Reading, PA – In a theme that has repeated itself all too often through the early going this season, the Reading Royals (3 – 4 – 3 = 9) fell behind in the first period and despite an energetic attack in the second and third periods could not get the goals they needed to pull off the comeback effort, losing to Johnstown, 5-3. The Chiefs scored the game's first three goals, but the Royals refused to fold the tent as they battled back to make it a one goal game twice–once at 3-2 thanks to a Greg Hogeboom short-handed penalty shot goal and once at 4-3 thanks to a Greg Hogeboom rebound goal with just 2:59 remaining in regulation. But, as has been the case in no fewer than seven of the Royals' ten games this year, the team and the comeback simply ran out of time.
Johnstown struck first moments after their first power play chance in the game had expired, when a sustained forecheck created a multiple shot rebound in front of Royals' goaltender, Ryan Munce (1 – 3 – 3; 20/24), which Gus Katsuras finally stuck in for his third goal of the season at the 8:16 mark of the first. The Chiefs took a 2-0 lead when Reading's defense got caught up ice, resulting in a cleanly executed two-on-one break for Radek Smolenak and Stanislav Lascek, which Lascek finished for his fourth goal of the season 14:24 into the first period. Lascek bagged his second of the night when he was the beneficiary of an Andrew Martens pass from the left circle that went off a skate of a player out in front of the Royals' net and directly to the stick of Lascek, who was unguarded at the top of the left circle. Lascek didn't waste his chance going top shelf with Munce down and out of position at the 18:46 mark for a power play goal. Thirty-four seconds later the Royals got on the board when an attempted pass from behind the net by Arpad Mihaly went off Johnstown's goaltender, Gerald Coleman (2 – 2 – 0; 32/35) and then off a Johnstown defender in the crease and then into the net. For Mihaly, the power play goal was his league-leading eleventh of the season.
In the second, the Royals made it a one-goal game, when Greg Hogeboom was hooked from behind on a short-handed breakaway at the 5:18 mark. Hogeboom was awarded a penalty shot on which he scored. This was the fourth penalty shot for the Royals in team history, and the first on which the team has scored. In the third, the Royals continued to press hard (Reading outshot Johnstown 27 – 9 over the last two periods), but Coleman was solid; and the Chiefs got some insurance at the 16:12 mark when David Spina buried a fifteen footer after he found himself all alone between the hashmarks with Munce down and out after a scramble in front of Reading's net. The Royals responded 49 seconds later when Greg Hogeboom solved Coleman for the second time in the game, putting back his own rebound from out in front of the Johnstown net. Once again, the Royals turned on the heat in the final three minutes; but an empty-net goal with .5 seconds remaining by Maxime Boisclair elicited a big groan from the 4597 in attendance.
For more information on the Reading Royals visit thier official team website at www.royalshockey.com