First of nine meetings this season between traditional foes
Reading, PA - The Reading Royals (2-2-1-0, 5 pts., T-4th North) play their first game outside the North Division at the Wheeling Nailers (3-2-0-0, 6 pts., T-1st Central) Saturday at 7:05 p.m. The Royals have had six days to prepare for the contest and Reading won their last game, 5-4, vs. Maine Oct. 20. Wheeling scored four unanswered Friday vs. Tulsa Friday in a 6-4 win and the squad is 3-0-0-0 at home.Saturday’s game is Reading’s only of the weekend; the team next plays at Norfolk Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m.Reading plays three home games next week; Oct. 31, Nov. 2 and Nov. 3.On Oct. 31 at 7:00 p.m. vs. Newfoundland, grab $1 pumpkin beer and all college students will receive $5 tickets with a valid college ID at the box office. The first 1,000 kids will receive a free bag of candy and the team will host a costume parade on the concourse during intermission.It’s D.C. Comics Night on Sat., Nov. 2 vs. Norfolk at 7:00 p.m.; Batman and Joker will be at the game with character meet-and-greet packages, DC Comic-themed jerseys (Royals in Batman, Norfolk in Joker), a DC Puck Giveaway and a super-hero themed candy bag giveaway. The Royals play nine home games in November.Broadcast Coverage: Watch on BCTV (Ch. 15 Comcast, Ch. 19 Service Electric) | Listen at Mixlr.com/ReadingRoyals New faces set to make Royals debuts Saturday is the first game for new Royals players F Gerry Fitzgerald, F Matthew Strome and D James de Haas. All were sent to the Royals Wednesday from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Strome was reassigned to Reading from Lehigh Valley by Philadelphia; the 20-year-old is a former Flyers 2017 4th-round selection (106th overall).Strome played the last four seasons for Hamilton in the OHL and is the all-time leading games played (260), goals (115), assists (132) and points leader (247) in team history. He tallied 79 points (2nd on team) and a Bulldogs-best 51 assists in 2018-19. Fitzgerald scored 12 goals and 19 points in his rookie season with the AHL’s Iowa Wild last season. The blueliner de Haas is the only of the three to play in the ECHL before; he scored five goals and 18 points in 23 games with Reading in 2017-18 before being called up to Lehigh Valley for the last 18 months.Chance to go “2 up” in the WheelThe Royals hold an all-time record of 45 wins and 44 losses in away games against Wheeling, providing the team a chance to move to two games “above .500” against the Nailers in road games Saturday. Last season, the Royals were 2-2-0-0 at the Nailers and Reading is 10-7-2 at Wesbanco Arena over the last five seasons.The 45 road wins at Wheeling are more than total victories against any other active opponent. Last March, the Royals won their 100th game ever vs. the Nailers in the season-series finale.3 with 7 The Royals have three players tied for the team lead at seven points; Ralph Cuddemi, Garrett Mitchell and Matthew Gaudreau. Mitchell and Gaudreau each have a team-best five assists, while Cuddemi (4g) is tied with Frank DiChiara for the team goals lead.Gaudreau is on a four-game point streak and registered a career-high three assists Sunday vs. Maine. Mitchell has three multi-point games to lead the Royals. Ralph Cuddemi is best on the team with two multi-goal games.The trio, along with defenseman Eric Knodel (5 pts.) and DiChiara (6) give Reading five players clicking at a point-per-game pace or higher this season.Don’t talk about Fight Club The Royals have been assessed 111 fighting majors in 180 games against the Nailers, the most fights by Reading against any club. Despite the belligerent history, the Royals have not had a fighting major against the Nailers since Dec. 2, 2017 (15 straight games). In that contest, Reading’s Loic Leduc and Matt Wilkins each sparred against Wheeling and the Royals overcame a two-goal, third-period deficit with three healthy defenseman to earn a point in a 5-4 overtime loss.Quick Nailers run down The Nailers are led by second-year Head Coach Mike Bavis, who led Wheeling to a 31-31-6-4 mark last season. Wheeling has missed the playoffs three straight seasons, their second-longest drought since joining the ECHL (1998-2003).The club features three former Royals; D Steve Johnson, D Cam Heath and G Andrew D’Agostini. NHL-contracted netminder Alex D’Orio and ECHL-signed Jordan Ruby round out the net for the Nailers.Offensively, the club returns Yushiroh Hirano, Nick Saracino and Cam Brown as some of its top gunners. Hirano was second on the team with 38 assists and 57 points last season. He has a team-best four goals and nine points this campaign. Saracino scored 17 goals (37 pts.) in 27 games and Brown posted more than a point-per-game in 2018-19 (9g, 38 pts., 37 GP). A Royals win would…Provide Reading their second straight victory…be the 101st all-time win against the Nailers…move Reading above .500 in away games (1-1-1-0 entering Saturday).About the RoyalsThe Royals are entering their 19th ECHL season and are proudly affiliated with the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers and AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The Royals won the Kelly Cup in 2013, have made the playoffs 14 times, and are four-time division champions. The Berks County Convention Center Authority (BCCCA), founded in 1996, owns the Royals and oversees operations at Santander Arena and the Santander Arena Performing Arts Center.Listen to all Royals broadcasts at Mixlr.com/ReadingRoyals or by downloading the Mixlr App from the App Store or Google Play. All Royals away games are broadcasted on BCTV (Ch. 15 Comcast, Ch. 19 Service Electric) and Mixlr.