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Photo Credit: Nick Barden

Report from the Rock: The perfect road trip

The ECHL-leading Newfoundland Growlers remained perfect on the road and got their next homestand started on a winning note. That and more news, notes and stories coming from games 12-16 will be covered

In this run of games, the Growlers were a perfect 5-0, putting them to a 14-2 record on the season and solely in first place overall in the ECHL. As mentioned last time, Nathan Noel left the November 19 game against Reading after a fight, and it has since been confirmed that he broke something in his hand, which will put him on the shelf for a while. And that is disappointing because he had turned out to be such a revelation playing center for his fellow Newfoundlanders on the Made Right Here line.

One storyline that’s become apparent in the wake of this latest injury is just how flexible the players on this roster are. Eric Wellwood can assign any of his forwards to play center, and they fit the role. He can put any defenceman on any pairing, and they just seem to click after a shift or two.

“I’m extremely pleased with the boys, this wasn’t easy” said Wellwood during the postgame scrum on December 1, “we’ve been on the road for a long time. We got in here late Tuesday, so there hasn’t been a lot of rest, but they still up a really good performance.”

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This section of the schedule was backstopped entirely by Evan Cormier, who has now started the Growlers’ last seven games straight while Keith Petruzzelli was in the AHL. Cormier holds the top honours in the ECHL right now with nine wins to his name. Petruzzelli was returned to Newfoundland just as the team wrapped up their long road-trip at the end of November, so expect to see a more normal rotation going forward.

This stretch of games was also when the Super Newfs, Zach O’Brien and Marcus Power, really got going. Power picked up five goals, including the team’s first hat trick of the season. O’Brien meanwhile, scored six goals (four of them in one game) and added five assists to storm to the top of the team scoring leaderboard, with 22 points in 16 games. Power is naturally right behind him, sitting at a point-per-game (15 in 15).

As always, we’ll end off with the latest roster news: Petruzzelli’s return from the Toronto Marlies was already mentioned, he’ll no doubt see some action this weekend. Jeremy McKenna’s Growlers tenure lasted exactly two games. He picked up two points (including an overtime game-winning goal) before being promptly called back up to the AHL.

Bobby Lynch was added from the Manitoba Moose, a speedy winger with great hands, he has three points in his first four games with the team. Goaltender Kris Oldham was released from his contract following Petruzzelli’s reassignment. And lastly, Ryan Chyzowski was called up to the Marlies once again and has begun playing games at the AHL level.

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The Growlers, now reinstated at the Mary Brown’s Centre, will play their next five games at home before heading out on the road again to conclude the calendar year.