Close first period
François Brassard picked up where he left off yesterday during an early power play to the Royals—a couple of great saves to keep his team in the game. Shortly after killing the penalty, the Mariners went on an all-out attack. They took possession of Reading territory leading to captain Connor Doherty’s first goal of the playoffs, assisted by Olivier Duquette and Alex Kile.
As soon as play resumed, Maine came back at it crashing Nolan Maier’s net and causing a big brawl between the ten guys on the ice, resulting in a penalty on both sides. Clearly, the rivalry in this series is finally starting to heat up.
Two back-to-back penalties by Reading offered a mid-period 4-on-3 and 5-on-4 opportunities to the Mariners, who could not capitalize on it. This lack of scoring boosted the Royals, who evened the score by way of Jacob Gaucher, assisted by Evan Barratt and Zayde Wisdom.
Just before the end of the first, Matthew Santos scores with a pass from Tim Doherty, sending the Mariners to the locker room with a 2-1 lead.
A little touch from Quebec
At the beginning of the second period, the Royals got lucky when Brassard was searching for the puck that finally hit Fedor Gordeev to find its way behind Maine’s netminder. The goal was credited to Charlie Gerard.
At 4:36, Gabriel Chicoine blew off the roof by scoring the third goal for the Mariners and giving the lead back to his team. François Brassard did what he does best for the remainder of the period and made some huge saves to keep his team in front.
Just before retreating to the locker room, Curtis Hall used his golden hands to score a wonderful goal and ensure his team got a two-goal lead before the third period.
Playoff hockey at its best
The first half of the third period was uneventful until Carter Johnson went in with a surgically accurate shot over Maier’s shoulder to give the Mariners a three-goal lead.
With that lead, what was supposed to happen, happened. The play became more and more physical. Big body checks over big body checks. And even several scuffles after the whistle.
With the game he was having, Brassard got under the skin of the Reading players, and they answered back by charging his net, trying to make him lose focus and pull him out of his game. This caused both teams to get penalties for roughing. During this 4-on-4, Carter Johnson scored his second of the game, putting the final nail in the coffin for Reading in this match.
Reading tried their best to end on a good note after bringing the game back to a three-goal deficit, but Carter Johnson had other plans, scoring his third goal of the game in an empty net.
Tonight’s three stars
Here are my three stars for the night:
#3: Gabriel Chicoine played well on both ends with an excellent one-goal and one-pass game.
#2: François Brassard, who had an incredible night stopping 36 of the 39 shots on him.
#1: Carter Johnson with a three-goal night for the 27 years old Manitoba native.