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Game 37 Preview: Manchester at Reading

Tuesday, January 15th
Game 37 Preview: Manchester at Reading

Second half of season starts at home against familiar foe

Reading, PA –  The Reading Royals (17-11-3-5, 42 pts., 3rd North), proud ECHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers and Lehigh Valley Phantoms, open up the regular season’s second half with a home showdown against the division rival Manchester Monarchs (18-17-1-1, 38 pts., T-5th North) Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. The Royals play three games at home this week and tonight’s promotion is a postgame player autograph session, pres. by Rieck’s Printing. The Royals have finished above .500 in the second half in 14 of 17 seasons.Manchester and Reading have squared off three times over the last three weeks, with Reading going 1-1-1-0 in those games. This is the first game of the season series at Santander Arena. In the previous five contested in Manchester, Reading is 2-1-1-1.Saturday at Worcester, Frank DiChiara scored for the third straight game but the Royals dropped, 4-1. The Monarchs last played against the Railers Sunday and received tallies from Drake Rymsha and Nic Pierog in a 4-2 loss.Next home games On Fri., Jan. 18 at 7:00 p.m., the Royals battle Brampton on Pucks ‘N Paws Night with the annual wiener dog races.Sat., Jan. 19 against Wheeling (7:00 p.m.) is a Family Four Pack game, Mascot Mania and Reading’s Pediatric Cancer Awareness game with a mini-THON dance party. Get four burgers, four sodas and four sodas for $48. The first 2,500 fans will receive a PA Lottery Voucher, pres., by the PA Lottery. Plus, enter for a chance to win a 2017 Toyota Camry, courtesy of AutoRide of Reading. After the game, join Royals players at the DoubleTree across the street for a party at Cheers! Restaurant.Listen to today’s game on the Mixlr App and Mixlr.com/ReadingRoyals, with pregame coverage starting 15 minutes before puck drop.Defense risingIn the first 30 games of the regular season, Reading and its opponents combined for 6.4 goals a game, with an average final score of 4-3. Over the last six games, the Royals and their foes have averaged a combined 3.8 tallies. Part of the reason for the lower scoring has been due to strong goaltending from Royals netminders; Reading has surrendered an average of 2.2 goals a contest over the six. Callum Booth had a shutout streak of 125 minutes from Dec. 31 – Jan. 9. He has allowed seven regulation goals over his last five starts. Andrew D’Agostini turned aside 33 shots (2 GA) on Jan. 5 at Manchester. Second time at homeFor the second time in the Kirk MacDonald era, the Royals have points in seven straight home games (6-0-0-1 since Dec. 14). The only other time it happened was the first seven games of 2017-18, when Reading began the regular season with seven straight wins at Santander Arena for the first time in team history.Reading’s longest stretch without a regulation loss at Santander Arena is 14 games, which last happened Jan. 17 – Feb. 14, 2015. Reading went 13-0-1 at its home barn.Reading began this season 2-6-2-1 at Santander Arena. Since that point, the club is outscoring foes, 27-13, with all six victories coming by multiple goals.Memorable last regular season gameThe last time the Monarchs visited Reading for a regular season game was Mar. 30, 2018 and the Royals came from three goals down to defeat the Monarchs, 5-4, in a shootout and clinch a postseason berth. Ryan Penny knotted the game, 4-4, in the final three minutes with Reading’s net empty.John Muse blocked 33 shots and all three Monarchs in the shootout. Michael Huntebrinker scored his third game-winning shootout goal of the season.

You in our division, bro?The Royals play Brampton in the first of five season-series games Fri., Jan. 18 at Santander Arena. Reading has taken on every other divisional opponent at least four times. Brampton’s Canadian counterpart, the Newfoundland Growlers, have made five visits to Reading already and the Royals are 3-2-1-1 in seven series games.

Scouting the Monarchs

The Royals fell to the Monarchs, 3-1, in their last meeting Jan. 11. Craig Wyszomirski notched two assists and Travis Walsh put up his first power-play goal of the season.

Rookie Nic Pierog leads the team in goals at 17, with Spencer Watson following (12g)

The Monarchs are 1-1 in the shootout and 4-1 in overtime, putting them in the league’s top-five for overtime wins.

Charles Williams allowed the lone Royals goal in the last matchup, making 39 saves. He has a 9-6-0-1 record, 2.56 goals against average and .921 save percentage.

Head to Head

Reading is 2-1-1-1 against the Monarchs this season, with Chris McCarthy (1g, 7 pts.), Alex Roos (3g, 5 pts.), and Josh MacDonald (2g, 4 pts.) leading the squad in season-series points. In a Jan. 11 defeat, Frank DiChiara scored the lone goal in a 3-1 loss, giving him two goals against the Monarchs this season.

Callum Booth is 1-1-0-0 against Manchester this season with a 3.60 goals against average and  .899 save percentage. In the last matchup, Booth made 35 saves and allowed three goals. Andrew D’Agostini is 0-0-1-0 against the Monarchs this season, making 33 saves (2 GA) Jan. 5.

Charles Williams is 3-0-0-0 against the Royals this season with a 1.61 goals against average and .956 save percentage.

Cory Ward (2g) and Daniil Miromanov (1g) each have four points against Reading. 

Special Teams The Royals come into Wednesday’s game in the middle of the pack on the power play at 18.1%.  Frank DiChiara leads the team in power-play goals with five, followed by Josh MacDonald with three. The Monarchs rank 25th in the league on the power play, at 12.8%, and have had the fewest power-play chances this season (117). The Royals are third-to-last on the penalty kill at 78.6%. Nick Luukko and Adam Schmidt each have one short-handed goal. Manchester is 20th in the league on the penalty kill at 81.9% and has been short-handed the fewest times (116).

Pavel Jenys leads Manchester with three power-play goals. He is followed by three players with two each for the Monarchs. Craig Wyszomirski and David Kolomatis each have one short-handed goal this season.

Reading has had nine power play chances against Manchester this season, scoring once (11.1%). The Monarchs have scored on three of their 13 man-up chances (23.1%).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.