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Royals Bring Back Forward Matt Herneisen

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  • Royals Media Relations Department
    Reading Royals eNews Royals Bring Back Forward Matt Herneisen Last Season’s Team Captain Returns For Second Year In Reading Reading, PA – The Reading
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 31, 2008
      Reading Royals eNews
      Reading Royals eNews
      Royals Bring Back Forward Matt Herneisen

      Last Season’s Team Captain Returns For Second Year In Reading

      Reading, PA – The Reading Royals of the ECHL, affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League and the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League, today announced that the team has signed forward Matt Herneisen [“her NIZE ehn”]. Last season, Herneisen (6’1”/195 lbs) (26), who will be entering his sixth pro season, scored four goals, assisted on ten others, and registered 83 penalty minutes in a season limited to twenty-nine regular season games due to injury. Herneisen, who was acquired last year by the Royals in a pre-season trade with the Dayton Bombers and named team captain on January 8, 2008, also played in eight playoff games for Reading, during which he scored a goal, assisted on another and picked up twenty-three penalty minutes. Despite the injury-shortened season, Herneisen, who has undergone off-season lower-abdominal surgery, tied for the team lead with nine fighting majors.

      Herneisen, who hails from Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania, played minor hockey in the Junior Flyers AA program and ultimately earned a spot on the United States Junior National Team. After graduating from an Ann Arbor, Michigan, high school mid-way through the 1999-00 hockey season, Herneisen jumped from the national junior program to Canadian major junior hockey with the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League. Herneisen played three seasons in Peterborough, where he was twice named the team’s Humanitarian of the Year and played with several future NHL stars including Eric Staal. For his overage season in major junior, 2002-03, Herneisen was traded to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL, where he promptly took off, scoring twenty-seven goals and assisting on thirty-four others in sixty-eight games for the Greyhounds. For his efforts that year, Herneisen received the team’s Unsung Player award, as well as the Pete Taylor Memorial Trophy, which is given to the member of the team recognized as the “Players’ Player”. At the conclusion of that year, Herneisen was also nominated for the Leo Lalonde Award, which is given to the OHL’s overage player of the year, and the Hardest Worker Award in the OHL coaches’ poll.

      Herneisen quickly transitioned from junior to pro, joining the Trenton Titans late in 2003 for two regular season games and two playoff games. He began the following season in Trenton and played thirty-five games for the Titans, scoring four goals and adding eight assists and 105 penalty minutes, prior to being traded at the deadline to the Dayton Bombers, where he finished the 2003-04 season and played for the next three seasons. While with the Bombers, Herneisen scored a total of thirty-eight goals, assisted on forty-nine others (eighty-seven points) and picked up 416 penalty minutes in 173 regular season games. In his final season in Dayton, 2006-07, Herneisen racked up career highs in goals (seventeen) and points (thirty-five), while registering 103 penalty minutes and seven fighting majors.

      During the playoffs that year, the Bombers made a dramatic run to the ECHL’s Kelly Cup Finals, where they were ultimately defeated by the Idaho Steelheads. In the first game of that playoff run—a 6-3 win over Trenton in the North Division Semi-Finals—Herneisen scored a goal and picked up an assist. Midway into the first period of Game Two in that series, however, Herneisen was run into the boards and suffered a fractured cheekbone and a concussion. Trenton’s Pierre-Luc LeBlond was thrown out of the game for the hit, but Herneisen missed a full month of playoff action due to the injuries, finally returning for Game Six of the American Conference Finals against the Florida Everblades. After knocking off Florida in seven games, Dayton advanced to the championship finals and in Game Two of that series, Herneisen factored in both goals for the Bombers—scoring one and assisting on the other—in Dayton’s 5-2 loss to the Steelheads. Idaho went on to win the next three games and capture the Kelly Cup championship.

      During the off-season last year, Herneisen was acquired by the Royals in a trade that sent defenseman Taylor Christie to the Bombers. Herneisen’s 2007-08 season started with a bang that included two fighting majors in the Royals’ season opener in Trenton. The following night, Herneisen scored a goal in Reading’s 6-4 win over the Johnstown Chiefs. In fact, in the first nine games of the regular season, Herneisen had registered eight points, thanks in large part to two games in which he racked up three assists each (a 5-2 in Mississippi on October 27, 2007; and a 5-3 win over the Elmira Jackals on November 4, 2007). But injuries sidelined Herneisen for large chunks of the regular season, including about a month-and-a-half stint from early November to late December, 2007, and again for almost two full months late in the regular season—from the first of February through late March, 2008. However, when Herneisen returned to the Royals line-up on March 28, 2008, he promptly bagged the game winning goal in a 4-2 win over the Trenton Devils.

      Herneisen was able to manage and battle through his injury situation well enough to play in eight post-season games with Reading last year, including the critical and series’ clinching back-to-back wins over the Elmira Jackals in Games 5 and 6 of the North Division Semi-Finals. In Game Three of the Divisional Finals against the Cincinnati Cyclones, Herneisen scored his lone goal of the playoff season, but it proved to be a big one—tying that game (which the Royals won 5-2) at two with just 3:01 remaining in the second period.

      The Royals open the 2008-09 regular season against the Elmira Jackals on Friday, October 17, 2008 at First Arena in Elmira, New York. The Royals’ home opener is set for Saturday, October 25, 2008, when the Johnstown Chiefs visit the Sovereign Center. Royals’ full Season Tickets and Total Choice Flex Plans are now on sale. To obtain more information on becoming a part Royals’ hockey, call 610-898-PUCK to speak with Royals’ ticket representative or visit the Royals website, www.royalshockey.com.

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      © Copyright 2006 Reading Royals

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