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Game 37 Preview: Reading at Worcester

Sunday, January 12th
Game 37 Preview: Reading at Worcester

Royals start second half looking to solve Railers

Worcester, MA – The Reading Royals (20-12-4-0, 44 pts., 3rd North) play their first road game of the decade and start the ECHL’s second half at the DCU Center vs. the Worcester Railers (14-20-2-0, 30 pts., 6th North).Reading had 20 wins in the ECHL’s first half, the ninth team in Royals history (19 seasons) to reach that mark. The team won back-to-back games to reach the mark, including a 5-2 win over Wheeling Friday. Thomas Ebbing generated a career-best three points (2g), Steven Swavely added an empty-net goal to put it away in the third and Kirill Ustimenko blocked 23 shots.Worcester had a season-long four-game winning streak snapped Saturday with a 5-3 loss vs. Newfoundland. After falling behind by five, Nic Pierog, Barry Almeida and Arnaud Durandeau scored in 3:28 span to cut it to a two-goal game.The Royals have dropped three straight against the Railers, with the team’s lone series win Nov. 13. The Royals start a five-game home stand next Fri., Jan. 17 vs.  Adirondack on Opioid Awareness Night.Broadcast Coverage: Listen: mixlr.com/readingroyals | Watch: BCTV (Ch. 15 Comcast, Ch. 19  Service Electric) and ECHL.tv.Royals leadersGoals: Cuddemi (21)Assists: DiChiara (25)Points: DiChiara (35)PIM: Mitchell (81)+/-: Knodel (15)Railers leadersGoals: Pierog (15)Assists: Samuels-Thomas (18)Points: Samuels-Thomas (29)PIM: Turcotte (119)+/-: Salituro (7)A Royals win would:Give  Reading consecutive road wins…Be the 97th in Kirk MacDonald’s career… Make the Royals 2-3-0-0 in the season series.Hodgson returns and “helps”Forward Hayden Hodgson and Eric Knodel each earned assists in their return from injury for a Friday win over Wheeling. Hodgson came back from a 24-game absence in a lower-body injury suffered against Worcester. In the first period of his return Friday, he found Thomas Ebbing for a primary helper. Knodel needed six minutes to get back on the scoresheet, getting the secondary assist on Matthew Strome’s opening goal. The sixth-year professional from West Chester was recalled to Lehigh Valley Saturday.The Royals moved to 12-0-0-0 at home this season when netting the first goal.  All-Time SeriesThe Royals are 10-10-3-1 all-time against Worcester. At the DCU Center, the Royals are 1-1-0-0 this season and 3-6-1-1 all-time.In the Railers’ inaugural season, Reading won the series with a 7-5-2-0 record for 16 points compared to Worcester’s 15. Frank DiChiara, a rookie for Worcester at the time, scored two of his four game-winning goals against the Royals.DiChiara has recorded three goals and four assists against his former team with the Royals, and Steven Swavely has sniped seven goals and three assists. In the team’s last matchup on Jan. 4, Swavely scored to pull within one of the Railers’ 3-2 lead, but they scored twice more to win, 5-2.Nic Pierog has scored 10 goals against the Royals in 13 games, and nine of those goals came in four games. Barry Almeida has recorded 20 points (8g) against his former team.Season SeriesThe Royals have a 1-3-0-0 record against the last-place Railers, although Reading won the first game of the series, 6-4, on Nov. 13.  The two clubs last met in a back-to-back set at Santander Arena on Jan. 3 and 4, with the Railers outscoring the Royals, 9-3, over the weekend. Forward Ralph Cuddemi, currently on a PTO with Laval (AHL), and Matthew Gaudreau co-lead Reading with three points against Worcester over the season series. Kirill Ustimenko had 36 saves in that Nov. 13 Royals’ win and owns a .895 save percentage in three contests versus Worcester.This Day in Royals HistoryOn Jan. 12, 2014, the Royals went head-to-head against the Elmira Jackals at Santander Arena. Reading shut out Elmira, 3-0, with goaltender Brandon Anderson stopping all 30 shots.After a scoreless first period, Brett Flemming opened the scoring against goaltender Scott Greenham of the Jackals before Sean Wiles scored a power-play goal with two seconds left in the second frame. Royals forward Brandon Blandina scored the lone third-period goal against his former team to cement the Royals’ first-ever win on Jan. 12. Reading 1-5-0-0 in games on today’s date with their last defeat coming against Worcester last season.Upcoming Home Games: royalshockey.com/promotionsFri Jan. 17 at 7:00 p.m. vs.  Adirondack (4-for-$48 game | Opioid Awareness Night): 4 tickets, 4 sodas and 4 burgers for  $48 by calling 610-898-7825 | $1 Sprite beverage special | Toiletry Drive | DVD DriveSun., Jan. 19 at 4:00 p.m. vs. Worcester ($1 Deal Day): $1 Hot Dogs, $1 Nachos, $1 Sodas | $2 Kids Tickets (12 and younger) | 1 free Applebee’s Meal and free kids  ticket  if you present a report card  with an “A” grade on itMon., Jan. 20 at 1:00 p.m. vs. Worcester (Kids Jersey Giveaway | MLK Day): First 1,000 kids receive a kids jersey | Free Parking from Reading Parking Authority |  Kids are off from school on MLK Day | 1 kids ticket, 1 guaranteed kids jersey, 1 hat, 1 Applebee’s kids meal ($15) | Kids Club Game| Postgame team meet-and-greet on the iceAbout 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 2019-20 season is pres. by Tower Health UPMC Health Plan. 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.