ROYALS HANG ON FOR SECOND STRAIGHT OVER STOCKTON
Reading scored first when Grant Jacobsen sprang Mike Pandolfo for a short-handed breakaway goal at the 14:42 mark of the first. The Royals took a 2-0 lead 2:07 later when John Morlang stole a loose puck behind the Stockton net and jammed it home after Thunder goaltender, Jeff Weber, was caught out of position behind the goal attempting to play the puck. Early in the second, the Royals went up 3-0 when Jacobsen slipped behind the Stockton defense, stick-handled around Weber, and stuffed one of his own in the goal at the 2:55 mark.
Shortly thereafter, however, Stockton sprang to life scoring back-to-back goals–the first by Mike Lalonde on a back-door feed while the Thunder was on 5-on-3 power play (at 6:39); and the second on a point blank shot from the slot by Aaron Foster (at 16:57)–to make it a one goal game at 3-2. In between those two goals, the Thunder were awarded their second penalty shot in as many nights, when Joel Irwin was hauled down by Reagan Rome on a clear breakaway on Reading's goal. But Irwin shot high and over top, helping the Royals dodge the penalty shot bullet for the second night in a row. And then right on the buzzer (at 19:59), the Royals picked up a power play goal of their own–on a put back rebound by Doug Christiansen–to rebuild the two goal lead to 4-2.
In the third, Reading regained a three goal lead at the 2:17 mark, when Jacobsen scored his second of the night on another nice move from in tight to the goal with Weber down and out of position. But, once again, the Thunder found their legs and picked up back-to-back goals–the first on a rebound put-back by Aaron MacInnis while Stockton was on the power play (at 6:14); and the second on another rebound by Maris Ziedins (at 14:57)–to make it 5-4. However, the Royals were able to steady the ship and pick up a late (19:00) empty netter from Chris Bala to gain some breathing room on the charging Thunder and, ultimately, pick up their second win in as many nights in the Stockton Arena.