READING, PA – April 10, 2022 – Patrick Bajkov scored a power play goal 18 seconds into overtime to give the Reading Royals a 2-1 win and a three game weekend sweep over the Maine Mariners on Sunday afternoon at Santander Arena. The Mariners stayed alive in the North Division playoff race as fourth place Worcester fell at Adirondack.
The Mariners played a strong opening period, controlling play and outshooting Reading, 11-4. The game remained scoreless, however, until deep into the 2nd frame. At 18:48 of period two, Keltie Jeri-Leon finally broke the scoreless tie when he followed his initial blocked shot and slid it behind Royals netminder Logan Flodell, with Nate Kallen receiving the lone assist. The Mariners picked up energy after the goal, testing Flodell with two more chances in the final moments of the period. They carried a 1-0 lead into the third.
The Royals evened up the game at 8:47 of the third when Trevor Gooch intercepted a pass coming out of the Mariners zone and moved in all alone to beat Jeremy Brodeur and make it 1-1. The Mariners had two power play chances before the end of regulation, but couldn’t convert. With 52 seconds left, Conner Bleackley was called for slashing, giving the Royals power play time in OT. In the opening moments of overtime, Royals defenseman Patrick McNally sent Bajkov into the zone, who beat Brodeur stick-side just 18 seconds into the sudden death frame.
By gaining a point, the Mariners remained at a .493 point percentage, just behind the fourth place Worcester Railers who dropped a 6-4 final at Adirondack. The Railers sit at .500, with each team having three games remaining.