ST. JOHN’S, NL – There’s something to be said about a team that can break a slump and pull it together. Being down 2-0, the Newfoundland Growlers pulled ahead of the Adirondack Thunder to wipe away a two-game losing skid in Tuesday’s game.
The goaltending looked the same for Wednesday’s contest as it did in their previous tilt. Parker Gahagen and Emon McAdam both got the nod respectively from both coaches. Gahagen, who is in his rookie season, has a 0.944 SVS%; McAdam has a 0.885 SVS%.
Like Tuesday’s game, Adirondack was quick to get on the board with a goal from Blake Thompson. Parked in the slot, he batted the puck mid-air on a rebound to get the game’s first goal. That goal marked his first of the season.
With 3:22 left in the first period, the Thunder would strike again. Gahagen once again found himself with a free defender and an open glove side, as Charlie Curti shoveled the puck from the rebound and scored from the same position as the first Adirondack tally.
With 20 minutes completed, the shot sheet read 9-7 Growlers, but it was all Thunder in the first. Adirondack controlled the play on their two power play chances, finding themselves set up in the offensive zone and controlling the game. With the Newfoundland’s good track record for second periods, Adirondack needed to keep the momentum.
The Growlers were down but not out, as they would score their first goal early in the second. With Marcus Power streaking towards the net, Aaron Luchuk spun the pass to the Newfoundland native and potted the Growlers’ opening goal.
The ECHL’s highest scoring team wouldn’t put on the breaks, either. Juston Breazau made a stunning move to split the defence and ripped a shot from the slot to tie the game. The goal marked the second straight game Adirondack has forfeited a 2-0 lead.
With the play streaking towards their offensive zone, Robbie Payne attempted to start a fight behind the play, but Matt Bradley had no intention of fighting. With a four-minute penalty on the board, Newfoundland’s special teams came up big with a marker from Brazeau. The goal was waved off on a questionable high stick. Newfoundland couldn’t find their rhythm again and took a tripping call to nullify the opportunity.
— Zack Power (@zackpowerNL) December 19, 2019
With a tied second, I looked at a middle regulation frame as where the Growlers found their composure and Adirondack lost it. Newfoundland dominated the shot sheet 12-5 in that measure and showed a solid power play. The Thunder controlled the first, and Newfoundland found it in the second. Being tied this time on Tuesday and losing, Adirondack needed to change their fortune for the third period.
Just over six minutes into the third, the Growlers got off on what could have been a questionable too many men call. With the ref allowing play to continue, Scott Pooley sniped one past McAdam on the glove side. The Thunder bench was fuming as the fog horn of Mile One blasted throughout the arena.
Just moments later, Power scored Newfoundland’s fourth unanswered goal. Getting his second of the night, it changed the complexion of the game. Adirondack took its timeout to clear the air after giving up two goals in 22 seconds.
In the final stages of the third, Adirondack found life and got back in the game on the power play. Being mounted in the offensive zone, Mike Szmatula received a cross-crease pass from Curti, who buried the shot blocker side. The goal gave a gateway for what could have been a momentum swing, but was quickly extinguished with a Thunder penalty.
The Growlers would add an empty-netter by Mac Hollowell to complete the mission and take the second straight contest against the Thunder.
For the Newfoundland Growlers, I think back to something Head Coach John Snowden told me in the media scrum yesterday. He said, “Once you score the first goal, you automatically open the flood gates.” For the Growlers, that’s how they won Wednesday night. Scoring the first goal in the opening stages of the second period set the tone for the rest of the period and maybe even the game.
As for Adirondack, they came into Mile One Center and blew a pair of two-goal leads. Having what looked like a clear cut advantage in each of the contests, it was quickly diminished. After they potted the two goals, it seemed like they eased on the brakes.
Killing a team’s momentum is never easy, and the Thunder tried to do that with hitting and fighting. Unfortunately, it backfired on them, creating a snowball of penalties and ultimately resulting in two come-from-behind Newfoundland victories.
WHAT’S COOL ON TWITTER
— Matthew Harding (@SinBinThunder) December 18, 2019
Zack Power is a St. John’s, Newfoundland native who normally covers the AHL’s Toronto Marlies for The Sin Bin. However, being back home from university for the holiday break, he is covering the ECHL’s Newfoundland Growlers!
Follow Zack on Twitter, and don’t forget to “like” The Sin Bin on Facebook for total coverage of the AHL, ECHL, and SPHL!