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Game 27 Preview: Reading at Manchester

Thursday, December 20th
Game 27 Preview: Reading at Manchester

Royals enter on six-game winning streak

Manchester, NH – The Reading Royals (13-7-2-4, 32 pts., 2nd North), proud ECHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers and Lehigh Valley Phantoms, enter the weekend on a season-long six-game winning streak and take on the Manchester Monarchs (13-10-1-1, 28 pts., 5th North) Friday at 7:00 p.m.The Royals are outscoring opponents, 29-16, over the last six contests. It is the longest Royals winning streak since Jan. 27-Feb. 4, 2017, when Reading also ran off six consecutive victories. The last time the Royals won more than six in a row was Nov. 25 – Dec. 10, 2016 (8 straight wins). Reading’s record for longest winning streak is 12 games, accomplished in the 2014-15 season.   Reading is playing its first road game in two weeks; the last Royals away contests were held in Newfoundland Dec. 7-8 and Reading won back-to-back games against the division-leading Newfoundland Growlers. The Royals boast the league’s top away record at 8-1-0-3. Every other squad in the league has at least three regulation road losses. Reading has taken the last three games away from Santander Arena.Last Sunday, Reading scored three goals in the third period to trample Allen, 5-2.Manchester has won back-to-back games and five of the last six. Last time out on Saturday at Adirondack, Danil Miromanov scored in overtime to lift the Monarchs to a 2-1 win.Reading and Manchester play nine times this season and the Royals are 1-0-0-1 in the season series.Reading received roster reinforcements Thursday; forward Kevin Goumas signed with Reading from overseas and G Callum Booth was reassigned to Reading from Charlotte (AHL) by Carolina.The Royals play Saturday at 7:05 p.m. at Worcester, and then are off until Dec. 28-29 when the squad returns home to host the Newfoundland Growlers on back-to-back nights.Listen to today’s game on the Mixlr App and Mixlr.com/ReadingRoyals, with pregame coverage starting 15 minutes before puck drop. 

Dominating the 6The Royals are 6-0-0-0 in December and Chris McCarthy has a team-high 12 points (5g) this month. He has put together multi-point games in five of the six games this month. Last weekend vs. Allen, McCarthy generated three consecutive multi-point efforts (4g, 3a) and registered his first multi-goal game of the season Sunday.Adam Schmidt (5g), Josh MacDonald (3g), Steven Swavely (1g) and Jack Riley (7a) are second to McCarthy with seven points this month.Schmidt has tied a career-long seven-game point streak.Helping Houk With a four-assist effort Sunday vs. Allen, Royals defenseman Joe Houk tied the Royals’ single-game mark for most helpers by a defenseman. He came one short of Reading’s record for most assists in a game, accomplished twice in team history (Jeff Guiliano, 10/11/02 | T.J. Kemp, 11/11/05). Houk started his performance with an assist in each of the first and second periods. In the final frame, Houk assisted on two of Reading’s three goals as the Royals completed their seventh come-from-behind victory of the season.Former Royals blue liner Steve Shirreffs is Reading’s only defenseman to record five points in a game (1g, 4a, Jan. 16, 2002).The Royals record for most points in a game is six (3x), most recently accomplished by Kevin Goumas at Manchester in Mar. 2016.   D’Agostini hype continues ESPN.com’s Greg Wyshynski named Royals goaltender Andrew D’Agostini the “best hockey player in the world of the week” Tuesday.  D’Agostini went 3-0-0-0 for the Royals and made 85 saves on 92 shots (2.34 GAA, .924 save percentage) after signing with Reading on Friday from Macon (SPHL). He arrived to Reading Friday after flying from Atlanta to Philadelphia that morning. He proceeded to make 27 saves on 30 shots in his Royals debut Friday vs. Allen, then allow two goals in each of the final two games to complete a weekend sweep against the Americans. It marked the first time in his ECHL career he started three consecutive days and won all the games. Previously, D’Agostini had started three consecutive days once in his ECHL career during the 2017-18 season with Brampton.D’Agostini has played 51 career ECHL games, going 24-18-2-3 with a 3.30 goals against average and .893 save percentage.Head-to-head Manchester The Royals have earned at least a point in each of the first two season-series matchups, with Reading winning the last game, 4-2, Nov. 3 at Manchester. The Royals took a 3-0 lead in the Nov. 3 game, with Jack Riley (1g, 1a) and Steven Swavely (2a) topping the point totals. Branden Komm (now in Lehigh Valley) has started each of the first two games against Manchester and is 1-0-0-1 (7 GA).Swavely tops Reading with four points in the series (1g, 3a) and has back-to-back multi-point games against the Monarchs. Wednesday, Swavely signed a professional tryout contract with Lehigh Valley.Matt Marcinew (4a) and Nick Moutrey (2a) are the only Monarchs with multiple points in the series. Reading has five players that have notched at least two points.Scouting Manchester Rookie Nic Pierog tops the Monarchs with 13 goals, which is tied for third in the league among rookie scorers. He has scored a team-high five goals this month, including his third multi-goal performance of the season Dec. 14 at Worcester. The former Clarkson captain is second on the team with 19 points.Matt Marcinew is the Monarchs points leader with 22 (8g). He earned his first AHL recall of the season Dec. 16 to Springfield.The Monarchs have had numerous roster transactions since the last season series meeting, adding F Pavel Jenys, F Mario Puskarich, F Jack Nevins, D Tim Shoup, D Travis Walsh, D Daniil Miromanov and G Chris Driedger.Driedger started the Monarchs’ last game at Adirondack, making a season-high 37 saves (1 GA) in a 2-1 overtime victory. The fifth-year professional is 6-3-0-0 (9 GP) and ranks fourth in the league with a 2.23 goals against average and fifth with a .926 save percentage.Manchester’s power play has had the fewest opportunities in the league (74) and has scored the fewest man-up goals (5), ranking last in the league at a 6.8% conversion rate.Next home gamesAre your kids driving you crazy? Well bring them to the Royals and have them yell and scream as loud as they want! Four purple zone tickets for just $60! Plus, an opportunity to high five the Royals players in our High Five Tunnel before the game!Saturday, Dec. 29 is A-Philly-Ation Night, with the Royals honoring their proud affiliation with the Philadelphia Flyers.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.