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MARINERS EVEN UP SERIES BEHIND JOHNSON’S HAT TRICK

Wednesday, April 26th
MARINERS EVEN UP SERIES BEHIND JOHNSON’S HAT TRICK

PORTLAND, ME – April 25, 2023 – Behind three third period goals from Carter Johnson, the Mariners defeated the Reading Royals 7-3 on Tuesday night at the Cross Insurance Arena in Game 4 of the Central Division Semifinals. The best-of-seven series is now tied at two games apiece, heading into a pivotal Game 5 in Portland on Wednesday.

For the first time in the series, the Mariners got the first goal, when Captain Connor Doherty threw a shot from the left boards that got behind Royals netminder Nolan Maier and made it 1-0 at 6:13 of the first. The Mariners had a lengthy power play chance to try to double their lead, but the Royals completed the kill and found the net soon after on a Jacob Gaucher backhander that got between the pads of Francois Brassard at 12:07. Before the period came to an end, Mathew Santos netted his first goal of the series, roofing a shot from a severe angle near the goal line at 18:22. The Mariners led 2-1 after 20 minutes.

Reading struck quickly in the 2nd, just 1:24 in to tie the game at two, as Charlie Gerard pinballed a puck around the crease and just across the goal line. The Mariners took their third one-goal lead at 4:36 of the 2nd off a 3-on-2 rush that Gabriel Chicoine finished as the trailer, taking a pass from Mitch Fossier. The Mariners found insurance in the final minute of the period when Curtis Hall scored a power play goal, giving Maine a 4-2 lead through 40 minutes.

Johnson’s first of three came at 6:18 of the third period when he drove wide down the left wing and lifted a puck short side high over the shoulder of Maier, making it 5-2. With the teams skating 4-on-4, he got his second at 15:18, set up with a one-timer by a good forecheck from Marc-Olivier Duquette. Royals defenseman Ryan Cook got the Royals back within three with a shot that beat Brassard between the circles at 17:08, but Johnson nailed the empty net from the red line in between the benches at 18:14.

For the second night in a row, Brassard made 36 saves to earn the victory. Maier stopped 34 of 40 in his first appearance of the series. In addition to Johnson, Mariners players with multi-point games included Alex Kile (3 assists), Mathew Santos (1 goal, 1 assist), Gabriel Chicoine (1 goal, 1 assist), and Marc-Olivier Duquette (2 assists).

 

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