That extra day off didn’t hurt the Newfoundland Growlers.
The line of Giorgio Estephan, Brady Ferguson and Josh Kestner combined for five goals and 10 points as the Growlers blasted the Atlanta Gladiators 8-2 in ECHL action Thursday night in Duluth, Ga.
The game had been scheduled for Wednesday, but was postponed for a day. That was because the Growlers’ Wednesday morning flight from Toronto to Atlanta was cancelled by snowy conditions at Pearson International Airport.
Ferguson (2G, 2A), Estephan (2G, A) and Kestner (1G, 2A) swept the three-star honours Thursday as Newfoundland scored seven time before the game was halfway done.
Derian Plouffe, J.J. Piccinich and James Melindy also had goals for the Growlers (33-14-3), who extended their first-place lead in the North Division to 10 points over the Adirondack Thunder.
Hudson Elynuik had a pair of assists for Newfoundland, while netminder Eamon McAdam made 31 saves for the victory, which keeps the Growlers unbeaten in their last four games (3-0-1)
Daniel Leavins and Matt Lane replied for the Gladiators (19-20-7).
Newfoundland is now 14-7-2 on the road and will look to improve on that record tonight in North Charleston. S.C., where they take on the South Carolina Stingrays (25-19-4). It’s the middle game of a three-game southern U.S. road trip that concludes Sunday afternoon in Greenville, S.C., where they take on the Swamp Rabbits.
The Stingrays have a connection to St. John’s in that they were once the ECHL affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs when St. John’s was home to the Leafs’ AHL farm club. Among the players who skated with both South Carolina and St. John’s Maple Leafs were Rob Concannon, who is now the Stingrays president, and Jared Bednar who began his coaching career in South Carolina, eventually moving up the ranks and becoming bench boss on the NNHL’s Colorado Avalanche. Both Concannon and Bednar are members of the Stingrays’ Hall of Fame.