Manchester, N.H. – The Newfoundland Growlers and Manchester Monarchs met up for Game 4 of the North Division Final Wednesday night in New Hampshire. Newfoundland entered the game holding a 2-1 edge in the series.
The Monarchs got on the board first at 11:28 of the first period when Chris Carlisle took a shot from the blue line. Growlers netminder Michael Garteig made the save, but Cory Ward scored on the rebound. That was the only tally in the opening frame, and Manchester went into the second period with a 1-0 lead.
The Growlers came back with a vengeance in the middle frame, scoring three straight on goaltender Charles Williams. Josh Kestner scored on a breakaway 6:50 in to tie it up. About seven minutes later, Zach O’Brien received a drop pass from Marcus Power and was able to put it home. A few minutes later, Brady Ferguson took a shot from the faceoff circle that beat Williams. After trailing by one entering the period, the Growlers suddenly had a 3-1 lead.
It took all of six seconds for Manchester to respond. David Kolomatis passed the puck up to Pierre-Luc Mercier for a breakaway. His shot beat Garteig, and the Monarchs went into the third period trailing 3-2.
The Growlers regained their two-goal lead 5:25 into the third period. Ferguson won a faceoff in the Monarchs zone, and O’Brien picked the puck up along the boards. He backhanded it to Sam Jardine on the blue line, who passed over to Giorgio Estephan. His slapshot beat Williams glove side.
Only one minute and nineteen seconds later, Mercier picked up his second of the night. After a battle along the boards, Mercier picked up the puck behind the net and threw it out front, hitting Garteig’s stick and ricocheting into the net. Despite peppering Garteig with 21 shots in the third, the Monarchs were unable to get another, and the game ended with a 4-3 Growlers victory.
Newfoundland went 3-for-5 on the power play. O’Brien and Ferguson each picked up a power play tally in the second period, while Estephan added one in the third. Manchester was 0-for-1.
Garteig once again came up big for his team, following Tuesday’s 39-save effort with 44 saves Wednesday. He has made a total of 292 saves in the playoffs, with 130 of them coming in the four games against the Monarchs.
The Monarchs now have their backs against the wall, down 3-1 in the best-of-seven series. Game 5 is Friday in nearby Exeter, NH. If the Growlers win Friday, they will advance to the Eastern Conference Final. If the Monarchs win, the series will shift back to Newfoundland for Game 6 (Monday), and if needed, Game 7 (Tuesday).