Dayton , OH –The Reading Royals (42-21-7=91) never had their legs or the lead in a disheartening 4-2 loss Saturday night to the Dayton Bombers. This marked Reading's the first loss of the season at the E.J. Nutter Center in Dayton and, although the Royals remained in first place in the North Division of the American Conference of the ECHL, this loss put Reading in a position of scoreboard watching down the stretch in the battle for the top slot in the North.
Dayton struck first when Tim Konsorada carried the puck deep into the left wing corner and flipped a back-hand to the top of the Royals' crease. Rookie Dan Knapp, a recent addition to the Bombers, charged to the front of the net and batted the puck out of mid-air to beat Royals' goaltender, Yutaka Fukufuji (5/6 in 15:19), at the 6:23 mark of the first. Although there was no further scoring in the first, the Royals substituted Cody Rudkowsky (24-9-3, 29/32) for Fukufuji, when it appeared that Fukufuji sustained a leg injury mid-way into the period. In the second, the Royals tied things at one, when Malcolm Macmillan was pulled down on the left wing half-wall, and the referee raised his arm to signal the impending penalty against the Bombers.
MacMillan was able to slide the puck to Jason Kostadine who stepped into the mid-slot and rip the puck behind Dayton goaltender, Mike Ayers, at the 13:34 mark of the second. In the third, the Bombers regained the lead when a defensive miscue behind the Royals' net resulted in a loose puck in front of the goal which Dayton defender, Mark Flood, stepped up and buried 1:18 into the period. The Royals responded to tie things at two with a five-on-three power play goal by Eric Werner. Larry Courville and Chris Bala forced the play with an aggressive forecheck and found Werner in the high slot.
Werner stepped down and blasted a slap shot high stick side on Ayers to make it 2-2. But the Bombers responded seventeen seconds later, when Dayton won possession of the puck on a defensive zone face-off and A.J. MacLean chipped to himself off the wall and out of the zone. This not only allowed MacLean to slip around a Royals' defender, but also created an odd-man rush into the offensive end. MacLean fed from the left wing side to the hard-charging Andy Cote who slipped it behind Rudkowsky to give the Bombers their third lead of the night at 3-2.
Dayton would not relinquish that lead and, in fact, would add insurance when Paul Kelly scored a five-on-three power play goal at the 17:25 mark to snap an 0 for 70 string on the power play for the Bombers–and ensure the Bombers their first win in seventeen games.