Cincinnati, OH – The Reading Royals (15 – 15 – 4 = 34; 3rd North Division) clawed their way back from a two goal deficit in the last two minutes to get to a shootout and ultimately defeat the Cincinnati Cyclones, 5-4. Reading held two leads in the early stages of the game, but the Royals, despite outshooting Cincinnati 42-24, found themselves trailing by two late in the third before goals by Chris Bala and Greg Hogeboom re-tied the game at four. After a scoreless overtime, the Royals won their first shootout in five tries this season with twenty year old rookie Ned Lukacevic scoring the winner in the sixth round. Goaltender Jeff Pietrasiak (7 – 8 – 0; 20/24; 5/6 in shootout) broke a personal four game losing streak by winning his first pro shootout.
Reading scored first 2:54 into the game when Shawn Collymore won an offensive zone face-off to Dany Roussin, who was planted at the top of the left circle. Roussin fired a wrist shot through traffic that whistled over the right shoulder of Cincinnati's goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris (4 – 4 – 2; 38/42; 4/6 in shootout) for Roussin's third goal of the season for Reading. The Cyclones bounced back quickly to tie the game at one on their first power play 5:17 into the first on a brilliant back-door feed from Rory Rawlyk to Jean-Michel Daoust. Rawlyk carried the puck deep on the left wing side and then slipped a pass across the top of the crease to Daoust who snuck in at the right side of the net to tap in his eleventh of the season.
Reading regained the lead 1:25 into the second when Lukacevic sent Collymore charging towards the Cincinnati end. Collymore in turn hit Hogeboom with a pass as he flew deep on the right wing side into the Cyclones' zone. Hogeboom then carried low into the right circle where he ripped a bullet that beat Grumet-Morris short side for his eighteenth of the season. 47 seconds later, however, the Cyclones re-tied the game at two when Daoust scored his second of the night on a one-time snap shot from between the hashmarks that slipped through Pietrasiak.
In the third, the Cyclones took their first lead of the night 1:12 into the period on their second power play goal of the night. Daoust attacked the right side of the Royals' net, and as Pietrasiak and the Royals defense converged on him, Daoust was able to slip a pass back to Jason Deitsch, who was planted at the top of the Reading crease. Deitsch quickly fired it home for his sixteenth of the season. The Cyclones took a two-goal lead at the 14:40 mark of the third when they converted on an odd man rush. Deitsch broke up ice with Sam Ftorek on a clean two-on-one. Deitsch fed Ftorek as they charged towards the Royals' net, and Ftorek's shot went off the lone Reading defender's stick into the upper reaches of the net as Pietrasiak was attempting a sprawling stack pad slide from pipe to pipe. With time running down the Royals drew within one when Hogeboom one-timed a Lukacevic pass from the left point. Although Hogeboom's stick disintegrated on the shot, he got enough of it to bounce it in on goal, where Chris Bala found the rebound and buried it for his fourteenth of the season with just 2:04 remaining. Reading tied it in dramatic fashion with just 59.8 seconds left when Lukacevic dumped a puck into the Cincinnati zone on the left wing side. Joe Zappala won the race for the puck on the left wall and immediately fired a hard pass to the top of the crease, where a crashing Hogeboom redirected the puck over top a sprawling Grumet-Morris for his second of the night and nineteenth of the season.
After a scoreless overtime, the teams went to a shootout, which the Royals won for the first time in five tries this year, outscoring the Cyclones 2-1 in six rounds. Hogeboom and Lukacevic (shooting sixth) scored for the Royals (Collymore, Roussin, Kevin Saurette and James Hiebert missed); while only Daoust could solve Pietrasiak for the Cyclones (Cory Urquhart, Deitsch, Barret Ehgoetz, John Gleed, and Ftorek missed).