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ROYALS CLINCH PLAYOFF SPOT WITH WIN

Monday, 03.06.2006 / 11:46 AM / Los Angeles Kings | News
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ROYALS CLINCH PLAYOFF SPOT WITH WIN
Reading , PA – The Reading Royals (34-15-7=75) bounced back from an anemic performance last night by scoring on the team's first shift in front of a record setting crowd of 7315 at the Sovereign Center in a game the Royals won over the Trenton Titans, 4-2. With this win, the Royals' became the first team in the North Division to clinch a playoff spot–the third consecutive playoff appearance for Reading–and extended the team's first place lead in the division to six points.

The Royals' scored 40 seconds into the hockey game when an unrelenting forecheck by the line of Grant Jacobsen, Tyler Hanchuck, and Jason Kostadine forced a turnover in the Titans' zone that resulted in a golden chance for Jacobsen just outside the top of the crease. Jacobsen did not waste the opportunity, burying his thirteenth goal of the season on his twenty-third birthday to give the Royals a 1-0 lead. Trenton, however, regrouped and capitalized on a defensive zone turnover by Reading, as Chris Pittman was able take control of a loose puck at the Royals' blue line, walk down the slot, and hack a back-hander that was partially deflected behind Reading goaltender Cody Rudkowksy (18-5-3, 30/32) at the 3:39 mark of the first to tie things at one.

The Royals came back later in the first to regain the lead for good, when Larry Courville forced a turnover in the left wing corner of the offensive zone, and Dany Roussin took control and slipped a brilliant feed to the top of the crease where Doug Christiansen had created considerable space for himself. Christiansen took control of the pass and ripped it under the bar for his team leading twenty-seventh goal of the season at the 15:52 mark of the first to give the Royals a 2-1 lead. The Royals went up 3-1 when Dany Roussin was able to force one through on the third attempt from in tight on Trenton' goaltender Rejean Beauchemin 40 seconds into the second period. While the Royals were on the power play, Christiansen fed Roussin in front of Trenton 's net, and Roussin took a quick one-timer that went off the toe of his stick and wide. Christiansen then regained possession a second time and found Roussin again in front of the net. This time Roussin's shot was on goal and stopped by Beauchemin, but Roussin did not give up on the puck.

Instead, he punched his stick into the crease and forced the puck under the glove of Beauchemin and into the net for his twenty-second goal of the season–and his team leading sixth game winning goal. The Royals added some insurance late in the third, when Malcolm MacMillan bagged a power play goal with just 5:16 remaining in the game. On this one, Eric Werner made another one of his patented escape moves at the right wing point to keep the puck in the offensive zone and avoid the pressure from the Trenton penalty killer. Werner was not only able to shake the check, but also moved deep into the slot where he fed Shay Stephenson, who quickly fired one on net that Beauchemin kicked out with the left pad. However, MacMillan was planted on the doorstep and he was able to put the puck back into the net for his tenth goal of the season. Trenton 's Aaron Gill slipped one through Rudkowsky in the waning moments from a sharp angle to make it 4-2; but it was one of the very few mistakes made by the Royals' goaltender, who continued his outstanding play in net for the playoff-bound Royals.