ST. JOHN’S, NL – February 3, 2023 – Zach O’Brien broke a 1-1 tie in the third period and had a hand on all three Newfoundland goals, as the Growlers skated away with a 3-1 victory over the Mariners on Friday night at Mary Brown’s Centre. It was the first of three between the two hottest teams in the ECHL, with the Mariners and Growlers having each won nine of their last ten games entering play.
Newfoundland’s Derian Plouffe was called for a double-minor for hooking and unsportsmanlike conduct at 13:20 of the first, giving the Mariners a four-minute power play. They used almost the entire four minutes, but Reid Stefanson banged home a rebound at 17:18 for the only goal of the first period, with Gabriel Chicoine and Alex Kile collecting assists.
A Mariners penalty at the end of the first carried over into the second, and the Growlers used their power play to find the equalizer. Zach O’Brien, in his first game since January 14th, moved quickly from backhand to forehand at the goal line to beat the glove of Michael DiPietro and tie the game just 22 seconds into the middle frame. A tight-checking game remained tied 1-1 through 40 minutes.
Just 2:34 into the third, O’Brien netted his second goal of the night when right off a faceoff win, his wrister glanced off a Mariners defender and in. The Mariners killed two penalties late to stay in the game, but Jack Badini’s empty netted with 34 seconds to go sealed the game. O’Brien assisting, registered his league-leading 59th point of the season.
DiPietro continued his nice run in a losing effort, stopping 26 of 28, his ninth straight start allowing two or fewer goals. Dryden McKay stopped 24 of 25 in the Growlers net to win his fifth start in a row. The Mariners seven game road win streak came to an end.