The Newfoundland Growlers kick off an eight-game road trip this weekend with three different divisional destinations in as many nights as they visit the Maine Mariners, Adirondack Thunder and Reading Royals.
Newfoundland left the province winners of four straight on home ice as they swept the Maine Mariners in last week’s series at Mary Brown’s Centre. Their most recent victory came last Sunday with a 4-3 OT decision where Zach O’Brien scored his second of the afternoon to seal it for the Growlers during 3-on-3 play.
Growlers goaltender Keith Petruzzelli allowed just two goals in his three starts against Maine last week, earning ECHL Goalie of the Week honours for the second time this season, while improving his 2021-22 save percentage to a league best .933 along the way.
Much like Maine, Adirondack find themselves in a slump, having dropped four straight contests — the most recent defeat a 5-3 loss to the Trois-Rivières Lions on Tuesday at Colisée Vidéotron.
Reading’s recent form has largely been positive as they riddled off five straight victories to open the month of February including a three-game sweep over the Growlers at Mary Brown’s Centre), but the Royals winning streak was halted in dramatic fashion last time out as they were topped 10-4 by Trois-Rivières last Saturday night.
As is stands, the Royals sit atop the North Division with a 0.667 points percentage through 39 games played. With three games in hand and sitting in 2nd place on 0.625 points percentage, the Growlers can gain ground on Reading all while keeping the rest of the division at bay this weekend in a trio of “four point” matchups away from home.
Puck drops is set for 8:45 pm NL time on Friday in Maine, 8:30 pm on Saturday evening in Adirondack, while Sunday’s action gets underway at 4:30 pm in Reading. Growlers fans can watch all three games 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 – Orrin Centazzo (F): One of the hottest skaters in the ECHL of late, Centazzo currently leads the Growlers in goals with 16 and his 30 points in 26 games played trails only line mate Zach O’Brien (40 points in 28 games) on the team. Getting an extended look on Newfoundland’s top line, the first-year pro is becoming an increasingly reliable source of offence for the Growlers.
MNE – Matthew Santos (F): Picking up three points on the five goals the Mariners scored against Newfoundland across last week, Santos has led the way all season for his club, currently first in points for Maine with 35. The 26-year-old should be a marked man on Friday at Cross Insurance Arena.
ADK – Shane Harper (F): Suiting up in just 22 games this year thanks to injuries, Harper has still managed to amass 25 points to date, good for 4th on the Thunder. With over 10 years of pro experience, the 33-year-old could be crucial for Adirondack on Saturday and down the stretch if they hope to get hot and climb the standings.
REA – Thomas Ebbing (F): Third in points (25) and second in goals scored (15) on the Royals in 2021-22, Ebbing was one of two Royals to score a hat-trick against the Growlers back on February 3 in a 9-2 win. Newfoundland will have the Troy, Michigan native noted as one of the offensive weapons to contain on Sunday.