PORTLAND, ME – October 19, 2018 – After surrendering a 2-0 lead, the Mariners found themselves on the comeback trail in the third, and came up a goal shy in a 6-4 loss to the Reading Royals on Friday night at the Cross Insurance Arena. The game featured the first professional point for four Mariners, including first goals for defensemen Derek Pratt and Garrett Cecere.
The Mariners grabbed their first lead of the season midway through the first period as Terrence Wallin scored at 10:24, burying a rebound produced by Ryan Culkin. Antoine Waked got his first of two assists on the night on the goal. The Mariners held an 11-10 shot advantage and a 1-0 lead after one period.
At 1:20 of the second period, Alex Kile doubled the Mariners advantage with a power play goal, flipping his own rebound under the crossbar. Wallin picked up a helper with Zach Tolkinen registering his point of the season with the secondary assist. Reading’s Adam Schmidt scored a key goal just 1:11 later, putting home an active carom off the board behind Mariners goaltender Chris Nell to cut the lead to 2-1. Late in the frame, the Royals got even, when captain Nick Luukko wristed a shot past Nell at the tail end of a four-minute Reading power play. That goal set off two more – by Josh MacDonald and Shane Walsh before the period ended. MacDonald made a nifty deflection from an Adam Larkin point shot at 18:24 to give Reading its first lead. With less than two seconds to go, Walsh’s backbreaking goal, sent the Mariners into the intermission down two.
Just 30 seconds into the third period, the Royals scored their fifth goal in a row when Brayden Low’s shot deflected behind Nell, then off his sprawling glove and in. At 4:01, Derek Pratt finished off a good shift from the Drew Melanson – Riley Bourbonnais – Antoine Waked line by burying his first professional goal off a Melanson feed. At 11:12, Garrett Cecere got his first, finding the back of the net through traffic. Good forechecking by Ryan Ferrill and Luke Stork earned each forward their first pro points on the goal. Attempting to make a final push with the goaltender pulled, Michael Huntebrinker’s heave from his own zone rolled into the empty net to seal the Mariners’ fate.
Branden Komm, who has started all three of Reading’s games, made 28 saves for his 2nd win. Nell also stopped 28 in the losing effort.
The Mariners head on the road for the first time in the regular season on Saturday with a 7:05 faceoff at DCU Center in Worcester against the Railers. They return home Sunday afternoon for a meeting with the Newfound Growlers at 3:00. The game features a postgame skate with the team for all who purchase a ticket to the game. Skates must be brought and checked in at the C.N. Brown Landing upon entering the gate. Individual tickets can be purchased at MarinersOfMaine.com.