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Game 28 Preview: Reading at Worcester

Saturday, December 22nd
Game 28 Preview: Reading at Worcester

Red-hot Royals make business trip before holiday break

Worcester, MA – The Reading Royals (14-7-2-4, 34 pts., 2nd North), proud ECHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers and Lehigh Valley Phantoms, play their last game before the holiday break against the Worcester Railers (12-13-3-1, 28 pts., T-5th North) Saturday at 7:05 p.m. Reading has won seven straight games, the team’s longest win streak since the 2016-17 season. Friday, in a 5-4 win at Manchester, Chris McCarthy had five points (1g, 4a). The effort was the most a Royals player has had since Kevin Goumas registered six at Manchester in Mar. 2016. Reading signed Goumas Thursday. Alex Roos (2g, 2a) and Josh MacDonald (1g, 2a) also had multi-point efforts. The linemates were on ice for every Royals goal. McCarthy (+5 rating), MacDonald (+5) and Roos (+4) each had career-best plus-minus nights.Following Saturday’s contest, the Royals are off until Dec. 28-29, when Reading faces the division-leading Newfoundland Growlers in back-to-back contests at Santander Arena. The Royals are offering special discount purple zone tickets (4 for $15 each) to both games, including APHILLYATION Night Dec. 29 where the Royals will honor their proud affiliation with the Philadelphia Flyers.Worcester had a two-game point streak snapped Friday at Adirondack, surrendering two goals in the final frame in a 5-3 defeat. The Railers average 2.28 goals per game to rank last in the league.  Listen to today’s game on the Mixlr App and Mixlr.com/ReadingRoyals, with pregame coverage starting 15 minutes before puck drop.Next home gamesAre your kids driving you crazy when they are on school break? Bring them to the Royals with 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 APHILLYATION Night, with the Royals honoring their proud affiliation with the Philadelphia Flyers.McCarthy loves DecemberChris McCarthy has registered a team-high 17 points during Reading’s seven-game winning streak (6g) and had his best career performance with five points (4a) Friday at Manchester. The four assists were the most McCarthy has had in a game. Friday was McCarthy’s second-career game notching at least four points. He is second on the team with 27 points, trailing Steven Swavely (28).Over the win streak, McCarthy has registered multiple points in six of the seven games. He has goals in four straight (5g, 7a).McCarthy has played in 199 ECHL games, generating 63 goals and 172 points.Best DecembersReading’s 7-0-0-0 start to December puts the squad on pace for one of the best months in team history. The only time the Royals have gone undefeated in regulation (excluding October/April) in a month is Dec. 2012, when Reading registered a 10-0-1-0 record. That month, Reading won the first eight games of December with the only defeat coming in overtime, 2-1, to Trenton Dec. 27 in the first game after the holiday break.The 10-0-1-0 December mark was part of a stretch where the eventual Kelly Cup Champions went 25-3-1-0 from Nov. 2 – Jan. 9. That same season, the Royals were 12-2-0-0 in November and 10-2-1-0 in March.Royals by two, Worcester by one The Railers have scored the fewest goals in the ECHL since the start of last season (260), but made the postseason in 2017-18 and are one point out of the fourth and final North Division spot entering play Saturday. Part of the reason for their success is their record in 1-goal games, which sits at 8-1-3-1 (most wins in North Division) this season. Last campaign, the Railers were tied for the fourth-most wins in the league in games decided by one (18-5-4-4). Over the final two months of the regular season, Worcester went 7-0-0-2 in 1-goal contests to sneak past Wheeling and qualify for the 2018 Kelly Cup Playoffs in the final weekend of the regular season. The Royals, by contrast, have are 3-0-2-4 in one-goal wins. Reading has the most victories in games decided by two (8-4-0-0).In the all-time series, Reading is 8-5-3-1 against Worcester. In games decided by two or more, Reading is 7-2-0-0. Worcester has registered seven victories and lost once in one-goal contests (7-0-1-0) vs. the Royals.  Head-to-Head WorcesterWorcester took the last matchup Nov. 14 in a shootout, 3-2, despite a pair of goals from Steven Swavely. That game started Swavely’s career-long 13-game point streak (10g, 10a). Swavely, currently recalled to Lehigh Valley, tops all Reading players with three goals and four points in the series. Frank DiChiara (1g), Nick Luukko (2a), Chris McCarthy (2a) and Adam Schmidt (2a) are next among active Royals with two points in the series. The only Royals goalies to play in the series are Angus Redmond (now on South Carolina) and Branden Komm (Lehigh Valley).Reading prevented Worcester goals leader Barry Almeida from getting on the scoresheet last time out, the first time in four season-series games that the former 2013 Kelly Cup Champion was held scoreless vs. Reading.Almeida tops Worcester in the series with two goals and three points. Josh Holmstrom is tied with Almeida for the series goals lead (2).Evan Buitenhuis made 33 saves (2 GA) in victory Nov. 14 and is 1-0-0-0 in two games vs. Reading. He replaced Mitch Gillam (1-1-0-0 in series, 2 GP, 7 GA) in the Oct. 14 matchup. Scouting Worcester Since falling to a conference-worst 3-8-1-0 mark, the Railers are 9-5-2-1 over their last 17 games. Coincidentally, the upward trend started with a shootout victory Nov. 14 vs. Reading, the last time the teams faced each other.Since Nov. 14, Worcester has scored 42 goals and allowed 43. The Railers are allowing 2.5 goals a game over the last 17.Barry Almeida tops the squad with nine goals and is six points behind Tyler Barnes for the team lead (20 pts.).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.