Second-year player has impressed in first few professional stops
By: Kaylee Herndon/RoyalsHockey.com writerReading, PA -Matt Pohlkamp made his Royals debut in Manchester, NH, about six hours northeast of Santander Arena, as the Royals played the first game of a three-in-three weekend Feb. 22. He had one of Reading’s best “first impressions,” scoring twice to become the 9th player in Royals history to score multiple goals in a debut.His first goal came midway through the first period to break a one-all tie. He went on to score the tying goal of the game with two minutes left in the third period to force overtime, leading to a shootout win.Pohlkamp played in Reading a few days later in front of 4,540 fans and was impressed despite a two-goal loss.“From what I can tell, Sundays are pretty tough in the league but here I thought it was great; a lot of good energy and I was excited to get out there,” Pohlkamp said of his first game in Santander Arena.He was traded to the Royals along with fellow South Carolina Stingrays teammate Vinny Muto, who has four goals and 12 points on the season.“Vinny also came with me, which was nice because we didn’t have to go through it alone… we talked about our experience together,” he said of coming here with Muto. “Coming here to a new team and already knowing someone is great.”Straight Outta Bowling GreenPohlkamp played with the Toledo Walleye immediately after graduating from Bowling Green State University. Pohlkamp’s first ECHL goal came midway through the second period in a late March game against Florida and was Toledo’s seventh goal of the game.“It was weird, they made us do these gifs before I got there and I didn’t know what to do so I put my hands up in the air, like a field goal. And that game I scored the seventh goal for Toledo and they posted the gif like ‘touchdown!’ It was kind of funny how that worked out.”He tallied one goal and two assists in his first nine professional games with the Walleye.Pohlkamp joined the Walleye coming off of a 10-point burst over his final five games with Bowling Green (5g, 5a). Over the course of his four years and 160 games with the Falcons, he registered 38 goals and 88 points. He notched five game-winning goals at Bowling Green, three of which came during his senior year.He tallied the first of these 88 points early in his freshman season with a goal against Union College. At the end of his freshman season, he was tied for first among the Falcon rookies in both goals and points (9g, 16pts) and was honored as Co-Rookie of the Year.His senior year at Bowling Green was arguably his best; he was named WCHA Championship Third Star of the Game after scoring a game-tying goal to force overtime. He notched 13 goals, 10 assists and topped the team with seven multi-point games.“We played in the championship and ended up going into double overtime against Michigan Tech. Unfortunately we lost but it was definitely the best experience I ever had. The crowd … the people were all over each other, it was crazy,” Pohlkamp said of the game, which he said is his favorite hockey memory.His time in Toledo is the closest his ECHL ‘home’ has been to his actual home in small-town Baxter, MN.“Obviously hockey is pretty big out there. I started playing when I was five, a lot of my family members did too.”A Rookie in the FlockPohlkamp signed with the Quad City Mallards in 2017-18 for his first full season. Last campaign, Mallards Head Coach Phil Axtell spoke highly of Pohlkamp’s motivation and mentality.“Matt is a workhorse. He'll be the first guy on the ice at practice and the one being chased off the ice by the Zamboni afterward," Axtell said. "He has a team-first mentality and will add depth to the Flock. He is also one of a number of players we've signed who have played a part in turning a program around over their four years in college hockey.”He led Quad City as a rookie in goals with 19 and points with 44. While there he played with current Royals Brayden Low, who trailed Pohlkamp in goals with 17, and Josh MacDonald, who tallied 19 points in his 31 games with the Mallards. Current Reading goalie Branden Komm played a single game with Quad City with Pohlkamp. Defensemen Jacob Graves played 24 games and notched four assists.This season Pohlkamp has three points in his three games played with the Royals so far this season, coming to Reading from the South Carolina Stingrays (2g, 1a). He was third on the Stingrays with 16 goals and tied for fifth in points (27).