The Reading Royals saw a bit of déjà vu this Saturday night for Game 6 of their series against the Maine Mariners as they ended Maine’s season once again at the Santander Arena.
The Royals took the series lead against Maine back to the Santander Arena, hoping to end the series at home to move on to the Division Finals. The series had been back and forth, with the Mariners tying back up the series at home before the Royals took back the series lead in Game 5. Starting lineup for the Royals included forwards Charlie Gerard, Max Newton, and Shane Sellar, with defensemen Mason Millman and Garrett McFadden and goaltender Pat Nagle. The first period started strong for the Royals, with Devon Paliani scoring his first postseason goal at 1:39 seconds, assisted by Evan Barratt. It was the Royals’ first shot on goal for the game resulting in the first goal, setting off a bit of tension early for the two teams as the Mariners fought against elimination. They didn’t let the Royals hold the lead the entire period as Mitchell Fossier scored his third postseason goal at 12:35 seconds, assisted by Matthew Santos and Curtis Hall. The Royals, however, would not end the period without a fight as Jacob Gaucher scored at 14:20 seconds, his fourth of the post season, assisted by Evan Barratt and Colin Felix. Goals were not the only action during the first period as the Mariners acquired one penalty for Holding at 9:54 seconds by Andrew Peski and one for Slashing at 15:13 seconds by Connor Doherty. The Royals, however, were not without a Slashing penalty just three seconds before the end of the period by Alec Butcher, putting the Mariners on a power play to start the second period. The shots on goal for the end of the period were seven for the Mariners and ten for the Royals.
The second period started worrisome for the Royals as Maine tied up the game at 3:16 seconds with Nick Master scoring his first postseason goal, assisted by Mitchell Fossier and Andrew Peski. Though worry seemed to spread quickly through the Royals fans in attendance, Royals’ captain Garett McFadden brought the energy back with his first postseason goal at 5:21 seconds, assisted by Charlie Gerard and Mason Millman. The Royals took control of the second period offensively, scoring one more goal before the end of period one at 6:05 seconds by Zayde Wisdom, his third goal of the postseason, assisted by Evan Barratt and Jacob Gaucher. The Royals stayed out of the penalty box for the second period, with the Mariners taking on two penalties, one for boarding at 6:44 seconds by Fedor Gordeev and the other for tripping at 18:44 seconds by Cameron Askew. The shots on goal for the period were nine for Maine and thirteen for Reading.
In the third period, Maine came out strong, trying to keep themselves from elimination, holding out defensively until Tyler Heidt scored his first postseason goal at 16:34 seconds, assisted by Jacob Gaucher and Mason Millman on a power play. Brendan Hoffmann, at 18:05 seconds, secured the Royals’ victory with an empty net goal, his second of the postseason, assisted by Solag Bakich and Alec Butcher. The only penalties this period were a hooking call on Shane Sellar and a high-sticking call on Matthew Santos that led to Heidt’s goal. The total shots on goal for the game were 23 for Maine and 33 for Reading. The three stars of the game were Mitchell Fossier at third, Evan Baratt at second with three assists, and Jacob Gaucher at first star with one goal and two assists.
The Royals are uncertain of their second-round opponent as they wait for the Newfoundland Growlers and Adirondack Thunder series to conclude to see who they will be facing. The series for the Growlers and Thunder currently stands at 3-1, with Adirondack facing elimination this Sunday. The Royals have not defeated the Newfoundland Growlers in the playoffs before, being eliminated by them in Game 7 last season, something to keep in mind as they get some much-needed rest before the start of the next series.