READING, PA – April 21, 2023 – After a scoreless opening 40 minutes, a back-and-forth third period resulted in a 2-1 Reading Royals victory in Game 1 of the North Division Semifinals on Friday night at Santander Arena. Curtis Hall scored Maine’s lone goal in defeat.
A 0-0 opening period was highlighted by the Mariners penalty kill, which took care of three Reading power plays, including a late 5-on-3. Michael DiPietro came up big in the 2nd period, as the Royals outshot the Mariners, 17-5. The game remained scoreless through 40 minutes however, as DiPietro stopped all 17.
Solag Bakich found the game’s first goal just 23 seconds into the 3rd, on a Mariners turnover by defenseman Connor Doherty. Charlie Gerard pounced on the puck in the corner, and Bakich crashed the net, tipping it past DiPietro to break the scoreless tie. The Mariners battled back to tie it when Hall deflected in Fedor Gordeev’s point shot at 13:15, also drawing an assist from Reid Stefanson. But it was a Royals blue line drive that decided the game under three minutes later, Gerard getting just enough of a Garrett McFadden point shot. The Mariners attempt to mount one last comeback was derailed when they were called for too many men on the ice with only 2:15 to go, allowing Reading to hold on for the win.
DiPietro made 31 stops on 33 Reading shots, while Pat Nagle turned aside 25 of 26 on the Mariners side. The Mariners will look to even up the series tomorrow night.