Cuddemi quickest to 20 goals in Royals history
St. John’s, NL - The Reading Royals (13-6-4-0, 30 pts.) fought back from a pair of three-goal deficits to get within one, but the Newfoundland Growlers (15-8-0-0, 30 pts.) escaped with a 6-4 win Wednesday at Mile One Centre. Both clubs are now tied for first in the North Division, three points ahead of Brampton.Joseph Duszak scored the opening goal 1:29 into the game to put the Growlers up, 1-0. He beat the backchecking Max Willman to the net and wristed the puck past Felix Sandstrom (4 GA, 35 saves). Evan Neugold and Brady Ferguson scored in the last two minutes of the period to give the Growlers a 3-0 lead after the first 20 minutes.Ralph Cuddemi scored early in the second to cut the deficit to two, but Marcus Power answered midway through the period to re-pad the lead at 4-1. No player in Royals history has scored at least 20 goals through Dec. 4 in a single season. Lightning struck for the Royals late in the second when Willman and Tervor Gooch sent lasers past Maksim Zhukov (4 GA, 26 saves) to exit the period down 4-3. Willman scored on the power play, while Gooch tallied less than 20 seconds after Power hit the crossbar at the other end of the ice.Neugold’s second of the game was an empty-net strike to make it 5-3. Eric Knodel brought the deficit back to one with 57 seconds left in the game. Giorgio Estephan iced the game with another empty-netter, 6-4.
Box ScoreCan’t stop CuddemiRalph Cuddemi came into tonight leading the ECHL in both goals and points, and he kept that in place with his 20th goal of the season and 33rd point.He has a seven-goal cushion on the second-best scorers in the league. Jesse Schultz (CIN), Dylan Sadowy (KAL) and Liam Pecararo (GRN) all have 13 goals. Cuddemi’s 33 points put him three points in front of Peter Quenneville (RC) in the race for the leading scorer award. He’s now scored points in a career-best 12 consecutive games.Willman making most of his opportunityAt the start of the season, Max Willman dressed in only one of the Royals’ first 13 games. After injuries and call-ups in mid-November, Willman was given a chance to cement his spot in the ECHL.Since then, he’s recorded points in nine of ten games and is currently on a seven-game point streak. He scored his first professional point with an assist Nov. 13 at Worcester and his first goal Nov. 15 at Adirondack.Willman scored the Royals’ second goal of the evening with a bullet from the left circle. Zhukov couldn’t adjust in time, and his diving attempt to stop the puck wasn’t enough.The 2019-20 season is presented by Tower Health UPMC Health Plan. The Royals travel to Brampton for a weekend set Sat., Dec. 7 at 7:15 p.m. and Sun., Dec. 8 at 2:00 p.m. Reading’s next home games are Dec. 13-14 vs. Brampton. Full promotional details are at royalshockey.com/promotions.Single-game tickets and mini-plans are on sale by visiting royalshockey.com/promotions, calling 610-898-7825 and visiting Santander Arena and The Weidenhammer Box Office at 700 Penn Street, Reading, PA.About the RoyalsThe Royals are in 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.