PORTLAND, ME – March 25, 2022 – Despite Andrew Peski’s game-tying goal with less than six minutes to play, the Newfoundland Growlers came out on top thanks to Todd Skirving’s tally less than 30 seconds later, defeating the Mariners 4-3 on Friday night at the Cross Insurance Arena.
In the first period, the Mariners came out hot as Alex Kile opened the scoring just 1:23 in when Tyler Hinam spotted him alone in front of Growlers goaltender Angus Redmond. Kile was playing his first game as a Mariner since January after an extended stint with the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The Mariners lead wouldn’t last very long as the top goal-scoring team in the ECHL quickly responded with defenseman James Melindy finding the net just 40 seconds later.
The action-packed first period didn’t stop there as Maine’s Ian McKinnon wristed in another goal to put the Mariners back ahead still not five minutes into the game. Mariners goaltender Jeremy Brodeur kept the team ahead for another four minutes of play but could not stop the shot from Zach O’Brien, who capitalized on a turnover by the Mariners defense right in front of him. Brodeur would face nine more shots for the remaining ten minutes of the period and stop them all to keep things tied at the end of the 1st.
The 2nd period proved to be all about power plays and penalty kills units for both sides. The Mariners would have two chances on the power play but came up empty-handed as Growlers goalie Angus Redmond had a perfect period, with eight saves. Brodeur stopped the first 14 of the period until Newfoundland’s Jeremy McKenna scored with 1.4 seconds on the clock, rolling a puck up Brodeur’s back. This play would go under review as it seemed Brodeur might have been interfered with, but the goal would stand, giving the Growlers the edge 3-2 heading to the 3rd.
The Mariners faced a stout Growlers defense to start the third, allowing Maine only three shots on net in the first 11 minutes of play. This defensive effort could only last so long however, as Andrew Peski scored in what felt like regulation’s final goal tying it 3-3 with 5:41 remaining, as his point shot slid just through the pads of Redmond. For the second time in the game, however, the Growlers had an immediate response, as Todd Skirving put the game-winning goal in the back of the net just 24 seconds later. The offensive star of the night for the Growlers was defenseman Matt Hellickson, who collected three assists.
Despite the defeat, the Mariners jumped narrowly ahead of the Trois-Rivieres Lions for fourth place, due to the Lions loss in South Carolina.
The Mariners (26-27-4-2) and Growlers go at it again on Saturday night for return of the “Maine Wild Blueberries.” The Mariners will become the “Wild Blueberries” for a night, wearing specialty jerseys which will be auctioned off on Handbid. Game time is 6 PM. One lucky fan will also get the chance to win $10,000 with a “Score-O” center ice shot, presented by Landing Real Estate. Fans will receive Oakhurst Dairy blueberry milk upon exiting the arena. Oakhurst Dairy is the sponsor of all three games this weekend. Tickets for all home games can be purchased online at MarinersOfMaine.com/tickets or by visiting the Trusted Choice Box Office inside the Cross Insurance Arena.