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Game 64 Preview: Reading at Manchester

Wednesday, March 21st
Game 64 Preview: Reading at Manchester

Royals move within three points of first with win  

Reading, PA – The Reading Royals (34-21-8-0, 76 pts., 3rd North) start a stretch of three games in four days at the Manchester Monarchs (38-20-3-2, 81 pts., T-1st North) Wednesday at 7:00. The matchup is the seventh of nine in the season series and the series is tied, 3-3. After Wednesday’s game, the Royals head back to Pennsylvania for a four-game home stand that starts Fri., Mar. 23 at 7:00 p.m. vs. Worcester on Special Olympics Night.

Reading is coming off a 5-1 win Saturday vs. Brampton to extend to a season-long six-game point streak (3-0-3-0). The Royals retired Yannick Tifu to the Diamond Credit Union Wall of Honor with a special pregame ceremony. Tifu is the 10th Royals player inducted and the 14th honoree to the Wall of Honor. The former Reading Captain is the second player to have his number retired (Larry Courville, #22).

The Monarchs have wins in five straight after suffering a season-long five-game losing streak. Spencer Watson scored his 20th of the season in overtime Saturday and the Monarchs defeated Utah, 3-2.

There are nine games remaining in the regular season for both teams.

Goaltender Anthony Stolarz is 1-0-1-0 with the Royals and has allowed six goals in two games. He earned his first win of the season last time out with 31 saves.

Wednesday’s broadcast begins at 6:45 p.m. on RumbaReading.com, BCTV and “Rumba 1340” via the iHeartRadio App. Watch on Channel 15 Comcast and Channel 19 Service Electric. During first intermission, fans have a chance to win a gift card to Jimmy G’s Railroad House in Sinking Spring with the “BCTV Jimmy G’s Trivia Question of the Night.”

Special Olympics Night Fri., Mar. 23 vs. WOR at 7:00 p.m.

  • Royals trading card set giveaway to the first 2,500 fans (Rieck’s Printing).
  • Tickets are available here
  • Come to the ice after the game for a BEACH PARTY!!! We call it the postgame shake, shiver and freeze with the Royals to raise money for the Special Olympics.

Autism Awareness Night Sat., Mar. 24 vs. WOR at 7:00 p.m.

  • A one-time-only giveaway: a puck with Head Coach Kirk MacDonald and Assistant Coach Pat Wellar to commemorate the 5th anniversary of Reading winning the Kelly Cup.
  • To support the Autism Society of Berks County and Unending Promise, we’re wearing special Autism Awareness jerseys that will be auctioned off at https://one.bidpal.net/goroyals.
  • Tickets are available here.

Season series tied, 3-3The Royals have wins in two straight at SNHU Arena to even the series, 3-3. In the closest game of the series last time out Feb. 25, Branden Komm made eight saves in overtime and Matt Willows scored the shootout-winning goal in the 5th round to defeat the Monarchs, 2-1. Komm played in 13 games for the Monarchs earlier this season (8-4-0-0 record). With the Royals, he is 6-1-1-0 with a 2.06 goals against average and .906 save percentage. Anthony Stolarz has never faced Manchester.

Nick Luukko has 20 points this season and five have been against the Monarchs (1g, 4a). Michael Huntebrinker tops Reading with four goals (5 pts.).

Jordan Lavallee-Smotherman leads all players in the series with six goals and eight points. He has points in all six games and a pair of multi-goal efforts.

Charles Williams has played in four games against the Royals and is 2-0-0-1 with a shutout (4 GA). He made 28 saves in the last series matchup (SOL) and allowed a pair of goals in the shootout.

The final two games of the season series are at Reading and the Royals are 0-2-0-0 vs. Manchester at Santander Arena.

Scouting ManchesterThe Monarchs are the second-highest scoring team in the ECHL (3.7 GF/GM) and have won four straight one-goal games. The squad is 14-6-3-2 in games decided by one. Reading is 14-7-8-0 in one-goal games.

The clubs differ in where they score the majority of their goals. The Royals are better in the first period (+20 goal differential than the Monarchs (63 GF, 63 GA), but Manchester has a plus-34 goal differential combined between the second and third frames.

Jordan Lavallee-Smotherman ranks third in the league with 67 points and second with 31 goals. Lavalee-Smotherman is a former linemate of Reading’s Head Coach Kirk MacDonald with the Providence Bruins. Zac Lynch is second on the team with 22 goals but is on loan to the Utica Comets. Matt Schmalz has five goals this month, best on the team.

Charles Williams is sixth in the league in wins (21-9-3-1) and has registered a 2.64 goals against average and .914 save percentage.

Manchester has scored at least five goals in 25 games this season.

Schmidt powersWarrington, PA native Adam Schmidt has goals in three straight games for the first time in his North American professional career, boosting to 16 goals and 35 points in 49 games. The 27-year-old has five goals this month, trailing Matt Wilkins (7) and Matt Willows (6). On Saturday, Schmidt powered in a pair to help the Royals finish the season series with Brampton in victory. It was the second time this season Schmidt has had a multi-goal game.

Schmidt played 2014-17 in Sweden and this is his first full professional season in North America. After he graduated from Holy Cross in 2014, Schmidt skated with the Worcester Sharks (AHL) to finish the season and then embarked to Europe.

Multi-point gamesMatt Willows leads the Royals and has set a new personal high with 23 multi-point games this season. Since Jan. 14, he has 13 multi-point efforts  in 24 contests.

Second-year professional and linemate Matt Wilkins, who had three multi-point games last season, has found chemistry with Willows and boosted to 14 in his career. Chris McCarthy is second on the team with 12 multi-point games this season.

Wilkins, Willows, McCarthy have scored multiple goals three times this season, trailing Michael Huntebrinker (4) for best on Reading. Huntebrinker is the only Royals player to score more than one goal against Manchester this season (2g on Jan. 14).

Magic number talkReading requires 12 points over the final nine games to guarantee a birth in the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Manchester’s magic number is seven points. The top-four teams in each division qualify.

Manchester and Adirondack are tied for first place with 81 points. The squads play three more times this season and the Thunder have six wins through the first ten series games.

It’s become harder for North teams to clinch as fifth-place Worcester has strung together wins in four straight games. Worcester (67 points) is at Wheeling (70 points) Wednesday.

Notable number The Royals bested the Monarchs, 6-2, Jan. 14 at Manchester in the game before the ECHL All-Star Break.

Including that game, the Royals are 14-4-6-0 in their last 24 games. The Jan. 14 game also marked the start of Matt Willows’ point streak, which ended at 15 games (9g, 17a) in the last matchup Feb. 25.

2018-19 season tickets now availableTop full-season benefits include: exclusive Reading Hockey Club per seat gift, discounted rate off regular ticket prices, ticket exchange, preseason meet and greet, exclusive season ticket holder events, advanced entry and a chance to win and the Royals Owner’s Suite for a game. Call 610-898-7825 and visit to join the Royals family or renew season tickets for the 2018-19 season. Visit royalshockey.com/tickets/season-tickets to learn more.

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.