Growlers take series lead

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Manchester’s Drake Rymsha and Newfoundland’s Michael Garteig (credit- Andrew Sylvia)

MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Newfoundland Growlers dominated the Manchester Monarchs and Tuesday night was no different, as the ECHL North Division Champs marked their arrival in New Hampshire with a 4-2 victory.

Manchester managed only five shots on goal in the first period, as the visitors controlled the tempo with a methodical attack and clogging the lanes en route to the goal.

As the energy slowly drained from the game, Newfoundland found its way onto the board thanks to Georgio Estephan’s second goal of the playoffs.

That tally came just under two minutes before the first intermission, dashing any hopes that Manchester could escape unscathed from the Growlers’ grinding approach.

The Monarchs found a little more room in the second period, outshooting the Growlers, 14-8. However, they couldn’t find the back of the net with Scott Pooley extending Newfoundland’s lead 5:36 into the second frame.

Matt Bradley’s wrister 7:29 into the third just affirmed the inevitable reality that Newfoundland now holds a 2-1 advantage in this series.

Kevin Dufour prevented the shutout with his seventh goal of the playoffs in the game’s waning minutes, followed shortly by an empty-net goal by Newfoundland’s Zach O’Brien.

Michael Doherty added a consolation goal with five seconds left before the final horn.

Despite losing the shutout, Newfoundland goaltender Michael Garteig finished with 34 saves.

Manchester will look to even things up on Wednesday night at SNHU Arena with puck drop scheduled for 7 p.m.