Royals seek weekend sweep before Canadian swing
Norfolk, VA – The Reading Royals (24-23-4-5, 57 pts., T-6th North), proud ECHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers and Lehigh Valley Phantoms, play the final game of a five-game season series against the Norfolk Admirals (23-27-4-3, 53 pts., 6th South) Saturday at 7:00 p.m. The Royals are 3-1-0-0 in the series, outscoring Norfolk, 13-6. Following Saturday’s game, the Royals will travel to Newfoundland for back-to-back games against the Growlers Tues., Mar. 5 at 5:30 p.m. and Wed., Mar. 6 at 5:30 p.m.The teams played Friday in Norfolk and the Royals scored the first five goals to spike the Admirals, 5-1. Michael Huntebrinker scored in his first game back from the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Huntebrinker, Adam Schmidt and Josh MacDonald scored in the first six minutes to put Reading ahead, 3-0. Five Royals tallied and Branden Komm denied 28 shots (1 GA) for his seventh win of the season. Norfolk is four points back of the South Division’s fourth and final playoff spot. The team has dropped back-to-back games.Reading next plays at Newfoundland and the Growlers are first in the North Division with a 36-15-4-0 record (76 pts.). The Royals return home Fri., Mar. 15 at 7:00 p.m. for Mental Health Awareness Night against Indy. Get four burgers, four sodas and four tickets for $48.Next Home GamesFri., Mar. 15: Mental Health Awareness Night vs. Indy at 7:00 p.m.- 4-for-48 Family Four Pack: 4 tickets, 4 burgers and 4 sodas for $48 - Supporting mental health initiatives with the Royals - Enter for a chance to win a 2017 Toyota Camry, courtesy of AutoRide of Reading - Special Mental Health Awareness Jerseys- Meet Royals players after the game at DoubleTree's Cheers! Restaurant (701 Penn St.)Sat., Mar. 16: St. Hat Trick’s Day vs. Indy at 7:00 p.m.- Chance to win $10,000 if Royals player gets a hat trick- Free kids ticket game: Receive 1 free kids ticket (14 and under) for every adult ticket purchased- Ice Angels Dance Team poster giveaway and postgame autographs, pres. by Rieck's Printing- Enter for a chance to win a 2017 Toyota Camry, courtesy of AutoRide of Reading- Special St. Hat Trick's Day JerseysFri., Mar. 22: $1 Beer Night at 7:00 p.m. vs. Newfoundland- $1 Draft Beer- Enter for a chance to win a 2017 Toyota Camry, courtesy of AutoRide of ReadingListen to today’s game at mixlr.com/readingroyals or watch on ECHL.tv. Coverage starts 15 minutes before puck drop.McCarthy, Luukko, MacDonaldChris McCarthy generated two assists Friday and has tied a single-season high 59 points. He also had 59 points last campaign with Reading. McCarthy has already established a new career-high with 44 helpers this season.Nick Luukko scored in the third period Friday and now has seven goals and 22 points, both new single-season bests.Josh MacDonald tallied in the first frame against Norfolk and has scored 20 goals this campaign, best on the Royals. It is the second time in his career he has hit the 20-goal plateau.History vs. NORNorfolk joined the ECHL in the 2015-16 season and Reading is 21-5-2 all-time against the Admirals. In those games, the Royals have outscored the Admirals, 95-60. Reading has notched at least three goals in 19 of the 28 contests, while Norfolk has hit the same 3-goal milestone eight times. The Royals have outscored the Admirals, 49-20, since Kirk MacDonald became the Royals’ interim head coach for the last three games of the 2016-17 season. Since 2017-18, the Royals have posted 33 goals and allowed 11 to Norfolk. Chris McCarthy leads all players in the series with three goals and 16 points in the last eight meetings between the clubs.In this season series, McCarthy is best among all players with six assists. Matt Pohlkamp scored Friday and he has six goals vs. Norfolk this season (5g with South Carolina). Adam Schmidt and Nick Luukko have each generated a Royals-high three goals against Norfolk. Romain Chuard leads Norfolk with three points in the series. Ty Reichenbach is 1-2-0-0 against Reading, allowing nine goals. Branden Komm made 28 saves Friday and is 1-0-0-0 against the Ads.March scheduleThe Royals’ March slate continues with the second of 14 games Saturday. This is the second straight month the Royals will play 14 games, making February and March the club’s heftiest of the season.After completing the six-game road trip vs. Brampton Mar. 10, the Royals have one road game the rest of the month (Mar. 17 at ADK) and three the rest of the season. Reading completes 2018-19 with eight of its final 11 at Santander Arena.Nine of the Royals’ final sixteen games are against teams currently in North Division playoff positioning.Huntebrinker returnMichael Huntebrinker played his first Royals game in more than a month Friday and scored his 12th of the season. He has registered at least a point in 20 of 21 games he’s played with Reading this season.The second-year forward from Chesterfield, MO has 26 points this season. He is one of eight active Royals with at least ten goals this campaign.Quick Newfoundland preview The next Royals game is Mar. 5 in Newfoundland. The Growlers started 5-5-0-0, but have since gone 31-10-4-0 to move into first in the North Division and third place in the league (behind Cincinnati and Florida). Newfoundland has only lost back-to-back games twice this season and one of the times came against the Royals Dec. 7-8. Reading remains the only squad to defeat the Growlers on back-to-back days.Reading and Adirondack are the only two teams to hand Newfoundland three straight season series regulation losses. The Royals beat the Growlers in regulation on Dec. 7, Dec. 8 and Dec. 28. 300 down, 3000 to goThe Royals have travelled 300 miles on their season-long, six-game road trip. After Saturday’s game, the Royals will log 207 more to the Dulles International Airport and then fly to St. John’s, Newfoundland for back-to-back games against the Growlers next Tuesday and Wednesday.Washington, D.C. and St. John’s are approximately 1,300 miles apart.Reading flies from St. John’s to Toronto to face the Brampton Beast Mar. 9-10. That will add another 1,300 miles to the journey. Reading is expect to travel approximately 3,300 miles over this trip.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.