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ROYALS WIN SIXTH STRAIGHT

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
Reading, PA – The Reading Royals (26 – 24 – 6 = 58; t-3rd North Division) broke a late game tie with a goal by John Snowden to beat the Johnstown Chiefs, 3-2, extending the team's season high win streak to six games. Goaltender Yutaka Fukufuji (8 – 5 – 0; 23/25) made several big stops at big moments to extend his personal win streak to four games.


Johnstown got on the board first 10:48 into the game when Grant Jacobsen took control of a loose puck at the right side of the Royals' net after Fukufuji made a brilliant stop on a shot from the right circle by defenseman Doug Andress. Jacobsen was able to quickly go around the goal and, before Fukufuji was able to recover, wrapped it in at the left pipe for his fifth goal of the season. Reading tied the game at one 2:35 later with a power play by defenseman Bryan Schmidt, who was playing in his first game for the Royals since by assigned to Reading from the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL. Schmidt took control of the puck at the left point and ripped a blast that beat Johnstown goaltender, Ryan Munce, who appeared completely screened by the Royals' Malcolm MacMillan.

After a scoreless second period, the Royals took their first lead of the game at the 10:43 mark of the third period, moments after Fukufuji made a game saving stop on Brandon Elliott, who was seeking to finish on a two-on-one break with Eric Przepiorka. Instead of falling behind, the Royals regrouped after a stoppage, and Joe Zappala broke up ice with John Snowden and Brett Smith. Zappala found Snowden in the mid-slot, where he fired a shot that pinballed off several bodies before falling to the crease. At that point, Smith was able to battle for control and force it home for his nineteenth goal of the season (and his third as a member o the Royals).

Johnstown bounced back to re-tie the game at two with a power play goal 2:42 later. With the Chiefs power play unit pressing hard and Reading's penalty killers unable to clear the zone, Zbynek Hrdel took a shot from the left circle that Fukufuji stopped, but the rebound fell to the right side of the crease where Gus Katsuras banged it in for his fifth of the season. The Royals bounced back themselves for what proved to be the game winner 1:36 later (with just 4:59 remaining in the game) when Rob LaLonde fired a shot towards the Johnstown net from the high slot. Snowden, floating out front, was able to re-direct the shot through the legs of Munce for his eleventh goal of the season–five of which have proven to be game winners.

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