Toledo, OH – The Reading Royals (3 – 3 – 3 = 9) could not hold a three goal lead as Toledo stormed from behind with a pair of third period goals separated by just 31 seconds to complete the comeback and win, 5-4. Reading squandered a hattrick performance by Arpad Mihaly (10g – 4a = 14pts) in the loss. For the second time this season, the Royals lost the services of goaltender Yutaka Fukufuji (no decision in 51:31; 32/36) who was felled in the process of Toledo's fourth and game-tying goal with just 8:29 remaining.
Reading struck first when Arpad Mihaly slipped a loose puck under Toledo goaltender Logan Koopmans (5 – 2 – 0; 30/34) that had made its way to the top of the crease thanks to good, hard work down low by Doug Christiansen and Dany Rousin 10:54 into the hockey game. 2:56 into the second period, Mihaly racked up his second of the night, when he took control low in the right circle and simply turned and wheeled a snap shot under the bar, while the Royals were on a five-on-three power play. 1:07 later, with the Royals still on the power play, Chris Bala started a rush through the neutral zone that was continued by Greg Hogeboom into the offensive end. Hogeboom forced his way to the net and forced the puck through Koopmans for his third goal of the season, which gave Reading a 3-0 lead. However, back-to-back goals by Toledo's Matt Zultek and Ken Magowan (which was scored on the power play) separated by only 2:13 (6:50 and 9:03 of the second period), made it a one goal game. Reading took a two goal lead (again) when Mihaly completed the trifecta off a rebound of a Shawn Germain shot from the point at the 13:23 mark of the second. But a mere 1:32 later, Toledo drew within one again (at 4-3) with another power play goal–this one by Chris Blight.
Toledo opened the gates in the third (outshooting Reading 13-9) and finally tied the game at the 11:31 mark when Mike Berry turned and blasted one out of the left circle that beat Fukufuji high to the short side. That goal, which came at the conclusion of a relentless Storm forecheck, sent Fukufuji to the ice (for the second time in the game) and ultimately required his removal. Toledo didn't take long to get to Ryan Munce (1 – 3 – 3; 3/4). Thirty-one seconds later, the Royals' defense got caught deep in the offensive end and Toledo transitioned with an odd man rush completed by a solid pass from Zultek to a charging Jamie Tardif who beat Munce on the back door with 7:58 remaining in regulation. As is becoming customary with the Royals, the team pressed in the late going but was unable to solve Koopmans in the comeback effort and lost, 5-4.
The Royals have Saturday as the team travels back to Reading; but the Royals are back in action on Sunday (4:35 pm) at the Sovereign Center against the Johnstown Chiefs when the first 1500 fans in attendance will receive a khaki-colored sergeant's hat courtesy of Yuengling Lager. Royals' game night broadcasts can be heard live on ESPN Radio 1240 am (and on the internet through the Royals' website, www.royalshockey.com, beginning thirty minutes before the opening faceoff.
For more information on the Reading Royals visit thier official team website at www.royalshockey.com