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ROYALS PULL OUT OT WIN IN CINCY, 4-3

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
Cincinnati, OH – The Reading Royals (28 – 28 – 6 = 62; 5th North Division), snapped a three game losing streak with a come from behind overtime win over the Cincinnati Cyclones, 4-3. Rookie Michael Cohen, playing in only his fourth game as a pro, scored 5:35 into the third period to tie the game at three; and Malcolm MacMillan scored the game winner in overtime with just 1:25 remaining to pull out the two points for Reading. Goaltender Yutaka Fukufuji (10 – 9 – 0; 31/34) withstood the Cincinnati attack to pick up his tenth win of the season.


The Cyclones struck 1:33 into the game, when Mike Wirll sprang Travis Lisabeth on a long breakaway. Lisabeth went to the net and deked from left to right before trying to jam the puck at the right post. Fukufuji made a sprawling stop, kicking the puck out with his left pad. The Royals' defense and Fukufuji lost sight of the puck, however, as it slid to the mid-slot where Chad Starling, who was trailing the play, was able to bang it in for his third of the year. Reading tied the game with a power play goal on the team's first opportunity with the man advantage at the 9:28 mark of the first.

After a scrum on the wall in the offensive end, Cohen dug the puck out of the right corner and sent a pass to the mid-slot where Jon Francisco teed up a one-timer that beat Dov Grumet-Morris (11 – 8 – 3; 20/24) for his sixth goal of the season. Reading took a 2-1 lead at the 12:43 of the first when Chris Bala tracked down a loose puck deep in the offensive zone on the right side. Bala floated the puck to defenseman Rob LaLonde who stepped up and put the puck on net, which Grumet-Morris stopped. The rebound fell to the top of the crease where a battle ensued and Joe Zappala forced it in for his nineteenth goal of the season.

After a long stretch of give-and-take between the teams, Cincinnati tied the game at two late in the second period when Billy Irish-Baker battled along the end wall for the puck, took control and forced his way to the front of the net, where he was able to bag his first goal as a pro with just 1:49 remaining in the period. The Cyclones then regained the lead 2:39 into the third with a power play goal. Wirll took possession in the left corner, walked up the wall and then cut to the center of the ice, where he took a snap shot on net. The puck was blocked in a wild scramble in front of the Royals' goal; but Wirll found his own rebound and put it back in for his league leading forty-first goal of the season.

Reading re-tied the game at the 5:25 mark of the third with Cohen's first goal as a pro. Zappala dug the puck off the wall in the defensive zone and sprang Brett Smith with a pass. Smith carried into the offensive end on the left wing side and ripped a slap shot that was headed towards the short side. Grumet-Morris got enough of the puck with his blocker to cause it to go wide of the goal, but it ricocheted off the end wall and came out on the right side of the net where a charging Cohen one-timed it home. In overtime, the teams traded chances until the Royals flipped a soft dump into the offensive zone. Grumet-Morris came out into the right circle to play the puck, but his clearing attempt was knocked down by MacMillan who was able to stick-handle around the goaltender and cut right to left towards the front of the net. Despite converging defenders from Cincinnati–one of whom went to the front of the empty net in an attempt to thwart MacMillan's shot–MacMillan was able to lift the puck into the upper portion of the goal for the Royals' second overtime win of the season.

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