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ROYALS FALL IN OT IN TOLEDO

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
Toledo, OH – The Reading Royals (30 – 30 – 7 = 67; t-4th North Division) scored two third period power play goals to get to overtime, where the Toledo Storm scored with eleven seconds remaining to take the two points, 3-2. Reading entered the third period trailing by two goals–each of which were of the hard-luck variety–but broke a string of seventeen consecutive power plays without a goal (over three games) with a five-on-three goal early in the third, which was followed by a game tying PPG later in the period. Goaltender Jeff Pietrasiak (14 – 17 – 3; 48/51 in 64:49) was spectacular in net for the Royals but took the overtime loss.


Toledo struck first 14:10 into the game, when Dinos Stamoulis carried from the Storm defensive zone on a transition rush. Stamoulis stopped at the right wing half-wall and threw a diagonal feed towards the top of the crease, where his teammate Andrew Martin was charging. Martin was well covered by Royals' defenseman Shawn Germain, who reached out to intercept the pass, but in doing so re-directed the puck behind Pietrasiak who had slid to the far side of the net anticipating the intended location of the pass. The goal was credited to Stamoulis–the first of his pro career. Toledo took a 2-0 lead 4:55 into the second period on a classic Toledo Sports Arena crazy hop goal. The Royals were pressing on the power play, and Stamoulis stole deep in his defensive zone and flipped an end-to-end clearing shot. The puck slid into the right corner of the Royals' defensive zone and appeared destined to skirt along the baseboard behind the Reading goal. Petrasiak stepped behind the net in anticipation of controlling the puck, but before it got there, it hit a bad joint in the boards and deflected to the front of the Royals' unprotected net. An alert Nick Parillo was right there to tap in the short-handed goal to give the Storm the two goal lead.

In the third, the Royals took advantage of an early five-on-three power play, when the team pounded Storm goaltender Ervins Mustukovs (7 – 5 – 1; 37/39 in 64:49) with a series of shots. Mustukovs stood up to the challenge until Joe Zappala took control in the right corner and ripped a back door feed to John Snowden who was planted low in the left circle. Snowden finished with a hard one-timer into the unguarded left side of the net for his twelfth goal of the season. On the Royals' fourth power play chance of the third period, the team again pressed hard on Mustukovs and the Storm penalty killers. After a long sequence of frenetic play around the net, Brett Smith, while falling to his back at the top of the crease, was able to find the loose puck and somehow chip it over Mustukovs to tie the game at the 6:28 mark of the third. For Smith that marked his twenty-third goal of the season and his seventh in twenty games with the Royals. The Storm then pressed hard themselves in the latter stages of the third–and through overtime–bombarding Pietrasiak with a total of 24 shots in the final 24:49. Toledo finally broke through with eleven seconds left in the overtime, on a delayed penalty call against the Royals, when Chris Blight was able to dig the puck out of the right corner and drill a beautiful pass on the back door to an unguarded Jason Maleyko, who had stepped down from the left point to the mid slot, where he uncorked a snap shot that beat Pietrasiak to give the Storm the overtime win.

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