PORTLAND, ME – March 17, 2019 – The Mariners and Newfoundland Growlers dueled through a seemingly endless shootout on Sunday afternoon that hockey fans in Portland will be talking about for a long time. In the eighteenth round, Wade Murphy scored his second goal of the shootout to give the Mariners a 5-4 come from behind win, earning them two crucial points in the North Division playoff race. Drew Melanson and Dillan Fox each scored twice in regulation as the Mariners erased a two goal deficit in the third period.
Michael McNicholas was called for slashing just 15 seconds after the opening faceoff and the Growlers immediately capitalized, Brady Ferguson threw a pass off a Mariners defenseman and behind Chris Nell for a 1-0 Newfoundland lead just 22 seconds into the game. The Mariners tied it at the six minute mark when Drew Melanson deflected a Derek Pratt shot and then swatted the rebound out of the air past Eamon McAdam. At 13:15, Newfoundland went back again as Tyler Mayea beat Nell through heavy traffic for the first goal of his pro career. Two minutes later, Ferguson netted his 2nd goal of the period, blasting home a one-timer off a drop pass from Garrett Johnston. Ferguson finished the period with three points as the Growlers took a 3-1 lead into the locker room.
After a slow start to the 2nd period, Dillan Fox was set up by Taylor Cammarata at 9:22, just after the end of a Maine power play. Fox gave the goal back, however as he turned a puck over to Josh Kestner two minutes later and Kestner finished his own rebound after hitting the crossbar. The Mariners trailed 4-2 at the end of 40 minutes.
Maine finally capitalized on the power play at 9:29 of the third when Melanson found a loose puck around McAdam and dished it over the sprawling Growlers goalie. Less than a minute later, Brycen Martin was able to get a shot from the blue line all the way through to McAdam, who kicked a rebound right to Fox for his second goal of the game and a 4-4 tie. The game advanced through regulation and OT before a remarkable shootout commenced.
Ferguson was the first shooter and scored to give the Growlers the advantage. Taylor Cammarata evened it up in the 2nd round with a backhand move. The goaltenders reigned supreme until the 7th round when J.J. Piccinich and Brycen Martin traded goals to keep the shootout alive. Derien Plouffe opened the eighth round with a goal but Dwyer Tschantz deked McAdam to tie it once again. In the 10th round, Todd Skiriving put the Growlers up for the fourth time, forcing Wade Murphy to score, which he did. Evan Neugold appeared to deke Nell in the 11th round but after conferring, the officials ruled Nell got a piece of the puck first. The next six rounds were scoreless and in round 18 Nell stopped Piccinich, setting the stage for Murphy to play hero. McAdam attempted a poke check, but Murphy’s wrister beat him, sending the Cross Insurance Arena into a frenzy. Each of Ferguson, McNicholas, Piccinich, and Murphy had two attempts in the marathon shootout.
Nell earned the win, with 33 saves through four periods and 14/18 in the shootout. McAdam stopped 36/40 and 13/18. The Mariners held on to third place in the North Division, by one point over Manchester, two on Worcester, and now five over 6th place Brampton.
The Mariners will visit Worcester again on Friday at 7:05 before playing another home Sunday against Manchester at 3:00 PM on March 24th. It’s country night presented by 99.9 The Wolf. The first 500 fans will get a bandanna and concert giveaways to summer concerts including Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line will happen throughout the game. Tickets to can be purchased HERE or by calling the Trusted Choice Box Office at 207-775-3458.