Photo by Justin Strohm
Photo by Justin Strohm

Assemble the traps and call Elmer Fudd because it’s wabbit-hunting season in northeast Pennsylvania. For the first time this season, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits make their first appearance at Santander Arena for a pair of games.

It will be the first time since February 27th these two teams matched up in which Reading fell in a shootout (6-5) to the Greenville Road Warriors on home ice.

This will be one of 4 meetings this season between Reading and Greenville. All of the games will be this month and will take place at Santander Arena.

Reading is currently 3-3-0 and are coming off a 5-2 loss to Orlando Solar Bears last Saturday night. The Royals are in the middle of a six-game homestand and are in a tie for third in the North Division with Norfolk, 10th in the Eastern Conference.

The Royals are currently lead by rookie Justin Crandall (9 points in 6 games,) while the goaltending duo of Connor Knapp and Martin Ouellette have been swapping back and forth with Ouellette having the most wins at 2. I would expect to see both goalies this weekend as there is no number one at the moment.

After the loss of Kevin Sundher to Lehigh Valley, there is the chance the Royals could have another forward in the fold this weekend. Sundher’s AHL stint started with a bang, as he scored the shootout winner in the 10th round to secure a 5-4 victory over Hershey at Giant Center last Sunday. It is possible Geoff Walker comes back into the Royals lineup.

Greenville is currently 3-5-0 and riding a 4-game losing streak. They are sitting 5th in the South division, 12th overall in the Eastern Conference and lost 4-2 Norfolk at the Scope Friday night.

The Swamp Rabbits are currently lead by ECHL vet Jack Combs (9 points in 8 games.) Greenville currently has three  goalies after the assignment of Mackenzie Skapski from AHL Hartford. Allen York is still waiting his first win as a Swamp Rabbit (0-3-0) while Skapski has played only two ECHL games, including Friday night’s loss.

Greenville added some scoring punch the other day as they signed former P-Bruins forward Jordan Knackstedt and dumped former Royal and 2-time Kelly Cup champion Nikita Kashirsky. The AHL vet of 210 makes his 2nd ECHL stint (Bakersfield ’13-’14) in which he had 51 points in 69 games and also racked up 101 penalty minutes. Another player to keep your eyes on is ex-Jackals forward Ryan Rashid, who has seem to find his stride since being acquired in offseason. The forward currently has 5 points in 7 games and is on pace for more production than his Elmira days.

The Swamp Rabbits also have some grit, with veteran Emerson Clark who had 217 penalty minutes last season. Clark is a guy who will stand up for your team. Also former Royal d-man Rob Kwiet is back in the ECHL and with Greenville.

The Royals and Swamp Rabbits will begin battle Saturday night 7:00 and will play game two Sunday afternoon 5:00.

There are a couple of additional hockey games this weekend before Royals action. Saturday is the annual Army vs. Navy game at 1:30 and also includes a skills competition. Sunday, the Alvernia University Crusaders take on Bucknell University Bison at 1:00.

Both games are free to the public and fans are encouraged to stop by and check out the games.

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