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by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
Bristol, PA – The Royals scored first (and early), but it was the only lead the team would hold, dropping a 5-3 decision in the back-end in the "home-and-home away from home" pre-season series against the Trenton Titans at the Grundy Recreation Center in Bristol, Pennsylvania.

After Trenton took a 2-1 lead early in the second, Reading battled back to tie the game at two, but the Titans rang off three consecutive goals–two of them in an energetic third period–and for the second day in a row got solid netminding from Joel Martin (who made 33 stops on 36 shots) to hold off the Royals down the stretch.

Six of the eight goals scored in this one–including all three of Reading's goals–were scored on the power play, as Reading ended up 3 for 12 with the man advantage, while Trenton was 3 for nine. Ryan Munce got his first start as a member of the Royals and stopped 25 of the 30 shots he faced.

Reading capitalized on the team's first power play of the night 1:39 into the game, when Dave Borrelli found James Hiebert in the mid slot for a one-timer. Hiebert launched a high, hard rocket that beat Trenton goaltender, Joel Martin glove side. Trenton responded with a power play rocket of their own at the 11:54 mark of the first.

With the Titans on a four-on-three advantage, defenseman Rossario Ruggeri took a feed at the top of the left circle and uncorked one that beat Reading goaltender, Ryan Munce to the far (glove) side. Trenton took their first lead of the game with 2:30 remaining in the first with their second power play goal of the afternoon. Peter Zingoni started the play from behind the Royals net, finding Les Haggett planted low in the left circle. Haggett got great wood on a one-timer that whistled by Munce and into the net to make it 2-1 Trenton after one.

The Royals tied things at two 7:37 into the second period with their second power play goal of the game. As the Royals created pressure in the offensive end, James Hiebert took possession in the left wing corner and walked up the wall, dishing off to John Snowden at the top of the left circle. As Hiebert went down the slot and to the net, Snowden, who still had possession of the puck, followed.

When Snowden reached the mid-slot, he unloaded a high, hard snap shot that beat Martin blocker side. Despite creating a number of scoring chances–particularly the line of Greg Hogeboom, Arpad Mihaly and Shawn Collymore–the Royals were unable to find pay dirt through the remainder of the second; and late in the period, Trenton regained the lead when Reading's forwards got caught too low in the offensive end, allowing the Titan's line of Troy Riddle, Les Haggett and John Laliberte, to break hard into the Royals' zone. The end result of that rush was a clean look for Laliberte in the slot, and he didn't waste the chance ripping one behind Munce with just 1:36 remaining in the period to make it 3-2 Trenton after two.

The majority of the third period belonged to the Titans, who came out with good energy and capitalized 2:03 into the period with a five-on-three power play goal. Jay Pemberton made a nice diagonal feed from the top of the right circle across the ice to the low left circle, where Mike Manley settled and fired to make it 4-2, Trenton.

The Titans scored their third consecutive goal 6:13 into the third when a chip out of the defensive zone slipped behind the Royals defenders and allowed the Titans to break two-on-one. John Laliberte's feed from the right side of the net went under a sprawling Ryan Munce, and Justin Maiser received it on the other side and re-directed the puck into the net to make it 5-2, Titans. The Royals seemed to regain their energy in the latter stages of the third and picked up a power play goal off the rush with 6:52 remaining in the game.

Greg Hogeboom carried into the offensive end with speed and got a shot on net, which was rejected by the Titan's goaltender, Martin, but it appeared that it was Arpad Mihaly who put the rebound in; however the goal was credited to John Snowden. Reading pressured down the stretch but Martin was up to the task, and Trenton took its second pre-season game from the Royals in as many days.

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