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Game 53 Preview: Reading at Manchester

Thursday, February 21st
Game 53 Preview: Reading at Manchester

Royals trail Monarchs by five points for 3rd in North

Manchester, NH – The Reading Royals (22-21-4-5, 53 pts., 7th North), proud ECHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers and Lehigh Valley Phantoms, enter the final 20 games of the regular season with a showdown at the Manchester Monarchs (28-24-1-1, 58 pts., T-3rd North) Friday at 7:00 p.m. The Royals are positioned five points behind Manchester for third place in the North.Friday’s matchup is the final game of the nine-game season series and Reading is 3-3-1-1 against Manchester. The teams last played Feb. 3 and the Royals dunked the Monarchs, 6-1, for Reading’s most-lopsided victory of the season. Chris McCarthy tops all players in the series with nine points (8a).Despite falling, 6-4, to Maine on Wednesday, the Royals outshot the Mariners, 17-1, in the third period. Wednesday marked the second time in the Kirk MacDonald era the Royals allowed one shot in a period, matching the team’s stinginess against Worcester Feb. 7, 2018. The Royals have blanked teams on the shot board twice, with the last time coming against Cincinnati on Jan. 31, 2007 when Jeff Pietrasiak was Reading’s netminder.Manchester matched a season-high seven goals Wednesday and crushed Worcester, 7-2. Travis Walsh and Tony Cameranesi each registered two goals and three points. Charles Williams blocked 29 shots in victory.Branden Komm, returned Thursday from Lehigh Valley, is expected to start for the Royals against his former team. The Royals acquired Komm from the Monarchs in Feb. 2018 and the fifth-year professional is 2-0-0-1 against Manchester since the trade last season. Reading also acquired forward Matt Pohlkamp and defenseman Vinny Muto from South Carolina Thursday in exchange for defenseman Steve Johnson.Friday kicks off a stretch of three straight days with games. Reading has gone 4-2-0-0 in its first two “three-in-threes.” This weekend is the first where Reading will play three games in three cities, continuing Saturday at Cool Insuring Arena vs. Adirondack at 7:00 p.m. The challenge continues with the conclusion of a home-and-home vs. Adirondack at 4:00 p.m. this Sun., Feb. 24. The undercard game is “Battle of the Badges for the FirstStates Cup” at 12:30. One ticket earns fans access to both games to benefit the Battle of the Badges Scholarship Fund for Reading’s fire and police departments and Allentown’s fire and police departments.Next Home GamesSun., Feb. 24 at 4:00 p.m.: Faith and Family Night + Battle of the Badges with a Berks Schuylkill Oil Heat Puck Giveaway vs. Adirondack1) Pregame Battle of the Badges for the FirstStates Cup game (Allentown police and fire vs. Reading police and fire departments)2) Royals will give away a Berks Schuylkill Oil Heat Puck.3) Faith & Family NightFri., Mar. 15: Mental Health Awareness Night vs. Indy at 7:00 p.m.Supporting mental health initiatives with the Royals Sat., Mar. 16: St. Hat Trick’s Day vs. Indy at 7:00 p.m.1) Chance to win $10,000 if Royals player gets a hat trick2) Ice Angels Dance Team card giveaway, pres. by Baja Beach Tanning Club3)  Enter for a chance to win a 2017 Toyota Camry, courtesy of AutoRide of ReadingFri., Mar. 22: Community Night at 7:00 p.m. vs. Newfoundland1) Celebrate the local groups and organizations that make Berks County special2) Enter for a chance to win a 2017 Toyota Camry, courtesy of AutoRide of ReadingGroup tickets start at $11 for all Royals home games.Listen to today’s game at mixlr.com/readingroyals or watch on ECHL.tv. Coverage starts 15 minutes before puck drop.Royals put pressure on ManchesterThe Royals have earned eight standings points against Manchester this season (3-3-1-1), two behind Manchester (5-3-0-0). A Royals regulation win Friday evens the season series at ten points each.Thirteen Royals have scored against Manchester (21 GF). The Monarchs have beaten Reading netminders 22 times (13 goal scorers).On Feb. 3, Reading bull rushed Manchester with two goals in the opening four minutes and generated the first four goals in a 6-1 beat down at Santander Arena.Joe Houk topped the score sheet with three points and was one of five Royals with multi-point efforts against netminder Cole Kehler. Prior to the outburst, Reading had scored three goals in the previous four series games.Against Kehler, the Royals are 1-1-0-0 in two games (7 GA). Charles Williams has won eight straight games against Reading (4-0-0-0 this campaign). With an 11-0-0-2 record against Reading in his career, Williams is off to the best start of any goaltender ever against Reading. The second-year netminder from Canton, MI has stopped 175 of 177 shots the Royals have aimed against him in the third period and overtime.Reading has beaten Manchester eight times in the last two seasons, including playoffs (8-8-4-1), pitching a 6-2-0-0 mark when Williams is benched.Josh MacDonald, Frank DiChiara and Alex Roos each have three goals to top Reading in the series. Chris McCarthy is the assists (8) and points leader (9) among all players.Branden Komm is 1-0-0-1 against Manchester this season (5 GA). Andrew D’Agostini has surrendered four goals in two games against Manchester (0-1-1-0 record).Tony Camarenesi and Nic Pierog each have three goals against the Royals this campaign to pace the Monarchs. Spencer Watson (2g) and Daniill Miromanov (1g) are the club’s series points leaders (6 pts.).Cockerill bags his firstRoyals defenseman Garret Cockerill scored his first goal and multi-point game for Reading against Maine Wednesday.He scored Reading’s first tally to spark a two-goal run in the second period, cutting Maine’s lead to three. Cockerill backhanded the puck from the left circle into the traffic-filled crease, sneaking it by Connor LaCouvee.Before being traded from Jacksonville in January, he recorded 14 points (4g) in 40 ECHL games this season. The 6’0”, 201-pound defenseman scored 84 points in 122 games while also serving as alternate captain for Northeastern University between 2014-2017.Cockerill played most of his rookie season with AHL Cleveland (40 GP, 3g, 14 pts.) after leaving Northeastern midway through his senior season.

