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SUNDAY CURSE CONTINUES FOR READING

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
Toledo, OH–The Reading Royals (37-19-7=81) gave up two early power play goals–and fell behind early in the second period, 3-0–to the Toledo Storm before mounting a comeback effort which fell short, as the Royals lost to the Storm 3-2. The loss dropped the Royals' record this season to 0-4-2 at the Toledo Sports Arena–as well as 0-4-0 this season in Sunday road games. The two points for Toledo placed them in a tie for first place in the ECHL's North Division with the Royals.


Toledo struck early on the first of what would prove to be three separate five-on-three power play chances of the game for the Storm. After moving the puck around the perimeter in the offensive end, Toledo defenseman Mike Knight took a shot from the high slot that snaked through considerable traffic in front of the Royals' goal and into the net 5:37 into the first period. That goal was allowed despite a vehement protest from the Royals that goaltender Cody Rudkowsky (21-8-3, 26/29) was unfairly interfered with by a Storm player in front of Reading 's net prior to Knight's shot.

The Storm then struck 22 seconds later–on the back-end of that first five-on-three of the night–when Knight took a shot from the top of the right circle that double deflected off a couple of skates in front of the Royals net and went wide of the right post. The puck then ricocheted off the end wall and came out on the left side of the Royals' goal where Todd Jackson was able to stuff it home for the 2-0 lead.

Toledo went up 3-0 early in the second when Ken McGowan threw a hard snap shot from low on the left wing side that seemed to surprise Rudkowsky and beat him five-hole at the 1:29 mark. 1:04 later, however, Reading got on the board when Eric Werner took control of the puck in the defensive end and fed Shay Stephenson breaking through the neutral zone.

Stephenson in turn dished to Jon Francisco who stepped down to the top of the right circle where he ripped a snap shot that may have struck a Storm stick and deflected to the top right corner of the Storm goal where it eluded Toledo goaltender, Drew MacIntyre. Reading made it a one-goal game late in the second, while on the power play, when Chris Bala dug the puck off the right wing wall and floated high to the right point. Bala then slipped a diagonal pass to Reagan Rome at the top of the left circle, who in turn slid a tap pass to the top of the crease where Doug Christiansen took control and buried a back-hander for his thirtieth goal of the season at the 15:47 mark.

Reading made several stabs at tying the game down the stretch, but MacIntyre made the stops he needed to make and a late game slashing penalty to the Royals' Jason Kostadine took the wind out of the comeback sails on this afternoon, as Reading's overall record dropped to 1-8-0 in Sunday game's this season.
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