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Weekly Release, Vol. 17, No. 24:

Tuesday, April 3rd
Weekly Release, Vol. 17, No. 24:

3 games left | Royals claim D Johnson, D Larkin off waivers from Adirondack

Quote of the WeekWarrington, PA native Adam Schmidt on why he chose to return from Sweden and play in Reading.“The appeal for me coming home was to play in front of my family and friends again. Big bonus for me to live in my area and know where I am. It’s been a lot of fun for me.”

Reading, PA – The Reading Royals clinched a berth in the Kelly Cup Playoffs last Friday vs. Manchester and have three games this week to finish the regular season. With wins in three of the last four games, Reading is three points behind the Thunder for second in the North. The Royals have made the Kelly Cup Playoffs in nine straight seasons, the fourth-longest active streak in the league (Idaho, South Carolina, Utah).

Leading up to the playoffs, the Royals have announced a pair of roster transactions, claiming D Stephen Johnson and D Adam Larkin off waivers from Adirondack. Learn more about the players below.

The Royals play Worcester Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. With a victory, Reading guarantees a top-three seed in the North Division Semifinals. The Kelly Cup Playoffs begin Apr. 11.

Join the Royals Wednesday and Saturday at Santander Arena. Saturday vs. Norfolk at 7:00 p.m. is FANdemonium and features giveaways at every whistle! Here’s what you need to know:

Postgame autograph session, Wed., Apr. 4 vs. WOR at 7:00 p.m.Check out a postgame autograph session with four players, presented by Rieck’s Printing. It’s the final game of the season series between Reading and Worcester and the Royals lead the series, 7-5-1-0.

Tickets are available here.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 DatesWhen the Royals’ dates in the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs are set, be the first to know by signing up here!

Larkin and Johnson added to Royals roster The Royals have claimed D Stephen Johnson and D Adam Larkin off waivers from Adirondack, the team announced Tuesday. Both are in their rookie seasons.

Johnson skated in 26 games with the Thunder this season, accumulating a goal and three points. The 23-year-old native of Mississauga, ON graduated from SUNY-Oswego in 2017 and posted a career senior year (7g, 23a) to lead Lakers defensemen in scoring. He was named SUNYAC Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-Conference. Over four seasons in Oswego, Johnson registered 18 goals and 47 points over 108 games. He is 25 years old, stands 6-foot-1, and weighs 205 pounds. Johnson scored his first professional goal on Jan. 14 at Brampton.

Larkin, 23, finished his senior season at Yale in March and triggered in a goal and seven points over 31 games. He made his professional debut with the Thunder on Mar. 9 vs. Manchester and earned his first professional goal and multi-point game Mar. 16 vs. Fort Wayne. In 2016-17, the Clarkston, MI native posted his best NCAA offensive numbers (3g, 11a) to lead the Yale blue line in scoring. Prior to his collegiate career, Larkin skated for the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks in 2013-14 (3g, 12a). He is the older brother of Miami University goaltender Ryan Larkin. Adam’s cousin, Dylan, is a forward for the Detroit Red Wings.

Big 3 Storylines 3) Why are the Royals in the playoffs? Though in a North Division playoff spot since Nov. 15, a strong run through the all-star break helped solidify Reading’s to the third seed. On Jan. 14, the Royals travelled to Manchester looking to snap a two-game losing streak and smeared the Monarchs, 6-2, with a short lineup. Reading’s win kept the team 4th in the North with 44 points. Including that win, the team is 17-7-6-0 since Jan. 14.

That game also marked the start of Matt Willows’ 15-game point streak and eight-game goal-scoring streak. The eight consecutive games with a goal tied a team record. Willows leads the Royals with 30 goals and 69 points. He has found chemistry with linemates Chris McCarthy and Matt Wilkins; all three have recorded career highs in goals and points this campaign.

2) SeedingThe Royals can still gain ground and earn home ice in the Kelly Cup Playoffs’ North Division Semifinals with three games to go. To finish in first place, the Royals must win all three of their remaining games here’s what must happen:

Royals finish 3-0-0-0 PLUS Adirondack wins Friday against Manchester PLUS Adirondack loses Sunday in regulation to Brampton PLUS Manchester gains no more than one point in the final three.

To attain the second seed, Reading must earn at least four points and receive help.

If the Royals win one of their final three games, there is no path for Worcester to catch Reading for the third seed because of the second tiebreaker, goal differential.

1) Worcester and NorfolkThe Royals play Worcester Wednesday and Norfolk Friday and Saturday to complete the regular season. Worcester took control of the 4th seed in the North Division for the first time in the season’s second half with a win over the Adirondack Thunder Sunday. The Railers have 78 points, four behind Reading for third. Mitch Gillam won CCM ECHL Goaltender of the Week for the week ending Apr. 1, shutting opponents down with a 4-0-0-0 record (1.00 GAA, 1 SO).

Norfolk is eliminated from playoff contention with 59 points, tied for fifth in the South with Jacksonville. The team’s top-two scorers, Grant Besse (62 pts.) and Brodie Dupont (68 pts.), are currently in the AHL.

Team Leaders (Active players)Goals: Matt Willows (30), Chris McCarthy (21), Michael Huntebrinker (19)Assists: Matt Willows (39), Chris McCarthy (33), Nolan Zajac (27)Points: Matt Willows (69), Chris McCarthy (54), Matt Wilkins/Nolan Zajac (43)PIMs: Ryan Penny (51), Nick Luukko (50), Matt Wilkins (47)+/-: Matt Wilkins (14), Brian Morgan (13), Matias Cleland (12)

Practice scheduleTuesday – 11:00 a.m, Santander ArenaWednesday – Morning Skate 10:00 a.m., Game at 7:00 p.m. vs. WorcesterThursday – TRAVEL to NorfolkFriday –Game at 7:00 p.m. at NorfolkSaturday – Game 7:00 p.m. vs. NorfolkSunday – OFF Day

Royals Radio Recon: Next Show Tues., Apr. 3Live from Jimmy G’s Railroad House from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.Meet Royals forwards Scott Tanski and Michael Huntebrinker at Jimmy G’s Railroad House, 152 Woodrow Ave., Sinking Spring, PA. Listen on rumbareading.com and Rumba 1340 (iHeartRadio app).

The Royals will also host a special show next Mon., Apr. 9 to chat about the postseason!

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 at 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.