Brownie has 5Tyler Brown has five goals in the last 12 games, matching his scoring production from 2017-18.Perhaps the most-artful of his five came against Maine on Wednesday; flying into the Mariners’ zone down the right wing, Brown shouldered off Jon Jutzi and drove to the net. Cradling the puck on his backhand, he pulled the puck back to his forehand in the slot and slid the puck between Lacouvee’s right pad and the post for the Royals’ second goal of the game.Brown has scored three goals in his last five games and has knotted two against Maine. He needs six more points in the Royals’ remaining 20 games to match his 14 points from last year.Scouting Manchester The Monarchs fell to last place in the North following a Dec. 29 loss at Adirondack (13-15-1-1), but have forged a 15-7-0-0 record since to push into a tie for third in the division.Spencer Watson (11g, 25 pts.) has been the club’s points leader since Dec. 30, generating five multi-point games, two multi-goal efforts, a four-point output (Jan. 4 vs. ADK) and a hat trick against Maine. The London, ON native has received help from Tony Camarenesi (12g, 25 pts.) since the very end of the 2018 calendar year.Interestingly, the Monarchs have a -3 goal differential during the 15-7-0-0 stretch (76 GF, 79 GA). When the club fell to last, they had scored 96 goals and allowed 96.Since Dec. 30, Charles Williams is 11-6-0-0 with a 2.59 goals against average and .925 save percentage since Dec. 30.Ten of the last 13 games contested between Reading and Manchester have been one-goal contests or tied during the third period. The Royals have the fewest one-goal victories in the ECHL this season (4-1-4-5), while Manchester has the most regulation defeats (13-9-1-1) in contests decided by one.About the RoyalsThe Royals are in their 18th ECHL season and 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.