Goalies don’t always get the fan recognition they deserve, but at last night’s Newfoundland Growlers vs Florida Everblades game, Luke Cavallin of the Growlers and Florida’s Cam Johnson were the ones to watch. The Growlers needed this win in game four in this best-of-seven series Eastern Conference final. Florida had bested Newfoundland in the first two games of the series, and Newfoundland had one win, but that last game on Florida ice had been a hard-fought game filled with helmet stomping (it’s worth checking out the Cam Johnson video on that one) and on-ice rowdiness. Newfoundland’s Zach Solow had played with the Everblades before, and the stakes were high as both teams battled toward the Kelly Cup championship, and game three was a barn-burner if there ever was one.
That rowdy repeat was what many fans in Newfoundland were expecting when the teams took to the ice at the Mary Brown’s Centre, but instead, what was delivered was simply awesome hard-fought hockey game. While it was frustrating watching set-up after set-up in front of the net lead to nothing – for both teams – the effort put in by the players, especially the defense on the home team, upped the ante for those watching the game.
Newfoundland’s Zach O’Brien seemed a target and received a few knocks on the ice leading to many “This is when we need James Melindy” comments from spectators. The popular former captain known for his rough and tumble, no-nonsense antics on the ice retired just before the playoffs began, and his absence has been a challenge to adjust to at times. Orrin Centazzo also seemed to get – and give– a few smacks, especially while heading into the corners, but he held his own, even after a high-stick to the chin drew blood and a four-minute penalty for Florida.
The game was hard to watch for many reasons. The scoreless first period left Newfoundland fans hopeful and weary, but the tension mounted when Florida scored a few minutes into the second. A crazy goal by Todd Skirving tied the game, and things heated up. By the end of the night, Cavallin had stopped 42 shots from finding their intended mark at the back of the net, and throughout the overtime, the left-handed goalie all but stood on his head to make a save. In the final seven seconds of overtime, Jonny Tychonick put one past Johnson, and Newfoundland won 2:1.
Newfoundland and Florida hit the ice in Newfoundland for game five this Sunday night. What can fans expect? Without a doubt, Florida outplayed Newfoundland in game four, nearly doubled Newfoundland’s shots on goal as they held the puck, and kept Cavallin scrambling in front of the net, earning him First Star.
More from the Newfoundland Growlers and Florida Everblades this weekend as they suit up for game five on Sunday at 2 pm Eastern.