Starting tonight, the Jacksonville Icemen (21-29-4-3, 49 pts) kick off a three-game homestand as North Division opponent, Reading Royals (31-20-5-0, 67 pts), visit Veterans Memorial Arena tonight at 7:30 p.m.
This is only the second meeting between the two clubs in the 2017-18 season, presented by Community First Credit Union. Back on Nov. 11, 2017, the Icemen fell to the Royals, 5-1, in Pennsylvania. A lot has changed since then, and both teams have changed complexion in the last few months.
For Reading, tonight’s game is the second of a back-to-back, as they fell to the Orlando Solar Bears, 4-3, in overtime last night in Orlando. Mark Dekanich played between the pipes for the Royals in that game, so it is presumed that Branden Komm will be in the crease tonight for Reading. Komm has played in 22 games this season and is second on the team in GAA, posting a 2.53 average and recording 12 wins. Offensively, there have been few players more dominant in the ECHL this season than forward Matt Willows. In his second year with the Royals, Willows is fifth in the ECHL in scoring with 59 points. He also leads the team in game-winning goals this season with five.
The Icemen are returning home following a rough 6-2 loss to the Eastern Conference-leading Florida Everblades. However, in their prior four games, Jacksonville collected seven out of eight possible points, bolstering the club to fifth in the South Division. Elgin Pearce has had the hot hand for the Icemen, carrying a three-game goal streak into tonight’s contest. Jacksonville looks to tie its record winning streak at home of three games, set in late January.
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Jacksonville Icemen: 21-29-4-3 (5th in South division)
Reading Royals: 31-20-5-0 (3rd in North division)
Icemen: 22/230 – 9.6% (27th in ECHL)
Royals: 33/197 – 16.8% (16th in ECHL)
Icemen: 205/249 – 82.3% (16th in ECHL)
Royals: 152/179 – 86.9% (3rd in ECHL)
Players to Watch:
#16 F Elgin Pearce (JAX)
19G, 24A – 43 Pts, +3 Rating
Pearce leads the Icemen this season in goals and assists. He also brings a three-game goal streak into tonight’s matchup.
#90 F Matt Willows (REA)
23G, 36A – 59 Pts, +1 Rating
Willlows is fifth in the ECHL in scoring and leads the Royals in goals and assists. Willows tallied a goal on Nov. 11 in a 5-1 win over the Icemen.