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by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
Charleston, SC – The Reading Royals (27 – 27 – 6 = 60; 5th North Division), clawed from behind and battled to the bitter end in a 3-2 loss to the South Carolina Stingrays. The Royals scored first but fell behind on a five-on-three power play goal and could not make up a two goal deficit despite a valiant comeback effort with a depleted roster.

Goaltender Yutaka Fukufuji (9 – 8 – 0; 33/36) kept Reading in the game with several important stops, but took his second consecutive loss in two days against the Stingrays. The Royals power play was blanked on five chances with the man advantage, extending a dry spell on the power play which has extended to 21 opportunities with the extra skater over the last four games.

Reading struck first 6:44 into the game when Malcolm MacMillan picked up his ninth goal of the season by forcing a loose puck under a South Carolina defender and through Stingray goaltender Davis Parley (28 – 16 – 6; 22/24) after a wild scrum around the South Carolina goal. The Stingrays tied the game at one at the 17:06 mark of the first when Cam McCaffrey took a hard slap shot from the high slot that Viktor Dovgan, who was planted at the top of the crease, deflected behind Fukufuji for his fifth of the season.

In the second, the Royals found themselves two men short when defenseman Lee Green was called for cross-checking Matt Stephanision in front of the Reading goal while the Royals were already playing a man down. In the ensuing five-on-three, former Royal Cail MacLean took control at the left side of the net and attempted to throw a back-door pass to a teammate on the far side of the crease. However, a Royals' defender stuck a stick on the pass attempt and deflected it into the Royals' goal at the 6:49 mark of the second. For MacLean, that was his twenty-second goal of the season.

1:48 later, after the expiration of the back end of the five on three, but before the Royals could get a stoppage in play, the Stingrays struck to make it 3-1. Dovgan carried to the left circle and dropped an against the grain pass to Stephanision who was planted on the right side of the slot. Stephanishion ripped a quick snap shot under the bar for his fourteenth of the season–and his second in two days against the Royals.

In the third, the Royals made a game of it, when Joe Zappala dug a puck off the right wing half wall and drilled a quick snap shot under the bar for his seventeenth of the season just 1:06 into the period. However, the Royals were unable to tie things up down the stretch despite a couple of offensive flurries through the remaining 18:54.

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