St. John’s, NFL – The Newfoundland Growlers and Manchester Monarchs will face off in the North Division Final round of the ECHL’s Kelly Cup Playoffs. The Growlers are the new kids on the block, in the midst of their first season in the league. The Monarchs have been around a few years and are no strangers to the playoffs, making the postseason in each of their four seasons in the ECHL.
Final Regular Season Records
Newfoundland Growlers: 43-21-4-4, 94 points (1st in North Division, 2nd in Eastern Conference, 3rd in ECHL)
Manchester Monarchs: 39-29-2-2, 82 points (3rd in North Division, 5th in Eastern Conference, 10th in ECHL)
How They Got Here:
Newfoundland Growlers: The Growlers faced the Brampton Beast in the North Division Semifinal round. The Growlers squeaked out victories in the first three games of the series by scores of 2-1 in Game 1 and 2 (Game 2 went to overtime), and 3-2 in Game 3 (decided in double-OT). Brampton came back and won the next two by scores of 4-1 and 8-1, with Newfoundland goaltender Michael Garteig seemingly falling apart. He and the Growlers were able to recover for Game 6 however, finishing off the Beast 3-2 in overtime, with the series ending 4-2.
Manchester Monarchs: The Monarchs faced the Adirondack Thunder in the North Division Semifinal round. Like the Growlers, the Monarchs went up 3-0 in their series, only to be slowed down in Game 4. Manchester won the first three games by scores of 4-2, 6-1, and 3-2 (in overtime). Adirondack was down 3-1 entering the third period of Game 4, but scored three in the final frame to get the 4-3 victory. The Monarchs shellacked the Thunder the following night 7-1, taking the series 4-1.
Game 1 – Friday, April 26 – Manchester at NEWFOUNDLAND 7 pm NT
Game 2 – Saturday, April 27 – Manchester at NEWFOUNDLAND 7 pm NT
Game 3 – Tuesday, April 30 – Newfoundland at MANCHESTER 7 pm ET
Game 4 – Wednesday, May 1 – Newfoundland at MANCHESTER 7 pm ET
*Game 5 – Friday, May 3 – Newfoundland at MANCHESTER‡ 7 pm ET
*Game 6 – Monday, May 6 – Manchester at NEWFOUNDLAND 7 pm NT
*Game 7 – Tuesday, May 7 – Manchester at NEWFOUNDLAND 7 pm NT
‡Manchester’s “home” game on May 3 will not be played at SNHU Arena, but at The Rinks in Exeter, NH.
Season Series Recap:
Newfoundland did not lose a game to Manchester in regulation during the regular season, going 7-0-0-1. The Growlers heavily outscored the Monarchs 31-14, led by Brady Ferguson and Scott Pooley with seven goals apiece. Michael Garteig was in net for six of Newfoundland’s seven victories, making a total of 237 saves in the season series.
How Newfoundland Wins:
One word: Garteig. He’s not perfect, as shown in Newfoundland’s round one series with Brampton, but he has had Manchester’s number this season. If he can put the Brampton series behind him, he should be a brick wall against Manchester. Add in some firepower from Newfoundland’s top forwards, and they can easily win this series.
How Manchester Wins:
If the Monarchs want to win this series, they’ll have to find a way to solve Garteig. Manchester only scored 11 goals against him in the regular season. With the Growlers’ firepower, that won’t be enough to win this series. The Monarchs will have to pepper Garteig with quality shots. Charles Williams is the only Monarchs goaltender to record a victory against the Growlers, and will be looked upon to make big saves to keep his team in these games. The Monarchs defense will need to help him out a bit, keeping the Growlers away from the net and blocking shots when they can.
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