2023 Maine Mariners vs Reading Royals

ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs: Reading Royals Eliminate Maine Mariners In Game 6

ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs: Reading Royals Eliminate Maine Mariners In Game 6

Reading outlasts Maine in a hard-fought series in the opening round of the 2023 Kelly Cup Playoffs.

Apr 30, 2023 by Chris Peters
ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs: Reading Royals Eliminate Maine Mariners In Game 6

The Reading Royals didn’t have it easy in their opening-round series of the Kelly Cup Playoffs, but they’re moving on nonetheless. For the second straight year, the Royals dispatched the Maine Mariners in six games to advance to the North Division finals.

Reading punctuated their series win with a decisive 6-2 victory on home ice in Game 6, ending a series that was defined by mostly tight games that felt like they could go either way. The Royals won Games 1 and 2 at home by slim margines before losing Games 3 and 4 on the road. They then managed to earn a tight 4-3 victory in Game 5 to become the first road team to win a game in this series.

Series Results

Reading 2, Maine 1
Reading 5, Maine 3
Maine 4, Reading 3
Maine 7, Reading 3
Reading 4, Maine 3
Reading 6, Maine 2

With the benefit of home ice in Game 6, the Royals put the series away even though the first two periods saw plenty of back-and-forth action. Reading never trailed in the game, providing responses to Maine goals in fewer than two minutes each time the Mariners scored.

A pair of quick strikes in the second period allowed Reading to put some distance between themselves and Maine. Garrett McFadden scored at the 5:21 mark to make it a 3-2 game before Philadelphia Flyers prospect Zayde Wisdom scored his third goal of the playoffs, deflecting a puck in off of a Evan Barratt rebound to add the insurance goal just 44 seconds later.

Barratt, who was a standout player at Penn State before embarking on his pro career, had three assists in the game and is up to six helpers in the playoffs. Traded to the Philadelphia organization from the Chicago Blackhawks earlier this year, Barratt has made a massive impact for the Royals, having scored 50 points in 46 games during the regular season before putting up eight points in the series against the Mariners.

In the third period, Reading managed to add two late ones to leave no doubt and start the celebration early.

The Royals also got another quality performance in Game 6 from ECHL veteran netminder Pat Nagle. The 2022 U.S. Olympian was appearing in his 86th career game in the Kelly Cup Playoffs and stopped 21 of 23 shots to earn his 49th postseason win in the league. Nagle posted a .926 save percentage in the series, winning four of his five starts for the club.

Reading may not have to wait long to find out who their second-round opponent will be as the Newfoundland Growlers are one win away from closing out their own North Division semifinal series with the Adirondack Thunder. Those two clubs will meet in Game 5 in Newfoundland Sunday night with the Growlers holding a 3-1 series advantage.