Seemingly fading toward a major hole in their first-round series, the Maine Mariners rallied to put a charge back into their playoff hopes Monday night.

Alex-Olivier Voyer scored 14:52 into overtime after Tim Doherty tallied a late tying goal, and the Mariners topped the Reading Royals 4-3 at the Cross Insurance Arena in Game 3 of their first-round series in the ECHL playoffs.

Game 4 is at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Portland.

“It feels good. You dream about this your whole life, getting a goal in overtime in a playoff game,” Voyer said. “I’m really happy for the team. We worked hard and we got the win.”

Maine entered the day down 2-0 in the series, and was heading for a 3-0 hole after goals by Reading’s Zayde Wisdom and Max Newton erased a 2-1 Mariners lead and had the Royals protecting a 3-2 lead in the final minutes of regulation.

“You never want to say you’re done when you’re not officially done,” Maine Coach Terrence Wallin said. “But going down 3-0 obviously limits your chances quite a bit.”


With 2:06 to play, however, Maine pulled even at 3-3 with the extra attacker on the ice when Carter Johnson sent the puck on net from just in front of the blue line by the right boards and Doherty tipped it in. In overtime, Maine got a break when Newton was called for a delay of game penalty with 6:05 left after sending a puck out of play.

It was the chance the weary Mariners were looking for.

“I think everybody on our team was saying ‘Let’s go power play, this is the time,’ ” Doherty said. “We just had that feeling throughout the bench, that we were going to score.”

A pass from the right point went to Doherty in the slot, who passed over to Curtis Hall right of the crease. With Reading goalie Pat Nagle swung over to his side, Hall whipped a perfect pass to Voyer on the left, who one-timed a shot into the net for the win.

“Our backs were against the wall, we needed that win pretty bad,” Doherty said. “I think it says a lot about us to be down 3-2, late, come back and be able to win in overtime. If we keep clawing, the wins will come for us.”

It was Maine’s first power-play goal in 10 chances. It couldn’t have come at a better time.


“It felt like there wasn’t going to be a penalty called unless they shot the puck out of play,” Wallin said. “It was especially nice because our power play has been oh-fer in the series. … It was nice to get them off the schneid, and obviously it came at the biggest moment.”

Maine led 2-1 going into the third, but Reading quickly pulled even when Wisdom roofed a shot over Francois Brassard’s shoulder with 18:25 to play, and then went ahead with 10:38 to go when Newton fired a shot from the left faceoff dot that rattled off a post but, upon review, was ruled to have crossed the line.

The drama, however, was just getting started, as a seemingly innocuous play proved fortuitous when Johnson threw the puck toward the net and Doherty was perfectly placed to deflect it past Nagle. The series continued to follow the path of last year’s playoff showdown, which saw Reading take the first two games before Maine won the next two in Portland.

“Going down 3-2, I think there was a sense of a little bit of deflation,” Wallin said. “And then, like we always do, we scratch and claw our way into a game, find a way to tie it late, and then you could kind of start to feel our mojo go a little and our confidence kick in.”

Reading took control early, registering 10 of the game’s first 13 shots on goal, and taking a lead on a 5-on-3 advantage when Charlie Gerard sent a pass over to Evan Barratt on the right side and Barratt quickly buried it for a 1-0 lead with 15:13 to go in the period.

Maine pulled even when Fedor Gordeev skated from the left side into the low slot and snapped a shot past Nagle with 11:14 left in the first. A Reading attempt to advance the puck up the ice then went awry when Maine’s Nick Master knocked it down midflight while still in the attacking zone. Master kept it himself and scored on the rush for a 2-1 lead with 5:04 to go in the period.

Francois Brassard made 36 saves for the Mariners. Nagle stopped 46 for the Royals.

Comments are no longer available on this story