A week ago in Game 2 of this ECHL opening-round playoff series, Callum Booth was pulled from the Maine Mariners net early in the second period after surrendering two goals in 29 seconds.

Friday night against the same Reading Royals team that chased him to the bench early last week, Booth was much, much sharper.

Booth made 32 saves for a shutout and the Mariners took a 4-0 win in front of 3,969 fans at Cross Insurance Arena to even the best-of-seven series at 2-2.

The Mariners also host Game 5 at 6 p.m. Saturday.

“It’s playoffs. Every day is a new day, and today was huge. We were able to pull out the win, but tomorrow is a new day. We have to do the same thing all over again,” Booth said. “The game’s over. It’s not going to carry in to tomorrow.”

Mariners Coach Ben Guite said he thought Booth looked strong right from the start of the game.


“You can tell usually by the first couple of saves they make. Those are usually pretty tough saves and it felt like he got there on his feet. (Booth) saw the puck, he set his feet, and it was one of those nights where he’s tough to beat,” Guite said.

While his coach thought Booth looked sharp, the goalie said there’s never a moment early in a game when he feels like he’s in the zone.

“You can never tell. You’ve just got to hope the pucks hit you. Sometimes they all hit you, sometimes they don’t,” Booth said.

Maine took a 1-0 lead late in the second period. With the teams skating 4 on 4, Nick Master whipped a shot from the left circle over the left shoulder of Reading goalie Logan Flodell. Mathew Santos and Andrew Peski assisted on the goal, Master’s second of the series.

The Mariners added an insurance goal on the power play at 5:38 of the third. Alex Kile slipped behind a pair of Reading defenders, took a Santos pass and slid the puck past Flodell for a 2-0 lead. It was the first goal of the playoffs for Kile, who rejoined the Mariners after spending much of the second half of the season with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the American Hockey League.

Maine added another power-play goal at 17:22 after Reading was whistled for too many men on the ice. Cam Askew scored, with assists from Kile and Zach Malatesta. After going 0 for 7 on the power play over the first two games of the series, both Reading wins, Maine was 3 for 6 with the man-advantage in Games 3 and 4 combined. Kile’s return Friday was a boost to the power play, Guite said.


“He was called up to Lehigh Valley, and they ended up signing him to a contract. Now that their season is over, he wanted to come here and play some playoff games. He’d be crazy not to,” Guite said.

Keltie Jeri-Leon scored an empty-net goal at 18:21.

Booth and the Mariners penalty killing unit passed a stiff test midway through the second period after Conner Bleackley was assessed a double minor for high sticking. Despite controlling the puck in Maine’s zone for most of those four minutes, the Royals managed just two shots. Reading did get 14 shots in the second period, all turned away by Booth.

“Our kill has been good all year. That was just another example of it. If we can keep working hard like that, good things will happen,” Booth said.

Neither team generated a lot of chances in a scoreless first period. Reading managed two shots on a power play midway through the period when Maine defenseman Zach Malatesta was off for cross-checking, but Booth made a nice right-pad save on the second shot.

Flodell made 22 saves for the Royals.

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