Game 14: Elmira Jackals (2-9-2-0) vs. Reading Royals (6-8-1-1)
7:05 p.m., First Arena, Elmira, New York
The Jackals open their post-Thanksgiving three-in-three weekend with a home match against the Reading Royals on Black Friday and Molly Huddle Night at First Arena. It is the second of 10 head-to-head matches between the teams, with Reading winning the first one in the season opener Oct. 15. Both teams enter the night looking to snap extended losing streaks.
The Royals enter the weekend winless in their last seven games, going 0-6-1-0, which has dropped them to fifth place in the North Division with 14 points. The Royals are also playing in a three-in-three this weekend, as they head home to host the Cincinnati Cyclones Saturday and Sunday.
The Jackals are coming off four straight losses to the Brampton Beast and they are winless over their last nine games (0-7-2-0). Elmira will finish its three-in-three with two games against the Manchester Monarchs at First Arena over the next two days.
Purchase single game tickets by calling (607) 734-7825, visiting the Main Street Box Office at First Arena or online.
Jackals Pregame at 6:50 p.m. Radio:1410 WELM
Last time out
The Brampton Beast scored twice early in the third period to win their fourth straight over the Jackals, 5-3, Saturday at First Arena.
The Beast started the see-saw battle with David Pacan finishing a tic-tac-toe pass play 13:29 into the first period to go up 1-0. The Jackals then responded with two goals in the second period to go ahead 2-1. Brycen Martin tied the game with a power-play goal at 8:21 and then Kenton Miller scored shorthanded at 15:49 to give the Jackals their first lead. Brampton would tie the game with 42 seconds left in the second, so the game went to the third even at two.
David Vallorani opened the third-period scoring with back-to-back goals 1:32 apart, giving Brampton a two-goal lead just 2:55 into the final frame. Miller would score his second of the night for the Jackals at 6:57 to make it a one-goal game, but Brampton would seal the win with an empty-net goal.
The Jackals made several roster moves ahead of tonight's match with the Royals. The team added forward J.P. LaFontaine to the roster after claiming him off waivers last week. The second-year pro won the Kelly Cup with the Allen Americans last season and skated in nine games with Allen to begin this season, contributing three points (1g, 2a).
Tuesday, the Jackals and Rochester Americans (AHL) swapped goalies, with John Muse getting recalled to Rochester and rookie Jason Kasdorf being reassigned to Elmira. Kasdorf, a 6th round pick by the Winnipeg Jets in 2011 started three games for the Amerks this season after making his NHL debut with the Buffalo Sabres at the end of last season.
Forwards Vaclav Karabacek, a Buffalo Sabres 2nd round draft pick in 2014, and Matt Lane were reassigned to the Jackals early Friday.
Defenseman Brycen Martin, who has appeared in 10 games for the Jackals and scored his first pro goal Nov. 19, was recalled to Rochester for the second time this season on Sunday. The Jackals traded Daultan Leveille to Wichita for future considerations and also released forwards Todd Christian and Colin Murray to set their roster before the weekend.
This weekend marks the first three-in-three for the Jackals this season, as they host Reading and Manchester following Thanksgiving. Elmira will play 10 three-in-threes during the regular season, but don't have another one until January.
After this weekend, the next three-in-three for the Jackals will be Jan. 20-22, when they play three straight games in Manchester. That will begin a stretch of three straight weekends of three-in-threes.
Last season, the Jackals had just four instances of three games in three nights.
Scouting the Royals
Reading has its their last seven games, going 0-6-1-0 in that stretch, to fall to 6-8-1-1 on the season. The Royals did pick up a point in their last game, an overtime loss to the Manchester Monarchs. With 14 points, they are in fifth place in the North Division. It is also the first game of a three-in-three for the Royals, who return home for two against the Cincinnati Cyclones to conclude the weekend.
Reading is 24th in the ECHL, allowing 3.81 goals per game through its first 16 games. During their seven game losing streak, the Royals have given up 34 goals, an average of 4.86 per game. In goal, Mark Dekanich has appeared in 11 of 16 games and is 3-6-1-1 with a 3.61 goals-against average and an .891 save percentage. He has lost six straight decisions (0-5-1-0) since Nov. 9.
Offensively the Royals have seven players with at least 10 points this season. Chris McCarthy leads the team with 15 points (7g, 8a) in just 13 games. Olivier Labelle is second with 14 points (6g, 8a) and Mike Pereira, who has 11 points (6g, 5a) leads the team with three game-winning goals.
Tonight is the second of 10 matches between the Jackals and Royals in 2016-17 DeMet's Candy Cup Challenge. The teams played in the season opener Oct. 15, with Reading skating away with a 6-2 win over the Jackals.
Charlie Mosey and Mike Radja scored the two goals for the Jackals in the first match, with both goals coming on the power play. Andy Iles got the start in the season opener, making 32 saves in the loss.
Five players scored a goal for the Royals in the season opener against Elmira, with Olivier Labelle netting two goals to lead all scorers. Mark Dekanich made 18 saves to earn the win for the Royals.
Reading's power play is 0-for-11 over the last three games and, after a hot start to the season, has leveled off at 14th in the ECHL, converting on 18.6% of power plays (11-for-59). The Royals were 2-for-4 in the season opener against the Jackals.
The Jackals power play went 1-for 3 on the power play in their last game Nov. 19 against Brampton, improving to to 7-for-40 (17.5%) with the man advantage, ranking 17th in the league. They went 2-for-8 in the first match with the Royals Oct. 15.
The Royals are last in the ECHL on the penalty kill, successfully killing off just 69.4% of opponent's power plays. They have allowed a league-high 19 power-play goals in 62 shorthanded opportunities. Reading is tied for third with four shorthanded goals, including a league-best three on the road. They have allowed at least one power-play goal in 14 of their 16 games this season.
The Jackals penalty kill was a perfect 7-for-7 in the last four games against Brampton and is now 18-for-20 (90.0%) in the last eight games. On the season they are 29-for-36 (80.6%) on the penalty kill, ranking 22nd in the league. They have been shorthanded fewer than any other team in the league.