Royals 2 points out of playoff spot with 2 to play
Glens Falls, NY – The Reading Royals (32-28-4-6, 74 pts., 5th North), proud ECHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers and Lehigh Valley Phantoms, can tie for the fourth and final playoff spot in the North Division with a win and Brampton Beast regulation loss as the Royals travel to Cool Insuring Arena to face the Adirondack Thunder (37-24-5-3, 82 pts., 2nd North) Friday at 7:00 p.m. The contest is Reading’s last road game of the season and the front end of a back-to-back with Adirondack. The Royals conclude the 2018-19 regular season at Santander Arena Saturday at 7:00 p.m. on FANdemonium. Brampton visits Cincinnati Friday and completes the regular season with back-to-back games against Toledo.Reading is on four-game win streak and six-game point streak (5-0-0-1). In the Royals’ last game, Josh MacDonald scored twice (4 pts.) and Jamie Phillips made 39 saves to demolish Maine, 4-1, Wednesday. MacDonald leads the Royals with 28 goals. Linemate Chris McCarthy scored three points (1g) and has 73 points this season.Adirondack swept a three-in-three last week and stamped Maine, 7-5, in the back end of it Sunday at Cross Insurance Arena. The Thunder will clinch the second seed in the North Division playoff race with a win Friday.The Royals are looking for their first series win against Adirondack since Jan. 9. The Royals are 3-4-0-0 against Adirondack over the last seven series games. For the entire season series, the Royals have put together a 3-6-0-1 record against Adirondack. Reading is 3-2-0-1 at Cool Insuring Arena this season.Broadcast Coverage: Watch on BCTV (Ch. 15 Comcast, Ch. 19 Service Electric) | Mixlr.com/ReadingRoyalsNorth Division Standings | y = clinched division | x = clinched playoff spoty - Newfoundland - 92 points (3 games remaining)x - Adirondack - 82 points (3 games remaining)Manchester - 78 points (2 games remaining)Brampton - 76 points (3 games remaining)Reading - 74 points (2 games remaining)Maine - 73 points (3 games remaining)Worcester - 71 points (3 games remaining)The Royals cannot pass Manchester in the standings after the Monarchs won in overtime Wednesday against Worcester. Brampton and Maine own the first tiebreaker (regulation plus overtime wins - ROW) against the Royals. Brampton’s ROW is 32, Maine has a ROW of 29 and Reading is at 28. Worcester sits three points behind Reading and has a ROW of 27. If Brampton wins any of their remaining three games, the Royals will be eliminated from playoff contention.Last Time OutMaking his ninth straight start, Jamie Phillips blocked 39 shots to power Reading past Maine, 4-1. The win hopped the Royals over the Mariners for fifth in the North Division. Phillips is 5-0-0-1 over the last six (1.62 GAA, .947 sv.%). He made 30 saves in the first two periods. The Royals scored four unanswered after Maine tallied the opening strike with fewer than six minutes to go in the first. Reading’s power play went 2-for-3 and evened the game late in the first on a deep-slot wrist shot from Nick Luukko.Josh MacDonald scored the next two to put Reading ahead by two. His second goal came on the man up four minutes into the third. Chris McCarthy assisted the opening Royals power-play goal, helped MacDonald’s second strike and buried an empty-net goal to put the game away.Scouting Adirondack Adirondack has bounced back and forth between losing skids and winning streaks since Jan. 9, going 17-15-2-1 over that stretch. Over that span, the club has had four winning streaks of three games and dropped at least three in a row three times.The Thunder have outscored opponents, 14-9, over the last three games and won them all. Netminder Eric Schierhorn blocked 32 of 37 shots for his first career win in his last game Sunday at Maine. The Minnesota Golden Gopher is one of nine goalies to skate for Adirondack this season and all have been rookies. Goaltenders Arthur Brey and Logan Thompson are also 2019 NCAA products. Rookie defenseman Jake Linhart scored a career-high two goals and three points Sunday vs. Maine. Shane Conacher scored a goal and two points Sunday and has four goals and ten points since returning from a two-month injury absence.James Henry is the squad assists (54) and points leader (68). The sixth-year professional spent his first two seasons skating with the ECHL’s Stockton Thunder. When Stockton became the AHL affiliate of the Calgary Flames in 2015-16, Henry linked up with Adirondack and has scored the most points (197) and played in the most games (250) in Adirondack’s history.Teammates Pete MacArthur (144 career points) and Brian Ward (138) are behind Henry for most points ever by an Adirondack Thunder player. Ward has a franchise-record 75 goals.Rookie Mike Szmatula has generated a team-best 27 goals this campaign (47 pts.).Head to headChris McCarthy factored in on two points last time the teams met Mar. 17 and leads Reading with nine points (3g) in the season series. Josh MacDonald (3g) and Adam Schmidt (2g) are next in line, with each popping in six points.Michael Huntebrinker has five points (2g) against Adirondack this season in six games and he has scored seven goals and 13 points in 19 games ever against Adirondack.Alex Roos (3g) is tied with McCarthy and MacDonald for most goals by a Royals player in the series.Adirondack’s John Edwardh (5g) has a team-high five goals in the series. He and James Henry (9a) each have registered nine points to lead the Thunder. All of Henry’s points have come in the last four games, including a pair of three-assist outings. Mike Szmatula registered an empty-net goal against the Royals last game and is second on Adirondack with four series goals. Regular Season FinaleSat., Apr. 6: FANdemonium with prize giveaways at 7:00 p.m. vs. Adirondack1) The Royals will hand out prizes to fans at every stoppage in play! 2) Season Ticket Holder jersey off our backsAbout 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.