Wheeling , WV –The Reading Royals held a two goal lead in the latter stages of the second period, but a five-minute major elbowing penalty against Doug Christiansen shifted momentum in favor of the Nailers, who bagged a late power play goal to win, 4-3. With this win, the Nailers hold a two-games-to-one lead in the best of five North Division Semi-Final series that shifts back to the Sovereign Center in Reading (7:08 pm) for Game Four.
The Royals scored first when Chris Bala slipped behind the Nailers' defense and slipped the puck between the legs of goaltender Andy Franck for his second goal of the playoff season at the 8:08 mark of the first period. The Royals took a 2-0 lead on a power play goal from Doug Christianen, who blasted one from the slot that appeared to go off a Nailer and into the net at the 14:12 mark of the second. But shortly thereafter, with the Royals on the power play, Christiansen picked up a major elbowing penalty that gave the Nailers life.
In the early stages of the major penalty, the teams were skating four on four, and the Nailers capitalized in that sequence when Curtiss Patrick slipped into the slot and fired a backhander high and behind Yutaka Fukufuji (1-2-0, 36/40) to get the Nailers on the board at the 16:01 mark of the second. The Nailers tied things one minute and nine seconds later with their first power play goal of the night, when Sean Collins made a highlight reel move through a Royals' defenseman and slipped the puck through Fukufuji to tie things at two.
With just 22 seconds left in the second, Wheeling took their first lead of the game, when Brendon Hodge found himself wide open and all alone in front of the Royals' goal and made a nice move to the backhand to beat Fukufuji who came out of the crease to meet him. Reading tied things at three at the 7:09 mark of the third when Jamie Chamberlain charged into the offensive zone, freed the puck behind the Nailers' net, and fed Tyler Hanchuck in front of the goal, who finished from in tight at the 7:09 mark of the third.
Late in the third, Wheeling picked up the game winner with their third power play goal of the game, when Collins ripped one from low along the right wing goal line that beat Fukufuji high on the short side at 15:50 of the third. The Royals had several chances down the stretch, but were unable tie things a second time and now find themselves in need of a win tomorrow in Reading.