PORTLAND, ME – November 24, 2023 – The Maine Mariners battled back from multiple deficits, but fell to the Reading Royals by a 4-3 final score on Friday night at the Cross Insurance Arena. Ethan Ritchie and Gabe Guertler scored their first goals as Mariners in defeat.
As has been the case often this season, the Mariners played a strong opening period, but found themselves trailing. The only goal of the frame came when Reading’s Matt Brown got behind the Maine defense and beat Shane Starrett on a breakaway at 17:09. The Mariners won the first period shot battle, 11-7, but found themselves down one.
The Mariners tied the game up at 8:10 of the middle frame thanks to defenseman Ethan Ritchie. Ethan Keppen’s long shot from the left point through an Adam Mechura screen produced a rebound for Ritchie, who fired home his first professional goal. With under eight minutes to play in the frame, a pane of glass was shattered next to the penalty boxes, causing a delay in the game. When it resumed, Brown scored his second of the night on a 2-on-1 to put Reading back ahead at 13:19 of the extended frame.
Reading forward Alec Butcher scored a pair of similar-looking goals at 4:56 and 11:47 of the third to give the Royals a 4-2 lead. Butcher twice was able to pot rebounds around a sprawling Starrett to build a Reading cushion. About a minute after Butcher’s second goal, Gabriel Chicoine answered back for the Mariners when he punched one over a tumbling Nolan Maier at 12:51. The Mariners couldn’t find the equalizer with their goalie pulled in the final moments.
Maier stopped 31 of 34 to earn Reading’s first road victory of the season. Starrett turned aside 21 of 25 as Maine fell to 0-4-0 on home ice.
The Mariners (4-8-0) and Royals will meet again at the Cross Insurance Arena on Saturday night for a 6 PM faceoff. The theme is “Monopoly Night,” celebrating the Mariners’ appearance on the Monopoly: Portland Maine Edition board game. There will also be a full-team autograph session following the game. Single game tickets for all regular season home games are on sale at MarinersOfMaine.com or at the Ware-Butler Box Office inside the Cross Insurance Arena. More information on ticket packages and group discounts can be found by calling 833-GO-MAINE or visiting the Mariners front office at 94 Free St. in Portland. The 2023-2024 season is presented by Hannaford to Go.