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Reading Royals earn shutout win over Maine in Game 2 of ECHL North Division semifinals

Two goals in the span of 29 seconds solidified Reading’s victory on Friday night.

Already leading by one, forwards Kenny Hausinger and Frank DiChiara scored two quick goals in the second period to help lift the Royals to a 3-0 victory and 2-0 series lead over Maine in Game 2 of the ECHL North Division semifinals at Santander Arena.

“We found a way (to) win,” Reading coach Kirk MacDonald said. “We worked really, really hard tonight (and) competed hard.”

The Royals were led on offense by DiChiara, who had assists on Reading’s first two goals before scoring the final goal of the game to complete a three-point performance. He was the only player to finish with more than one point.

“(He’s a) big-game player, and he’s showing that right now,” MacDonald said about DiChiara. “He’s super smart.”

DiChiara leads the Royals with five points through the first two games of the playoffs. He had two assists in Reading’s 3-2 win over the Mariners in Game 1 on Wednesday night.

“(I’m) just keeping it simple,” DiChiara said. “(I’m) finding my opportunities and getting to the right spots.”

Rookie goaltender Logan Flodell also was superb for the Royals Friday, making 32 saves to earn his first professional shutout. A midseason acquisition, Flodell has led Reading to two straight playoff wins after going 11-1-1 in the regular season.

“Everyone is playing well in front of me,” Flodell said. “They let me see the pucks, and that makes my job a lot easier.”

Royals forward Trevor Gooch opened the scoring with a power-play goal midway through the first period, slicing through the Mariners defense before firing a wrist shot into the back of the net. DiChiara and Patrick McNally were credited with the assists.

Play remained largely even until early in the second period, when Reading relied on its speed and puck movement to score two goals. The Royals were wildly efficient in the second, scoring twice despite recording just five shots.

Hausinger put Reading ahead 2-0 just over five minutes into the second period with a power-play goal, his second goal on the man advantage through two playoff games. DiChiara and forward Patrick Bajkov had the assists.

The power-play goal was the Royals’ second of the game and third of the playoffs. In addition to going 2-for-4 on the power play, Reading went 2-for-2 on the penalty kill, shutting down Maine’s top-ranked power-play unit.

“(The) power play (was) outstanding,” MacDonald said. “Penalty kill (was) outstanding.”

Following Hausinger’s goal, the Royals scored again after just 29 seconds of even-strength play, as DiChiara found the back of the net from close range. Forward Jacob Pritchard and defenseman Dominic Cormier had the assists.

“I just tried to sneak backdoor and find some room,” DiChiara said. “Great pass by Pritchard, and I was just fortunate to be on the receiving end of it.”

The scoring burst shifted the momentum in favor of Reading, as the Royals dominated the rest of the period. They controlled the pace of play on both ends, dominating with puck possession and accurate passing.

Reading cruised through the third period to complete the shutout victory and take a 2-0 series lead. The series now shifts to Maine, beginning with Game 3 on Thursday at 7 p.m. in Portland.

“We’re just taking it one (game) at a time,” DiChiara said. “We’re pretty happy with where we’re at right now.”

Source: Berkshire mont

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