Cotton Kings Look To Squash Mudbugs Tonight
Trenton, NJ - The Reading Royals (27-13-6=60) fell behind 2-0 in the first period to the Trenton Titans, but scored a power play goal late in the third period to close the gap before being repelled in the waning moments by the Titans, who won 2-1. Reading got superb goaltending from Cody Rudkowsky (12-3-3, 30/32) and a goal from defenseman T.J. Kemp but could not solve Trenton goaltender Scott Stirling down the stretch despite outshooting the Titans in the final period, 15-7. Reading remains two just points behind the Wheeling Nailers for the top slot in the North Division, despite extending the team's winless streak to a season high five games (0-2-3).
Trenton got on the board first when the Royals pressured off an odd man rush and were caught deep in the offensive zone. The Titans immediately countered with a two-on-one of their own, as defenseman Matt Maglione sent Scott Bertoli breaking on the right wing side. Bertoli fed Mark Lee who was charging in on the left side, and Lee finished with a brilliant shot high over top of a sprawling Cody Rudkowsky to give Trenton the 1-0 lead at 8:53 of the first. The Titans went up 2-0 at the 15:14 mark of the first when Trenton created a flurry of opportunities during a long five-on-three sequence. Rudkowsky made several spectacular stops, and it appeared that the Royals were going to get out of this penalty sequenced unscathed. However, just as the back-end of the five-on-three expired, defenseman Michael Acosta found Jim Henkel, who was low in the right circle, with a cross-ice pass. Henkel quickly ripped a low, hard snap shot that beat Rudkowsky, as he went from his right to left in an attempt to get in position to make the stop. The Royals were on their collective heals for much of the second and into the early portion of the third, as a series of penalties gave the Titans the opportunity to control the flow. But mid-way into the third, the Royals turned up the heat, took control of the momentum, and created a number of legitimate scoring chances on Trenton and Stirling. But the Royals were unable to solve the Titan goaltender until the 14:13 mark of the third, when Reading was on the power play. Cody Rudkowsky started the rush with a long pass out of the defensive zone to Dany Roussin, who forced his way into the offensive end on the right wing side. Doug Christiansen then took possession of the puck and found T.J. Kemp floating at the right point. Kemp fired a low, hard snap shot that beat Stirling to the glove side. The Royals' found their legs down the stretch and created a number of good opportunities to tie things up, but Stirling held Reading off, as the Titans defeated the Royals for the third time in four tries at the Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton.
Reading heads to Dayton for two in a row against the Bombers-Friday (7:00 pm) and Saturday (7:00 pm) at the E.J. Nutter Center. The Royals return home on Sunday for a 3:30 match-up against the Titans. Immediately prior to next Sunday's game, the Reading Fire Department will take on the Reading Police Department in the First Annual Battle of the Badges Charity Hockey Game, which will serve to raise funds for the Michael H. Wise II Memorial Foundation. All fans with a ticket to the Royals game on Sunday, February 19, can also gain admittance to the Battle of the Badges, which will begin at 1:00 pm. Royals' game day broadcasts can be heard on ESPN Radio 1240 am in Ephrata and www.royalshockey.com with pre-game beginning 30 minutes before the opening face-off. Streaming video is also available through the Royals' website on a pay per view basis provided by B2 Networks.
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