The Newfoundland Growlers were in good shape through 47 minutes of their ECHL game in Portland, Me., Sunday afternoon, until a letdown resulted in two goals by the homestanding Mariners within 17 seconds and a 4-2 Growlers loss.
The game at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland was the first between the Growlers and Mariners, expansion teams in the ECHL
Leading 2-1 nearing the mid-way point of the third period, the Growlers surrendered back-to-back goals to Dawson Leedahl, on the power play, and Alex Kile, and were unable to catch up en route to losing yet another game after winning the previous start.
On Friday night at the SNHU Arena in Manchester, N.H., the Growlers opened their eight-game, 18-day road trip with a 4-1 win over the Monarchs.
In four home games this past week to open their inaugural season, the Growlers won the first game in each series before losing the second.
Sunday afternoon in Portland, the Mariners’ Drew Melanson opened scoring at 9:42 of the first period, but the Growlers evened things just three seconds later when Ryan Moore potted his third goal of the season.
Shortly after the Moore goal, the Mariners were called for slashing and St. John’s native Marcus Power deflected in his second career pro goal, in his second straight game, off a point blast from Moore to put the Growlers ahead by 2-1.
It stayed that way until Leedahl and Kile beat Michael Garteig in the third. Kile added another into an empty net.
Garteig stopped 20 of 23 shots.
Friday night, Garteig made 38 saves in the Growlers’ win over the Monarchs. Deerian Plouffe and Power notched their first pro goals. Scott Pooley and Giorgio Estephan also scored.
The Growlers’ road trip continues Wednesday with a game in Reading, Pa., against the Royals, and then it’s back-to-back games against the Beast in Brampton, Ont. on Saturday and Sunday.
Growlers forward Zach O’Brien of St. John’s was a member of the Manchester Monarchs team which won the Calder Cup AHL championship in 2015 … The pair of games pitting the St. John’s-based Growlers, Monarchs and Portland-based Mariners were once staples on the AHL schedule when all three cities were long-time members of that circuit … Defenceman Cody Smith made his Growlers debut against the Monarchs, hours after signing with the club and was a plus-4 on the night. Smith, 25, had been playing for the Peoria Rivermen of the Southern Pro circuit …