Newfoundland Growlers (17-11-2-0) vs Reading Royals (19-9-5-1)Thursday, February 3 – St. John’s, Newfoundland
OFFICIAL GAME SHEETGame Story
The Newfoundland Growlers started their seven game homestand on a sour note as they lost 9-2 to the Reading Royals on Thursday evening at Mary Brown’s Centre.
Neither side managed to find a breakthrough in the opening 20 minutes thanks to some strong goaltending at both ends of the ice. Growlers netminder Evan Cormier turned away all 12 shots he faced in the first period, while Reading’s Kirill Ustimenko made 16 stops to keep things at 0-0 heading into the first intermission.
Marc Johnstone broke the deadlock just 26 seconds into the second period as he banged one home at the backdoor to make it 1-0 Growlers just after the break.
Reading found a response less than a minute later as Trevor Gooch found himself in all alone, beating Cormier blocker side to tie things at 1-1 1:18 into the 2nd.
The Royals carried that offensive momentum across the second period as Dominic Cormier, Jacob Pritchard, and Thomas Ebbing all found the back of the net to give the visitors a commanding 4-1 lead.
Just before the second intermission, Johnstone would pick up his second of the night to get Newfoundland back within two heading into the third period, finishing off a great centering feed from Jeremy McKenna to make it 4-2 Royals after 40 minutes.
Any comeback bid from the home team was quickly dismissed by Reading as they got five goals in the third period as Ebbing and Gooch both got two more for their hattrick, while Brad Morrison got his name on the scoresheet as well to see the Royals take an 9-2 win in the series opener.
- Marc Johnstone scored two goals in a game for the first time as a Growler.
- Jordan Escott made his professional hockey debut in the loss.
- Nathan Noel returned to the lineup after being sidelined with a hand injury since November.
Three Stars1. REA – T. Gooch2. REA – T. Ebbing3. REA – J. Pritchard