Reading, PA – With the team's roster depleted to the bare minimum, the Reading Royals (15-6-2=32) fell behind as the result of two first period power play goals by the Fresno Falcons but were able to muster enough energy and effort to pull within a goal by the late stages of the third period. The Royals took several solid stabs at tying the game in the waning moments–the last few with the goaltender pulled and the sixth attacker on the ice–but the comeback attempt fell just short as the Royals failed to win at home for the fourth consecutive time, losing to Fresno, 3-2.
The Falcons got on the board first when Pete Fregoe redirected a Shawn Wieman shot from the point while Fresno was on their third power play of the game–and shortly after the front end of a five on three power play had expired–11:52 into the first period. Fresno took a 2-0 lead on their fifth power play chance of the first period, when Luke Curtain ripped one from the mid slot that beat the Royals' goaltender, Barry Brust high to the stick side at the 19:08 mark.
After a scoreless second period, the Falcons took a three-nothing lead 5:25 into the third when an errant "d-to-d" pass was picked off by Fresno's Brett Hammond who walked in all alone to beat Brust. The Royals, however, refused to go away quietly. With no fewer than seven players in the AHL, one on the injured reserve, two others unable to suit up because of injury, and another player a late game-time decision to play despite injury, the twelve remaining Royals somehow found enough gas in the tank to finish with a flurry. It started when Mike Kompon charged the net out of the right wing corner, while the Royals were on the power play 12:58 into the third, and Shay Stephenson was able to punch in the ensuing loose puck to make it 3-1. Then, later in the period, while playing short-handed, Chris Bala stole a loose puck in the neutral zone and sped into the offensive end and beat Fresno goaltender, Brett Jaeger, to make it a one goal game with 4:39 remaining. In the closing moments, the Royals pulled out all the stops and created at least six quality scoring chances, but Fresno was able to hold on and hand the Royals the loss.
For more information on the Reading Royals visit thier official team website at www.royalshockey.com