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by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
Wheeling, WV – Playing with a short bench and just seven regular forwards, the Reading Royals (27 – 25 – 6 = 60; 3rd North Division) battled the Wheeling Nailers to a two-two tie through 65 minutes of game time and then won in a shootout, 3-2. The Royals got goals from former Nailer Bill Downey, who scored the game's first goal (and his first as a Royal in only his second game with the team), and Jon Francisco, who picked up a four-on-four goal late in the first period. Yutaka Fukufuji (9 – 6 – 0; 43/45; 4/5, shootout) made forty-three stops during the hockey action and stopped four of five in the shootout to pick up his fifth win in his last six starts.

Reading struck first 4:52 into the game when Downey settle and shot from the mid-slot. Downey's wrister hit Wheeling goaltender Andrew Penner in the right shoulder and fluttered over him and into the net for Downey's first goal of the season.

Wheeling tied the game at one at the 15:57 mark of the first when Joe Guenther took a hard snap shot from low in the right circle that appeared to beat Fukufuji to the short side for his twenty-fifth goal of the season. 1:13 later, with the teams playing four aside, Eric Werner sprang Chris Bala through the neutral zone with a pass up the left wing side. Bala carried deep into the offensive end, working one-on-one against Grant McNeill of the Nailers. Bala slipped a pass through McNeill to the hard-charging Jon Francisco, who had joined the rush down the middle of the slot. Francisco picked up his fifth goal of the season when he quickly fired to beat Penner, who was moving from his right to left in an attempt to get back for the shot.

1:18 after that, Wheeling re-tied the game when Paul Bissonnette took a wrist shot from the left point that Adam Edinger, who was planted in front of the Reading goal, re-directed between the legs of Fukufuji for his fourth goal of the season at the 18:28 mark of the first. The teams traded periodic opportunities in what was tight, scoreless hockey through the remaining 46:32 of game time, thus requiring the shootout to resolve it.

In the shootout, only Jordan Cameron, shooting third for the Nailers, could beat Fukufuji. The Royals responded with goals from Bryan Schmidt and Chris Bala, shooting fourth and fifth, respectively, to take the win. The Royals are now 3-5 in the shootout and 4-6 in games that go beyond regulation.

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