ECHL Series Preview: Reading Royals vs. Maine Mariners

(Photo Credit: Reading Royals/Sarah Pietrowski)

The first round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs for the North Division will see the second-place Reading Royals and the third-place Maine Mariners battle for a North Division Semifinals victory. This is the 14th Kelly Cup Playoff appearance for the Royals and the second for the Mariners.

The Reading Royals and Maine Mariners faced each other six times this season (Photo Credit: Reading Royals/Sarah Pietrowski)

Reading Royals Season Recap

The Reading Royals had a 41-25 win-loss record this season with a total of nine overtimes, five of which ended in losses while four ended in a win. The team managed a 56.90% win percentage on the season, scoring a total of 262 goals and attaining 215 goals against. One of the Royal’s weaknesses this season was their power play. The Royals had a total of 272 power plays, only scoring on 52 of them, making their power play percentage at only 19%. As for their penalty kill, however, the team remained strong with a total of 265 penalty kill opportunities, killing off 216 of them to end the season with an 82% penalty kill percentage.

The Royals had quite a few star players this season that made huge impacts on the team’s success in getting them to the playoffs. The top five forwards included:

Charlie Gerard: 62 GP, 33 G, 43 A, 76 PTS

Max Newton: 67 GP, 34 G, 38 A, 72 PTS

Jacob Gaucher: 71 GP, 22 G, 39, A, 61 PTS

Evan Barratt: 46 GP, 26 G, 24 A, 50 PTS

Alec Butcher 72 GP, 21 G, 28 A, 49 PTS

As for the Royals’ top three defensemen, that included:

Mason Millman: 63 GP, 8 G, 37 A, 45 PTS

Garrett McFadden: 71 GP, 6 G, 35 A, 41 PTS

Colin Felix: 72 GP, 8 G, 19 A, 27 PTS

Moving into the playoffs, Reading’s roster includes forwards Solag Bakich, Evan Barratt, Alec Butcher, Jacob Gaucher, Charlie Gerard, Brendan Hoffmann, Tyler Kobryn, Yvan Mongo, Max Newton, Devon Paliani, Shane Sellar, Zayde and Zayde Wisdom. The defensemen include Ryan Cook, Mike Chen, Colin Felix, T.J. Fergus, Mason Millman, Tyler Heidt, Will MacKinnon, and Garrett McFadden, with goalies Kaden Fulcher, Pat Nagle, and Matt Vernon. The Royals also have two players currently up with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms that are eligible for playoffs that, include defensemen Adam Karashik and goalie Nolan Maier.

Maine Mariners Season Recap

The Maine Mariners held a 42-27 win-loss record this season, seeing a total of six overtimes, with four of those ending in wins and two ending in losses maintaining a 58.30% win percentage. The team scored a total of 267 goals with 210 goals against. The Mariners power play was much stronger in comparison to the Royals, with 287 total power plays with 59 goals scored, giving the team a 21% power play percentage. As for the power play, Maine maintained the same percentage as Reading at 82% with 237 penalty kill opportunities, killing off 195 of those.

The Mariners also had quite a few players to focus on this season, including forwards:

Tim Doherty: 69 GP, 21 G, 52 A, 73 PTS

Mitchell Fossier: 47 GP, 21 G, 36 A, 57 PTS

Patrick Shea: 62 GP, 25 G, 29 A, 54 PTS

Carter Johnson: 72 GP, 15 G, 33 A, 48 PTS

Reid Stefanson: 69 GP, 22 G, 25 A, 47 PTS

As for the team’s defensemen, their top three included:

Gabriel Chicoine: 63 GP, 4 G, 30 A, 34 PTS

Fedor Gordeev: 63 GP, 12 G, 21 A, 33 PTS

Grant Gabriele: 67 GP, 9 G, 16 A, 25 PTS

For the Maine Mariners’ playoff roster, their forwards include Austin Albrecht, Curtis Hall, Nick Master, Mitch Fossier, Reid Stefanson, Matthew Santos, Tim Doherty, Carter Johnson, Cam Askew, Tyler Hinam, Alex Kile, Pat Shea, and Alex-Olivier Voyer. Their defensemen include Andrew Peski, Gabriel Chicoine, Cameron Morton, Grant Gabriele, Alden Weller, Marc-Olivier Duquette, Jacob Wilson, Conner Doherty, and Fedor Gordeev, with goalies Francois Brassard and Michael DiPietro.

Reading Royals vs. Marine Mariners 22-23 Season

The Royals and the Mariners faced each other six times this season, the Royals winning four of those games, with three of those being on Mariners’ ice. The Mariners took one home game victory and one away victory this season, making the upcoming series a little more interesting for both teams. As for the Royals, on away ice, the team seemed to dominate the game as their first two appearances against Maine this season brought two victories back to Reading, a 5-3 victory and a 4-1 victory. Though the first games for the Royals appeared strong, Maine took their third meeting on home ice with a 5-3 victory over Reading, where the Mariners’ top forward, Tim Doherty, scored just 0:39 seconds into the game. Just a few days later, an almost equal game in shots on goal for the two teams ended with only one goal scored by Royals’ defenseman Will MacKinnon giving the Royals their first shutout of the season with Brody Claeys as the shutout victor. The Royals had their first and only successful home-ice win against Maine soon after, where they were 2/2 on the power play, scoring a total of six goals against Maine. The Mariners, however, did not go down without a fight as they came back in the second period with three total goals but were unable to catch the Royals, ending the game 6-5. The game was yet another close one in regards to shots on goal, with the Royals having 35 and the Mariners 34. In the two teams’ final meeting at the Santander Arena, Maine took control, scoring two goals late in the first period, keeping the Royals at zero. Though they were unable to score in the second, they came back at it in the third period with two more goals to take victory over the Royals 4-2. It was a successful final meeting for the Mariners as they killed all four of their penalties and scored on two of their five power plays. The teams truly came down to the wire at the end of the season, with only one point separating them from the home-ice advantage that came down to the Royals if they were to win against Newfoundland in their final two games of the regular season. Luckily for the Royals, they did reign victorious over the Growlers ending the season with 88 points, and the Mariners, though successful in their final weekend as well against Norfolk, they were still unable to catch the Royals to take home ice advantage in the first round ending the season with 87 points.

Kelly Cup Playoffs: Division Semifinals

The Reading Royals and Maine Mariners will have seven games to decide who moves on to the Division Finals, with the schedule as follows. With the Royals maintaining second place, they receive home-ice advantage for the season.

Game 1: Friday, April 21st at Santander Arena

Game 2: Saturday, April 22nd at Santander Arena

Game 3: Monday, April 24th at Cross Insurance Arena

Game 4: Tuesday, April 25th at Cross Insurance Arena

Game 5: Wednesday, April 26th at Cross Insurance Arena

*Game 6 Saturday, April 29th at Santander Arena

*Game 7 Sunday, April 30th at Santander Arena

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