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by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
Trenton, NJ – The Reading Royals (18 – 18 – 5 = 41; t-2nd North Division) trailed three times in the early going but were able to draw on some resiliency and match the intensity of the Trenton Titans long enough to hang around and eventually pull away from the Titans down the stretch and win, 6-3. Trenton scored first and led 3-2 at the end of one, but Reading scored three goals within a span of 4:18 early in the second to build a two goal lead that the Royals would not relinquish. For the third consecutive day, the Royals got outstanding goaltending from Jeff Pietrasiak (10 – 11 – 1; 30/33), who has played nineteen of the last twenty for Reading.

Trenton capitalized on their first power play of the game, when Mike Pandolfo slipped a brilliant back door feed off the right wing half wall to Scott Bertoli, who slid in at the left side of the net to tap in his sixth goal of the season 5:04 into the game. The Royals answered 1:47 later on their first power play of the game when John Snowden took a hard shot out of the left circle on which Trenton's goaltender Gregg Naumenko (9 – 4 – 3; 12/17 in 25:35) made the original stop. Reading crashed the net, and Chris Bala was able to slip the loose puck into the right side of the net for his seventeenth of the season. Trenton came right back on their second power play of the afternoon to take a 2-1 lead when Mike Pandolfo ripped a snap shot off the top of the right circle that appeared to hit the stick of a Royals' defender and go over Pietrasiak's left shoulder for Pandolfo's league leading twenty-ninth goal of the season at the 9:23 mark of the first. Reading re-tied the game at two at the 15:27 mark of the first when Jason Becker started a transition rush with a deft pass up the left wing wall to the hard charging Bala, who carried deep on the left side before throwing a saucer to the center of the ice where the trailing Shawn Collymore took a one timer that ringed off three different pipes before going in for his ninth of the season. Trenton, however, took their third lead of the game at 3-2 fifty-six seconds later, when a Titan forward ran into Pietrasiak causing him to lose his stick and be pushed out of position. The puck slid to the right point where James Pemberton stepped up a ripped a hard slap shot that slipped through Pietrasiak who was attempting to get back into position without his stick. For Pemberton that was his first goal as a pro.

In the second, the Royals rang off three quick unanswered goals, starting 1:17 into the period with a power play goal by Greg Hogeboom who redirected a shot from the high slot by Becker behind Naumenko for Hogeboom's twenty-second of the year. The Royals took their first lead of the game 1:43 later when Bala stole a puck at the offensive blue line, walked into the left circle and ripped a blast low short-side on Naumenko for his second of the game and eighteenth of the season. Reading finished the scoring spree with their third power play goal of the game (in eight chances) on a blast by Becker from the high slot at the 5:35 mark of the second. That goal chased Naumenko, who was replaced by Joel Martin (no decision; 16/17 in 34:25). The lone goal against Martin came in the third when Ned Lukacevic stole a puck in front of the Trenton net and took a quick back hand that beat Martin glove side at the 12:34 mark of the third period. But, more importantly from Reading's perspective, the Royals were able to play smart and simple with the lead to run their record to 5 – 2 – 2 in nine games against the Titans this season.

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