READING, PA – April 22, 2023 – Jacob Wilson had a career game with a goal and two assists, but the Mariners fell by a 5-3 score to the Reading Royals in Game 2 of the North Division Semifinals on Saturday night at Santander Arena. The Royals carry a 2-0 series lead back to Portland for Game 3 on Monday.
Coming off a Game 1 where no goals were scored until the 3rd period, there were four combined goals in opening frame of Game 2. Reading struck first on a tally from Brendan Hoffman at 5:02, when he got behind the Mariners defense and after being initially stopped by Michael DiPietro, banked the rebound off the Maine goalie and across the line. Less than two minutes later, the Mariners responded when defenseman Jacob Wilson found the twine on a shot from the point, set up by Mitch Fossier at 6:57. Reading used the power play to jump back on top at 13:25, Jacob Gaucher scooping up a rebound in front of DiPietro and backhanding it home. The Mariners would get even again at 18:33. Skating 4-on-4, Carter Johnson took a puck to the net and Alex-Olivier Voyer found it loose in the crease, putting it past a sprawling Pat Nagle to make it 2-2.
The Royals got out to a two-goal lead with a pair of second period strikes. Evan Barratt broke the 2-2 tie when he snapped one past DiPietro’s stick-side at 4:07. The Royals then capitalized on the power play for the second time in the game at 15:10 when Max Newton ripped a one-timer home from the left circle, giving Reading a 4-2 advantage at the end of 40 minutes.
The Mariners got into penalty trouble in the 3rd, delaying their comeback attempt, but Mitch Fossier found the net at 11:49 to bring them back within one, set up by Wilson and Mathew Santos. Moments after Fossier’s goal, a Grant Gabriele shot was deflected by Alex-Olivier Voyer and sat behind Nagle, but the Mariners were unable to tip it across the line, keeping Reading up by one. Zayde Wisdom hustled to punch in an empty net goal at 17:36, sealing the game.
The Royals put 41 shots on goal against DiPietro and Francois Brassard, who entered the game early in the 3rd period. Nagle stopped 31 of 34 Mariners shots for his second win of the series. The Mariners fell to 0-5 in playoff games at Santander Arena since 2022.