Reading, PA - The Reading Royals, proud affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers and Lehigh Valley Phantoms, defeated the Maine Mariners, 2-1, on Friday, April 21 at Santander Arena. The Royals captured the 1-0 series lead on a pair of goals in the third period and multi-point games by Solag Bakich and Charlie Gerard. Pat Nagle (22-7-0, 1-0-0) earned the win in net for Reading with 25 saves on 26 shots. Michael DiPietro (19-10-0, 0-1-0) suffered the loss in net for Maine with 31 saves of 33 shots faced.
Both clubs were led by their goaltenders and strong penalty kill efforts in the opening two periods of the game. Reading killed off two penalties in the first period behind Nagle’s 14 saves while Maine killed off three assessed penalties in the first period with DiPietro saving all 25 shots faced through 40 minutes of play. DiPietro saved a game-high 17 shots in the second period registered on goal by the Royals in a second period without any penalties assessed to either team.
The Royals broke the scoreless tie 21 seconds into the third period on Solag Bakich’s first professional career playoff goal. Gerard intercepted a pass from Connor Doherty behind Maine’s net and centered the puck for Bakich in the slot. Bakich lifted the puck past DiPietro and buried his fourth goal as a Royal to put Reading in front, 1-0.
Maine scored their first goal of the game to tie the score 13:15 into the third period. A shot from the blue line caught Curtis Hall’s stick on its way towards Reading’s net and trickled under Nagle’s right pad across the goal line. Fedor Gordeev and Reid Stefanson earned the helpers on Hall’s first Kelly Cup Playoff career goal.
With 3:54 remaining in regulation, Gerard put the Royals back in the lead with the game-winning goal for his second point of the game. Garrett McFadden received a pass from Bakich off of an offensive zone face-off draw and snapped a shot on goal from the high slot that caught Gerard’s stick and redirected over the right shoulder of Dipietro. Gerard’s first Kelly Cup Playoff career goal earned himself, as well as Bakich, their first multi-point playoff games of their professional careers.
Nagle turned aside the final seven shots he faced in the third period to solidify the game one victory for the Royals and improve his Kelly Cup Playoff career record to 46-31-0. The Royals outshot the Mariners with 33 shots to Maine’s 26 in the game. The series opener victory was the Royals 11th-straight win over the Mariners at Santander Arena and improved Reading’s all-time record against Maine to 23-11-1.
The Royals continue their North Division Semifinal series against the Mariners on Saturday, April 22 at 7:00 p.m. at Santander Arena. Tickets to game two are available at ~ royalshockey.com ~ now!-
2022-23 & 2023-24 Season Memberships
Reading Royals season tickets, flex memberships and group tickets are available for the 2022-23 & now 2023-24 season by visiting the Royals’ box office at Santander Arena or by calling 610-898-7825.
About the Royals
The Reading Royals, proud affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers and Lehigh Valley Phantoms, are in their 21st season in the ECHL. They won their first Kelly Cup championship in 2013 and have clinched playoff berths in 12 of the previous 13 seasons. They are five-time division champions and were the 2021-22 Eastern Conference champion. The Berks County Convention Center Authority (BCCCA), founded in 1996, owns the Royals and oversees operations at Santander Arena.