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by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
Reading, PA – The Reading Royals (14 – 13 – 4 = 32; t-1st North Division) broke open a third period tie with back-to-back goals 16 seconds apart to snap a three game losing streak with a 6-4 win over the Trenton Titans. The Royals fell behind 2-0 in the first period, but battled back to take the lead with three consecutive goals in the second before Trenton tied things up again at three by the conclusion of the second. Goaltender, Ryan Munce (5 – 6 – 4; 38/42) made a season high 38 stops, including 16 of 17 in the third, to pull out the win in his first start since December 6 for the Royals who were forced to play with a short bench because of call-ups and injuries.

Trenton struck early when Jim Henkel spun off his coverage in the left wing corner, went around the Reading net, and then slipped a back-door feed to Troy Riddle who had snuck down the slot to the left side of the net for a tap in (his eighth goal of the season) just 2:49 into the game. The Titans took a 2-0 lead on their first power play of the night when Benoit Mondou charged up ice and drilled a brilliant back-hander off the rush from a sharp angle in close over the left arm of Munce and into the net at the 7:15 mark of the first.

In the second, the Royals got on the board quickly with a power play goal of their own. Dany Roussin took a low slap shot from just inside the blue line that James Hiebert, who was backing in towards the Titan goal, was able to redirect into the lower right corner of the net behind goaltender Joel Martin (7 – 8 – 0; 32/37; 1 eng) for his tenth goal of the season just two minutes into the period. Fifty-two seconds later, Ned Lukacevic was the beneficiary of a Titan defensive zone turnover forced by the fore-check pressure of Larry Courville and Malcolm MacMillan. The puck was coughed up into the high slot where Lukacevic stole and uncorked a blast that beat Martin high glove side. The Royals took their first lead of the game at the 10:07 mark of the second when Greg Hogeboom forced a blast through Martin from the top of the right circle. While the teams were playing four aside, Roussin fed Hogeboom as he skated into the offensive end. Hogeboom then floated, while skating backwards across the slot, waiting for space to open up so he could fire a shot for his fifteenth goal of the season, which slipped through Martin despite the fact that he got a good chunk of it with his left arm. Trenton tied the game again–this time at three–when Jim Henkel won an offensive zone face-off to Scott Bertoli, who drilled a laser high to Munce's glove side at the 13:04 mark of the second.

In the third, the Royals broke the 3-3 tie at the 8:00 minute mark when Kevin Saurette took a feed from defenseman Rob LaLonde at the offensive blue line out of mid-air and was able to knock it down and push it up and behind a Trenton defender. Saurette was then able to slip around the Trenton defender, take control of the puck and chip it high glove side on Martin for his fifth goal of the season. Sixteen seconds later, the Royals picked up what proved to be the game winner, when Lukacevic and Chris Bala conspired to create a turnover in the offensive zone and feed Joe Zappala, who ripped a shot behind Martin for his eleventh goal of the season (and his team leading fourth game winner), making it 5-3 Reading. Trenton made it a one-goal game with just 1:48 remaining when Les Haggett knocked a loose puck in after a feed from the side of the net by Scott Bertoli. But the Royals shut the Titans down in the waning moments and Greg Hogeboom picked up an empty netter with just 15 seconds left to ice the victory.

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