The Newfoundland Growlers played without leading scorer Zach O’Brien Friday night.
The player who was sent to the Newfoundland by the Toronto Marlies at the same time O’Brien was promoted to the AHL team certainly picked up any slack.
Brady Ferguson, in his first game with the Growlers in nearly two weeks, scored twice, and so did Scott Pooley as Newfoundland (39-16-4) downed the Orlando Solar Bears 5-1 in ECHL action Friday at Mile One Centre in St. John’s.
It was the opening game of a three games-in-three days series with the Solar Bears (31-21-4) that continues tonight at Mile One.
On Friday, before nearly 4,000 fans, Marcus Power scored his 20th goal of the season and added an assist, while Ryan Moore had three helpers to contribute to the Growlers’ third straight victory.
Newfoundland netminder Michael Garteig made 24 saves. His Orlando counterpart, former Canadian world junior Connor Ingram, was much busier, facing 42 shots.
The visiting Solar Bears scored first on Orlando leading point-getter Mathieu Forget’s goal six-and-a-half minutes into the contest. That seemed to be a good sign for the Drake Berehosly-coached visitors, who came to St. John’s having won 20 of the 23 games in which they had the opening marker. However, Forget's tally would be it for the Solar Bears offensively. Meanwhile, Pooley tied it up later in the first, Power scored what would be the game-winner midway through the second and Ferguson, who had been assigned to the Growlers Thursday, started the run of insurance goals later in the middle frame with his 20th of the season and first of the night.
The trio of Growlers-Solar Bears matchups ends with a game 4 p.m. Sunday. That’s will also finish up a busy homestand for Newfoundland, which will have played seven games in 10 days.
It was a Newfoundland three-star sweep Friday: 1. Pooley, who also had an assist for a three-point night 2. Power 3. Ferguson … Pooley’s 26 goals are most on the Growlers and second-most among all rookies in the ECHL …Orlando defenceman and St. John’s native Cody Donaghey played what he said is his first competitive game in his hometown in seven years Friday. Despite the score, the 22-year-old, who is on assignment to Orlando by the San Jose Sharks, finished at plus-one for the night … For the second time during this homestand, a defenceman signed to a try-out contract out of the collegiate ranks made his debut for Newfoundland. Cory Dunn was brought in on an ATO from NCAA Division III Adrian College in Michigan, where he was a two-time NCHA first-team conference all-star. Paired with veteran Adam Pardy, Dunn actually was in the starting lineup, and finished the night with an assist, picked up on Ferguson’s second goal of the night late in the third period … Dunn joins a Growlers blueline corps that also includes Tyler Mayea, who has played in four straight games since being signed to a tryout from the Ontario University of Technology …