The Growlers began the month with a six game home stand. They defeated the Brampton Beast 7-4 on the 1st of December, and 5-2 the night after; but then suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time ever, going down 7-5 and 5-3 to the Reading Royals on the 7th and 8th. The Growlers bounced back, beating another new expansion team, the Maine Mariners 6-3 and 5-2 on the 11th and 12th; meaning that across the stretch of home games they won 2/3 series with a 4-2 record.
Since the homestand the Growlers have played one road game, scoring four straight goals on the way to earning a 4-3 victory against the Beast on December 16th. The victory also meant that goalie Mario Culina is still undefeated as a Growler, with 5 wins.
The Growlers impressive run of form has been noticed too. Winger Scott Pooley was the ECHL player of the week after his hat-trick in the 7-4 win over the Beast and another tally the night after and has since been recalled to the AHL with the Toronto Marlies.
Michael Garteig (pictured) was the ECHL’s goaltender of the month for November; and this earned him a one-night Marlies recall; starting a 5-1 win over the Manitoba Moose. Garteig would make 26/27 saves in the victory.
In lighter news, the Growlers won the Creamer award for Primary Sports Logo of the Year on December 20th. From judge Greg Wyshynski, “This logo is just a masterpiece. The Growlers managed to create a logo that somehow looks gruff and cuddly like this pooch is going to guard the house at all costs unless you distract it with delightful ear scratches.”
A few statistics (amongst current roster only):
Giorgio Estephan (C) 13-16-29
Brady Ferguson (LW) 12-13-25
Josh Kestner (RW) 11-10-21
PIM: James Melindy – 73
+/-: Brady Ferguson – 9
Mario Culina – 5 Games – 5 Wins – GAA: 2.20 – SV%: 0.930
Michael Garteig – 21 Games – 13 Wins – GAA: 282 – SV%: 0.910
Standings wise, the Growlers are five points clear of the Adirondack Thunder in the Eastern Conference’s Northern Division; and are a win behind top spot in the entire conference, trailing the Florida EverBlades. They have a game in hand on their rivals too. The Growlers currently sit 4th in the combined league rankings; topped by the Cincinnati Cyclones and with the EverBlades and the Toledo Walleye ahead of them.
Coming up, the Growlers have a chance to avenge those losses to the Royals, with a double-header in Reading on the 29th and 30th, and they will spend New Years Eve on the road against the Adirondack Thunder. They then begin another six game home run on January 4th with three two-game series as the Jacksonville Icemen, the Mariners and the Thunder all come to the rock.
All that is left for me to say is to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year; and I’ll be checking in on the Growlers again in the new year.