READING, Pa. – The Reading Royals and Maine Mariners faced off in game two of their best-of-seven series Friday night. The Mariners were hoping to even the series while the Royals were looking to take a commanding 2-0 lead before heading on the road. The Royals came away with the win and commanding series lead by way of a 3-0 win.
In game one, the Mariners had fallen behind and had to claw their way back from a 3-0 deficit heading into the third period. They were able to score two late in the game, but their comeback fell short. Maine needed to get on the board earlier in game two to avoid a repeat.
As happened in game one, the Royals got on the board first in game two as well. Trevor Gooch had a quick back-and-forth pass with Frank DiChiara that allowed Gooch to get to the net to open the scoring in the first.
DiChiara picked up his second assist on the night when he took a shot from the faceoff circle that Maine goaltender Callum Booth stopped. Kenny Hausinger picked up the rebound and put it home.
Only 29 seconds later, DiChiara picked up his third point on the night. Jacob Pritchard passed the puck to DiChiara, who was set up at the corner of the net, ready to bury it. This goal chased Booth, replaced by Jeremy Brodeur.
Once again, the Mariners found themselves in a 3-0 hole heading into the final frame. This time, they were not able to mount any sort of comeback, due in large part to Royals goaltender Logan Flodell. The rookie netminder stopped all 32 shots he faced, earning him his first pro playoff shutout and first star honors.
With his three points, DiChiara moved into a first-place tie with Jacksonville’s Brendan Harris for the league lead in points this postseason with five total (one goal, four assists for DiChiara).
The teams next meet Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (if necessary) at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, ME with Maine having a chance to pull ahead in the series.
During the regular-season series between the teams, the home team won every game.
But in order to do that, the Mariners will need to stay out of the penalty box. Half of Reading’s goals have come on the power play (one Wednesday, two Friday).
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