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Game 20 Preview: Kalamazoo at Reading

Thursday, November 29th
Game 20 Preview: Kalamazoo at Reading

Royals host Kalamazoo for only time this season  

Reading, PA – The Reading Royals (7-6-2-4, 20 pts., 4th North), proud ECHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers and Lehigh Valley Phantoms, are home Friday to the Kalamazoo Wings (5-10-0-1, 11 pts., 6th Central) Friday at 7:00 p.m. at Santander Arena and will hand out PA Lottery vouchers to all fans 18 and older in attendance.This is the only series meeting between Reading and Kalamazoo this season. Friday marks the first time since the 2015-16 campaign Reading plays their cross-conference opponent.Last time out, Reading allowed the first three goals and fell, 4-1, despite Steven Swavely’s team-leading tenth of the season.Kalamazoo snapped a six-game losing streak with a 6-4 win vs. Wheeling Tuesday. After tonight’s game the Wings travel west to play at the Nailers in West Virginia Saturday.Reading is at Adirondack Saturday at 7:00 p.m. in Glens Falls, NY. The Royals and Thunder have played four times this season.The next Royals home game is Fri., Dec. 14 vs. the Allen Americans at 7:00 p.m. The Royals have never played the Americans. Reading will announce special promotions for the three-game home series next week.Listen to today’s game at Mixlr.com/ReadingRoyals, with coverage starting 15 minutes before puck drop.There’s a history hereDespite last facing each other 980 days ago, the Wings and Royals have met 27 times in the regular season and in two postseason series. Reading is 13-12-2 vs. Kalamazoo in the regular season.In the last meeting Mar. 25, 2016, Kalamazoo edged Reading, 3-2, despite two third-period goals from Reading’s Brandon Alderson and Yannick Tifu. Active Royals and Wings to play in that game include Reading’s Nick Luukko and Charlie Vasaturo (a member of the Wings at the time). Kalamazoo still has Ben Wilson, Eric Kattelus and Justin Taylor left over from the Mar. 2016 contest.Reading’s last victory over the Wings came Mar. 15, 2015.Playoff history vs. the WingsEach team has beaten the other once in a playoff series. The Wings joined the ECHL for the 2009-10 season and Reading eliminated the Wings in the 2010 American Conference Quarterfinals, 3-2. Three of the five first-round games went to overtime and Andrew Sarauer lifted the Royals to a win with an overtime goal in the decisive game. Coincidentally, Royals netminder Matt Dalton defeated future Royals Kelly Cup Champion Riley Gill in the series.Reading advanced to the 2010 American Conference Finals and fell to Cincinnati in seven games.The next season, Reading eliminated Cincinnati in the first round of the 2011 Kelly Cup Playoffs and met the Wings in the conference semifinals. The Wings swept the Royals, 4-0, and the final three games of the series were one-goal contests.Road streak overReading’s 4-1 loss Wednesday at Kalamazoo snapped an eight-game road point streak. Reading is 5-1-0-3 away from Santander Arena. The road success came two games short of the team’s longest away point streak ever (10 games, Nov-Dec. 2004).The Royals will look to snap a five-game home losing streak Friday.Scouting the WingsNetminder Ivan Kulbakov denied a season-high 47 shots (4 GA) to break Kalmazoo’s six-game losing streak (0-6-0-0) Tuesday vs. Wheeling. Before the losing skid, the Wings were 4-4-0-1. The team was outscored, 27-13, over the six contests.The second-year netminder Kulbakov is 1-1-0-0 this season with a 4.07 goals against average and .893 save percentage. Last season, Kulbakov played for Quad City and made a career-high 57 saves (2 GA) vs. Idaho in his fourth professional game.Alternate captain Justin Taylor tops the team with 12 goals and 15 points. He is second in Kalamazoo history with 474 games played. Taylor scored Tuesday vs. Wheeling.The Wings’ average age is 26, the oldest in the ECHL. Among some notable veterans, Kalamazoo has 11th year professional, alternate captain and 2018 ECHL All-Star D Kyle Bushee (33 years old). Additionally, 32-year-old Tommy Mele and 31-year-old Eric Kattelus have seen action for the squad this season. Kattelus is in his ninth professional season and eight have been with Kalamazoo.Eighth-year defenseman Ben Wilson is the team captain. 

Santa Sacks and Stocking Stuffers: Get ticket vouchers, autographed mini-sticks, pucks and player picturesPA Lottery Voucher Giveaway vs. Kalamazoo: Fri., Nov. 30 at 7:00 p.m.

About the RoyalsThe Royals have been owned by serial entrepreneur Jack Gulati since 2014 and are entering their 18th 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 nine straight seasons and are four-time division champions.Listen to all Royals broadcasts at Mixlr.com/ReadingRoyals or by downloading the Mixlr App from the App Store or Google Play.