The Newfoundland Growlers are set to visit Kansas for the first time in franchise history this week when they face the Wichita Thunder on Wednesday at INTRUST Bank Arena.
Although this marks the team’s first trip to Wichita, the matchup will offer a return of sorts to several current Newfoundland players. Gordie Green, Jeremy McKenna, Riley McCourt and Noel Hoefenmayer all played with the Thunder during the 2020-21 season with the Growlers opting out of the season due to COVID related complications.
Newfoundland were last in action on Sunday evening where they fell 5-1 to the Tulsa Oilers — Reigning ECHL Player of the Week Orrin Centazzo picked up the lone goal for the Growlers in the loss.
Wichita snapped a five-game losing streak on Sunday by skating to a 5-4 victory over the Kansas City Mavericks on home ice. Joe Manchurek picked up a pair of goals for the Thunder including the game winner.
Despite dropping two of their three contests this past weekend, Newfoundland find their way back atop the North Division standings as the ECHL have updated the standings format amid league wide cancellations.
With Points Percentage now the determining factor for playoff places, the Growlers lead all teams out at East at .680%, second only in the entire league to the Toledo Walleye. The Thunder currently sit in seventh place in the Mountain Division.
For Newfoundland, the hope will be to further separate themselves from the pack, while Wichita will be eager for two points to continue their efforts in climbing back into the playoff picture.
Puck drops is set for 9:35 pm NL time on Wednesday night. Growlers fans can watch the game live on FloSports (subscription required), listen to the call on Mixlr, or follow along on Twitter (@NLGrowlers) for game updates and highlights.
WHO TO WATCH:
NFL – Jeremy McKenna (F): Having spent most of the season in the AHL, McKenna has suited up for the Toronto Marlies in 14 games in 2021-22. Back with the Growlers where he’s picked up three points in four appearances this year, the 22-year-old could provide a crucial scoring touch as Newfoundland deal with some injury concerns at forward.
WIC – Jay Dickman (F): With 29 points in 32 games this season, Dickman has led the way offensively for Wichita to date. Currently in the basement of the Western Conference, the Thunder will need Dickman to continue to chip in on the scoresheet if they hope to improve their spot in the standings.