For the second game in a row, Reading protected its third-period lead to earn a victory on Wednesday night.
After taking a three-goal lead, the Royals slowed Newfoundland’s comeback effort just enough to hang on for a 6-5 win in Game 4 of the ECHL North Division finals in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, to take a 3-1 series lead.
Ahead 6-3 with less than 10 minutes remaining, Reading was met by a strong offensive push from the Growlers. Forward Orrin Centazzo began Newfoundland’s late surge, scoring with less than seven minutes remaining to make it 6-4.
The Growlers were aided late in the game by the Royals, who committed six penalties in the third period. Newfoundland defenseman Ben Finkelstein made it 6-5 with a power-play goal during six-on-three play with 1:15 remaining in the third period.
The Growlers stayed on the power play for the remainder of the game, but Reading’s defense prevented Newfoundland from finding an equalizer. The Royals finished 6-for-7 on the penalty kill.
Reading goaltender Logan Flodell made several crucial saves in the third period to protect the Royals’ lead. In total, he made 35 saves, including 13 in the final period.
Reading took a 2-0 lead early in the first period on goals from forwards Trevor Gooch and Brennan Saulnier. Gooch’s goal occurred during the Royals’ first power play.
The Growlers responded with a goal from forward Marc Johnstone less than three minutes later. Reading forward Patrick Bajkov scored late in the first period to make it 3-1.
The Royals remained in front the rest of the game and led 4-3 at the second intermission. Reading forward Frank DiChiara scored a power-play goal early in the second period, which occurred in between goals from Centazzo and Newfoundland defenseman Noel Hoefenmayer.
The Royals scored their final pair of goals in the third period, as Saulnier and Gooch each scored on the power play. Both players finished with two goals.
Thanks in large part to its effective special teams, Reading was able to score six goals despite recording just 20 shots. The Royals finished 4-for-8 on the power play.
With a 3-1 series lead, Reading will have an opportunity to clinch the ECHL North Division finals with a road win in Game 5 on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. The Royals have not advanced past the second round of the playoffs since 2013, when they won the Kelly Cup.
Source: Berkshire mont