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Zach O'Brien back with the Newfoundland Growlers, but Marlies recall Pooley in his place

The Newfoundland Growlers have Zach O'Brien on the roster as they begin a six-game ECHL road trip tonight. However, the team still finds itself suddenly shallow when it comes to forward depth.
The Newfoundland Growlers have Zach O'Brien on the roster as they begin a six-game ECHL road trip tonight. However, the team still finds itself suddenly shallow when it comes to forward depth. - Newfoundland Growlers/Jeff Parsons

Team is looking thinner up front after two Russian forwards leave for Europe

The Newfoundland Growlers are getting leading scorer Zach O’Brien as they start a six-game road trip tonight in Glens Falls, N.Y., but have lost top goal-getter Scott Pooley.

O’Brien (25-33-58) was returned to Newfoundland by the Toronto Marlies Thursday after appearing in a couple of games in his latest stint with the AHL club. In his place, the Marlies have recalled Pooley, who has 26 goals for the Growlers.

That means there remains five players with the Marlies who have been recalled from Newfoundland since the beginning of February; forwards Hudson Elynuik and Griffen Molino, and defencemen Sam Jardine and Kristians Rubins are the others.

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With the raft of injuries that have beset the Marlies and the parent Toronto Maple Leafs above them, there’s no expectation of the Growlers getting the majority of those players back any time soon. Consider this, the latest IR list for AHL Toronto contained seven names.

Newfoundland is also down two other forwards, with Maxim Mizyurin and Semyon “Sam” Babintsev both leaving the Growlers to explore opportunities in their native Russia.

The two have been put on Newfoundland’s suspended list.

Neither had been a regular player, which was apparently the chief reason they were seeking releases to go home.

Mizyurin had been hurt much of the season and dressed in only six games.

Babintsev seems to be the bigger loss. Even though he had only appeared in 32, or just about half, of the Growlers games, he had often been effective when in the lineup, scoring 11 goals, adding as many assists and posting a plus-nine rating.

All this leaves the Growlers with a 20-man roster consisting of two goalies, eight defencemen and 10 forwards, the latter the normal minimum for a game-day lineup.

However, this is the time of the season when collegiate free agents start populating minor-league hockey rosters and word is the Growlers could soon be adding a couple of forwards via this route.

Newfoundland has already recently brought in two defenceman — Tyler Matea and Cory Dunn — after they finished their university careers.

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