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by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
Toledo, OH – The Reading Royals (30 – 30 – 6 = 66; 5th North Division) played lackluster hockey through the majority of the game and spotted the Toledo Storm to a 3-0 lead by the early stages of the third period before mounting a spirited comeback, which fell short, resulting in a 3-2 loss. This one was a relatively typical Toledo Sports Arena game, where the goals resulted from the nasty, gritty, grimy play in front of the nets. Royals goaltender Jeff Pietrasiak (14 – 17 – 2; 6/7 in 13:02), who came in when Yutaka Fukufuji (no decision; 28/30 in 46:05) sustained an injury 6:05 into the third period, gave up the game winning goal 54 seconds after entering the game and was saddled with the loss.

Toledo scored first 16:23 into the game when Matt Zultek forced his way to the front of the Royals' net where a scramble ensued, and Zultek was able to backhand the loose puck from the top of the crease behind Fukfuji for his twenty-second goal of the season. The Storm took a 2-0 lead at the 13:20 mark of the second on their first power play chance of the night. Andrew Martin threw a pass out of the right corner that Chris Blight was able to corral at the top of the crease and fire in for his twenty-third goal of the year. At the 6:05 mark of the third, Fukufuji sustained an apparent injury after a collision with Blight while making a brilliant sprawling stop on a Storm forward, who appeared to have time, space and opportunity in the low slot. The Royals then brought in Pietrasiak who made an excellent kick stop on a shot from the left point through traffic with the left pad on his first save. However, moments later, Toledo created a transition rush which left Blight with the puck on the right wing half wall. Blight threw the puck to the slot net where Bruce Mulherin, who was charging towards the goal, was able to redirect it with an angled stick behind Pietrasiak at the 6:59 mark of the third to make it 3-0 Storm.

The Royals got on the board 1:40 later when Ned Lukacevic took a shot out of the right circle that was blocked, but fluttered in the air and landed in the mid-slot where Lee Green took a whack at it. Green connected, drilling the puck between the legs of Logan Koopmans (14 – 6 – 0; 20/22) for his second of the season–and first as a Royal. Reading made it a game with 2:03 remaining after another wild scramble in front of the net, which ended when Joe Zappala forced the puck through Koopmans for his twenty-first of the year. The Royals pressed down the stretch, but despite a couple of close calls were not able to bag the game tying goal.

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