One night after goals were hard to come by for either side, Reading’s offense hit its stride on Saturday night.
The Royals scored five goals via five different players on their way to a 5-3 win over Maine in Game 2 of the ECHL North Division semifinals at Santander Arena to take a 2-0 series lead.
“We just played hard,” Reading forward Evan Barratt said. “We weren’t doing anything special, we just stuck to what we do best.”
Ten Royals registered a goal or an assist. Four players finished with two points.
“It’s big for us to get the secondary scoring,” Reading coach James Henry said. “We’ve had that for the majority of the year. “
Reading opened the scoring early in the first period on a goal from forward Brendan Hoffman, who collected his own rebound and scored after his initial shot was saved by goaltender Michael DiPietro. Defenseman Colin Felix and forward Devon Paliani had the assists.
The Mariners tied it less than two minutes later as defenseman Jacob Wilson scored from just inside the blue line. Forward Mitchell Fossier and defenseman Connor Doherty were credited with the assists.
The Royals re-took the lead on a power play midway through the period, with forward Jacob Gaucher scoring from close range. Defensemen Mason Millman and Tyler Heidt had the assists.
Maine responded late in the first period as forward Alex-Olivier Voyer scored to make it 2-2. Forward Carter Johnson and Wilson were credited with the assists.
Barratt gave Reading a 3-2 lead early in the second period, firing a shot past DiPietro. Gaucher and forward Zayde Wisdom had the assists.
“He’s been consistent for us in the last month-and-a-half as far as contributing offensively,” Henry said about Barratt. “He’s a top-end player, especially at our level.”
The Royals continued their success on the power play late in the second period when forward Max Newton scored to make it 4-2. Barratt and defenseman Garrett McFadden were credited with the assists.
“Luckily I found that lane to Newton,” Barratt said. “He banged it home. It was nice.”
Reading finished 2-for-5 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill. Royals goaltender Pat Nagle played a major role on the penalty kill and finished with 31 saves.
“A little bit more urgency from the group, a little bit better puck movement,” Henry said about the power play. “The special teams really stepped up.”
The Mariners cut the Royals’ lead in half midway through the third period when forward Mitchell Fossier made it 4-3. Forward Mathew Santos and Wilson had the assists.
Maine’s comeback effort fell short, however, as Wisdom scored an empty-net goal to seal it. Newton had the assist.
“We know we got a pretty awesome room in there with a lot of great players,” Barratt said. “We’re going to need everyone to contribute if we really want to make a run.”
Game 3 is Monday at Maine at 7 p.m., followed by Game 4 Tuesday and, if necessary, Game 5 on Wednesday.
Source: Berkshire mont
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