The Newfoundland Growlers will look to move away from the win one-lose one cadence they’ve been marching to on the road as they finish up their first away trip of the ECHL season tonight in Portland, Me.
The game against the Maine Mariners also concludes a testing stretch that will have seen Newfoundland (5-4-0) play three games in three nights in three different cities.
The Growlers scored four second-period goals as they downed the Worcester Railers 5-2 Friday after dropping a 5-4 decision to the Reading Royals Thursday.
The road trip began with a couple of contests in Portland last weekend, when Newfoundland lost 5-2 in the first meeting with the Mariners (2-4-1), then bounced back for a victory by the same score the following night.
A win tonight would put defending ECHL champion Newfoundland two games above .500 for just the second time in the three-week-old 2019-20 season; the first time was when they were 3-1-0 on Oct. 18.
On Friday, before just over 2,900 fans in Worcester, Mass., first-year forward Riley Woods scored twice for the Growlers, while Matt Bradley and Scott Pooley each had a goal and an assist.
Giorgio Estephan had Newfoundland’s other tally. Aaron Luchuk added to his league-leading points total with a pair of helpers, while rookie rearguard Joseph Duszak also had a couple of assists.
Barry Almeidia and JD Dudek replied for the Railers (3-4-0), the ECHL affiliate of the New York Islanders.
Patrick Munson made 29 saves in the Growlers goal.
Newfoundland, which outshot Worcester 37-31, went zero-for-six on the power-play, but still owns the league’s best record with the man advantage, clicking at 31.1 per cent.
Luchuk’s 16 points puts him on top of the league scoring list, three up on Estephan and Newfoundland rookie Colt Conrad, tied with 13 points each … The Growlers have scored five or more goals in six of their nine games to date …. Newfoundland’s 41 goals are the most in the ECHL and its 4.36 goals-per-game average is second-highest in the league, just behind the Fort Wayne Komers (4.37) … The three stars Friday were Woods (1), Duszak (2) and Bradley (3) … The Growlers activated rookie defenceman Tommy Panico and forward Todd Skirving before Friday’s game, and both were in the starting lineup against the Railers. Defenceman Evan Neugold was put on reserve in a corresponding move … The Toronto Marlies, the AHL affiliate of Newfoundland, made a rare minor-league trade this week, sending defenceman Ryan Johnston to the San Diego Gulls for future considerations. Johnston, who had been a healthy scratch for every game so far this season, once played for the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps when they were the farm team of the Montreal Canadiens. He signed an AHL deal with the Marlies after playing in Europe last season …