Admirals (17-22-5-1) vs. Royals (26-19-2-0)
Last Time Out:
After surrendering the first two goals of the night the Admirals pulled within one early in the second period before Reading scored the last five goals of the night, taking a 7-1 victory over the Admirals. Friday night was the first of four meetings between the teams this season.
Brodie Dupont netted the only tally of the night for the Admirals, pushing his team leading point total to 48 points. Three different Royals, Derek Whitmore, Chris McCarthy, and Matt Willows, all netted a pair of goals in the victory for Reading. Neither team was able to capitalize on the man-advantage as the teams went a combined 0-for-7 on the night.
Both Ty Reichenbach (5 ga, 25 svs) and Jamie Murray (2ga, 15 svs) saw time in net for the Admirals while Mark Dekanich (1 ga, 27 svs) notched his ninth win of the season for the Royals.
Scouting the Royals:
The Royals currently sit four points out of first place in the North Division, occupying the fourth and final playoff spot.
Reading’s Mark Dekanich, a fifth-round draft pick of the Nashville Predators in 2006, leads the Royals between the pipes having appeared in 24 games, posting a record of 9-13-1-0 paired with a 3.07 goals against average and a .908 save percentage. With reigning ECHL Goaltender of the Month, John Muse, recalled to Lehigh Valley Dekanich is the only Royals goaltender who has appeared in an ECHL game this season.
Forward Matt Willows, currently riding an eight-game point streak, is the only Royal with more than 30 points this season. The forward leads the team with 45 points (16g, 29a) in 47 games this season, including a two-goal performance last night. Linemate Chris McCarthy, who has 29 points, is currently second on the team in both points and goals.
Friday night’s Reading victory was the first of four meetings this season. After Saturday night the Admirals and Royals will not play again till the final week of the regular season, when they play a home-and-home series. Since Norfolk rejoined the ECHL the Royals hold the upper hand in the all-time series, having won 15 of 20 games.
Prior to Friday night the Admirals had allowed six or more goals and lost on only three occasions since November. On two of the three occasions Norfolk has bounced back to win the following game. Most recently the Admirals bounced back on December 20 to top Orlando 5-3 after falling 7-2 to the Solar Bears in the previous game. The only time the Admirals have failed to follow up with a victory came on November 3 when Norfolk fell to Manchester 4-1 after losing 7-1 to the Monarchs in the previous game.
Chasing Down the Leaders:
Brodie Dupont scored on Friday night, giving the forward a point in each of his last two games, and keeping Dupont in the race for the ECHL scoring title. With 48 points Dupont currently sits four points back from Fort Wayne’s Shawn Szydlowski who leads the ECHL in points (52). The Norfolk captain is currently tied with Cincinnati’s Just Danforth in fourth place among all skaters. Dupont is also seven points ahead of Grant Besse for the team lead. Besse is currently tied for 16th in the ECHL in points.