ROYALS CONTINUE SUNDAY SLUMP

Monday, 02.27.2006 / 11:22 AM / Los Angeles Kings | News
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ROYALS CONTINUE SUNDAY SLUMP
Toledo, OH – For the second time this season, the Reading Royals (32-14-7=71) went into the Toledo Sports Arena on a Sunday afternoon and came out empty handed, as the Storm handed the Royals a 4-2 loss in a somewhat sloppy affair chalked up with twenty-seven penalties–twenty three of them two-minute minors. This loss snapped the Royals six game unbeaten streak (5-0-1) and continued a string of six consecutive losses (three of them in overtime or the shootout) for the Royals against the Storm.

After a scoreless first period, during which Royals' goaltender Cody Rudkowsky (16-4-3, 47/51) made fourteen stops, several which left mouths agape, Reading struck in the second when Grant Jacobsen scored the Royals' fourteenth short-handed goal of the season at the 12:28 mark. With the Storm on the power play, Jacobsen picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and carried into the offensive end. Jacobsen fed the puck to Malcolm MacMillan, who quickly returned the feed to Jacobsen, who in turn tapped it in to finish the give-and-go and bag his twelfth of the season. The Storm answered with back-to-back goals by Chris Blight at the 16:28 and 18:45 marks of the second to take a 2-1 lead.

On the first one, Blight was able to slip through the Royals' defense and chip the puck over Rudkowsky's right arm as Blight was being taken to the ice. On the second, Mike James intercepted a clearing attempt by Reading and walked in and fired a shot from the left circle that Rudkowsky kicked out with the left pad. However, Blight was crashing on the right side of the net and was able to bury the rebound to give the Storm their first lead of the night. The Royals responded, however, with only 42 seconds left in the period, when Larry Courville redirected an Eric Werner shot from the point to tie things at two.

Fourteen seconds into the third period, Toledo scored what proved to be the game winner, when Todd Jackson battled to take control of a loose puck behind the Royals' net and feed Scooter Smith at the right side of the net. Smith buried it for his twentieth goal of the season. Toledo added some insurance with just 3:05 remaining when they picked up a power play goal on their eleventh chance with the man advantage.

Mike James broke into the offensive zone and fired a shot from the right circle that Rudkowsky kicked out, but once again Toledo's Gerry Burke crashed on the opposite side and buried the rebound to make it 4-2; and, on this date, there would be no coming back from that point for the Royals, whose record dropped to 1-6-0 on Sundays this year.