1. Home
  2. News
  3. Game 71 Preview: Reading at Norfolk

Game 71 Preview: Reading at Norfolk

Friday, April 6th
Game 71 Preview: Reading at Norfolk

Back-to-back with Admirals concludes regular season    

Reading, PA – The Reading Royals (37-24-9-0, 83 pts., 3rd North) have two games left in the regular season and start a back-to-back set with the Norfolk Admirals (26-37-6-1, 59 pts., T-5th South) Friday at 7:00 p.m. at the Norfolk Scope Arena. The Royals are 2-0-0-0 in the season series against the Admirals.

Reading is already bound for the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs and tickets are on sale by calling 610-898-7825. The Royals will know their playoff dates by Sunday, the final day of the regular season. Reading clinches a top-three seed with a victory Friday. The Royals have points in four of the last five games (3-1-1-0) and boast a three-point advantage  over Worcester for third in the North Division.

In the last Reading game, Royals forward Steven Swavely scored his 12th of the season to tie it, but Worcester won in overtime, 2-1.

The Royals still have a path to second place in the North Division, sitting two points behind Adirondack with two games left for both teams. The Thunder host Manchester Friday and are at Brampton Sunday.

The Admirals have been eliminated from postseason contention and snapped a five-game losing streak Mar. 31 vs. Kalamazoo. Since their last meeting with the Royals Feb. 3, the Admirals are 9-14-1-0. Reading is 10-5-6-0 since back-to-back wins against Norfolk in early February. Admirals leading scorer Brodie Dupont (68 pts.) is in the AHL with Stockton. Grant Besse, an ECHL All-Rookie team member, signed a PTO with Cleveland Mar. 23.

Broadcast coverage starts Friday at 6:45 p.m. with Royals Pregame on RumbaReading.com and BCTV. Watch for a chance to win a gift card to Jimmy G’s Railroad House with the Trivia Question of the Night, presented by BCTV and Jimmy G’s Railroad House.

On Sat., Apr. 7, the Royals play the final game of the season at home against Norfolk on FANdemonium. We are giving away Royals prizes at EVERY WHISTLE! Plus, the first 2,500 fans receive a Royals rally towel, courtesy of Tower Health. Tickets are available here.

Season ticket holders: stick around after the game for a chance to win a game-used Royals jersey with “Jerseys off our Back” promotion. You must be present to win.

All-ECHL Second TeamRoyals forward Matt Willows and defenseman Nolan Zajac were named to the 2017-18 All-ECHL Second Team Thursday, becoming the second and third former Royals to make the second team. The only other is D Adam Comrie, who did it twice with Reading.

Willows leads the Royals with 30 goals and 69 points. Zajac’s 16 goals rank second in the league among defensemen. The Royals are still looking for their first-ever All-ECHL First Team selection.

TJ Melancon and Grant Besse made the ECHL All-Rookie Team with Norfolk.

Season series recapThese teams have met twice this season with both games in Norfolk. The first contest was Feb. 2, a 7-1 Royals win. In the first period, Reading scored twice. The Royals scored three more in the second period and were ahead, 5-1, through two. Chris McCarthy picked up two goals in that frame separated by 4:47. Derek Whitmore and Matt Willows recorded their second goals of the game in the third to seal the first victory against Norfolk. At the time, it was Reading’s most-lopsided victory of the campaign, surpassed when the club annihilated Cincinnati, 8-0. Norfolk’s Ty Reichenbach allowed five goals on 30 shots before getting yanked for Jamie Murray (15 saves, 17 shots).

The Royals won, 2-0, the next night and scored both in the third. Mark Dekanich blocked 22 shots for the shutout. Willows and Matt Wilkins tallied. Reichenbach denied 32 of 33 shots before the Wilkins empty-net strike.

In the two games, McCarthy has five points (2g, 3a), while Wilkins, Willows and Michael Huntebrinker each have three. Dekanich won both games and saved 49 of 50 shots. Those two performances earned him CCM ECHL Goaltender of the Week. The Royals are 0-for-8 on the power play against the Admirals and have stifled all eight Ads power-play attempts.

Swavely buzzingSince returning from Lehigh Valley on Mar. 28, Royals forward Steven Swavely has goals in three of four games (3g). This marks the third time this campaign Swavely has scored in back-to-back games. The former Maine Captain has scored two of Reading’s last three goals.

A second-year professional and Muhlenberg High School graduate, Swavely has 30 goals and 66 points in 76 ECHL games. He joined the Royals early in 2016-17 and potted 18 goals and 39 points.

Swavely has one professional multi-goal game, which came Feb. 22 vs. Worcester.

One year through itKirk MacDonald coached his 73rd regular season game Wednesday, giving him more than a full season at the helm since taking over for Larry Courville last season. Through the first 73, MacDonald 40-24-9-0, good for 89 points. He also guided the Royals to a pair of playoff wins last season vs. Brampton. MacDonald became Reading’s Interim Head Coach with three games to go in the 2016-17 regular season and his first appearance was Apr. 5, 2017, a 6-4 victory vs. Norfolk. The Royals finished the season with three straight wins against Norfolk.

The 34-year-old native of Victoria, BC has helped guide the Royals to the playoffs five times with one Kelly Cup. He led the Royals to the championship as Alternate Captain in 2012-13. Since 2014, he has been a part of four straight seasons of playoff runs – as an assistant coach 2014-16, as interim Head Coach in 2016-17 and this season in his first full campaign as Head Coach.

The Royals have made the playoffs in nine straight seasons, the third-longest active streak at the end of the season (Idaho – 15, South Carolina – 11). Utah’s streak of 10 straight playoff seasons will end this weekend.

Norfolk head man Robbie Ftorek coached his first Admirals game against Reading on Dec. 2, 2016. He has coached 13 games against the Royals. Reading is 8-4-1-0 vs. Ftorek.

FANdemonium, prizes at every whistle and last home game of regular season, Sat., Apr. 7 vs. NOR at 7:00 p.m.We are giving away Royals prizes at EVERY WHISTLE! Plus, the first 2,500 fans receive a Royals rally towel, courtesy of Tower Health. Tickets are available here.

Season ticket holders: stick around after the game for a chance to win a game-used Royals jersey with “Jerseys off our Back” promotion. You must be present to win.

2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs Tickets On SaleLock down your Kelly Cup Playoff tickets by calling 610-898-7825. A Royals team member will provide you with curbside service outside the Lion’s Den Team Store at the corner of 8th and Penn Street; just call 610-898-7825 and we will deliver your tickets without leaving your car.

The Royals are offering five playoff vouchers for $85. Use the five vouchers at any home playoff games!

Miniplans available for 2018-19!Call 610-898-7825 to learn more about 9, 12 and 18 game mini-plans for the 2018-19 season!

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.

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.