after a 4-2 loss to Reading in the last game of the season series Jan. 10. Worcester endured losses in six of seven games Jan. 7-21. Since that time, the Railers have pushed back to .500 with a five-game point streak (4-0-1-0). The recent success has been spurred by a surging offense that’s scored five goals in three of five games. Worcester is outscoring opponents, 20-11, in the last five. Points leader Barry Almeida (35 pts.) leads the Railers with eight points over that stretch.

Since returning from injury Jan. 19, Matthew Gaudreau has five goals (8 pts.) in eight games.

St. Lawrence graduate Woody Hudson maintains Worcester’s goals edge with 15. The Railerss are in the midst of a season-long 11-game home stand and are 4-3-1-0 through the opening eight.

Eamon McAdam is 11-9-4-2 (26 GP) with a 2.76 goals against average and .912 save percentage.

Hockey N’ Heels and Princess Night on Fri., Feb 16 vs CIN at 7:00 p.m.First 1,500 women will receive a pink knit hat, thanks to Sweet Street Desserts.

Pink in the Rink, Pink Ice, special jerseys on Sat., Feb 17 vs BRM at 7:00 p.m.Pink knit scarf giveaway to the first 1,500 women, courtesy of Sweet Street Desserts. The Royals will wear special jerseys and play on pink ice.

Paw Patrol, Battle of the Badges, Faith and Family and Jerry “The King” Lawler on Sun., Feb 18 vs. WHL at 4:00 p.m.It’s Paw Patrol night! The Royals will wear special Paw Patrol jerseys from the popular Nickelodeon show.

Before the Royals drop the puck with the Nailers, the Reading Police and Fire Departments match up against the Allentown Police and Fire at 12:30 p.m. in the Battle for the FirstStates Cup XIII at 12:30 p.m. Tickets are available here to help raise money for the children of policemen and firefighters.Meet WWE Hall-of-Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler on Pro Wrestling Night (Tower Health). Plus, it’s Faith and Family Night and dollar dog day, presented by Safe Berks, Berks Packing and Coca-Cola. First 1,000 kids (14 & under) will receive a Slapshot T-shirt thanks to Bethany Children’s Home. Also check out a postgame skate presented by Body Zone.

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.