ST. JOHN’S, NL – Through the first three games of this Eastern Conference Final, we had seen just about everything, from the Florida Everblades’ complete domination of game one to the double-overtime of game two and penalty-marred game three. In each of those games, the victor scored at least four goals. What we hadn’t seen was a tight, low-scoring chess match between the two goalies. That came in game four, a 2-1 Newfoundland Growlers victory in the series’ first game north of the border.
Neither Newfoundland’s Luke Cavallin nor Florida’s Cam Johnson allowed a single goal in the opening period. It was nearly three minutes into the middle frame before Cavallin gave up the game’s first goal. Sean Josling skated into the offensive zone and passed over to Joe Pendenza, who easily tapped it into the net. It was the team-leading 13th point for Josling.
Johnson held strong for another twelve minutes, when Todd Skirving tied the game at one goal apiece. The Growlers alternate captain began the play and ended it. He picked up the puck behind the net and backhanded it to Zach Solow out in front. It made its way to Brennan Kapcheck, who fired it on net. Skirving poked in the rebound before celebrating Michael Phelps-style.
🚨 GOAL 🚨
TODD TIES IT 😍#STANDPROUD pic.twitter.com/q4DhV22x7U
— z – Newfoundland Growlers (@NLGrowlers) May 25, 2023
After that goal, both netminders settled into their zones and stopped everything that came their way for the remainder of regulation. At the end of 60 minutes, the two men had combined for 49 saves, 27 for Cavallin and 22 for Johnson.
Both men continued their stellar play throughout the overtime session, and as the night progressed, it appeared there would be another double-overtime game in this series. But with less than ten seconds remaining in the extra session, Jonny Tychonick ended it. Like teammate Skirving before him, Tychonick started and ended the play. He backhanded the puck to Orrin Centazzo on the blue line, and he in turn passed over to Tyler Boland, who threw the puck into traffic in front of the net. It bounced off the blade of Zach O’Brien‘s stick and came back to Tychonick, who blasted it over Johnson’s shoulder for the 2-1 victory and the 2-2 series tie.
It was Tychonick’s first postseason goal, though far from his first point. The rookie blueliner led the ECHL in assists for much of the postseason; he is currently trailing fellow rookie defenseman Owen Headrick (Idaho Steelheads) by one for the league lead.
By the time all was said and done, Cavallin and Johnson had faced 74 shots and had combined for 71 saves (42 for Cavallin, 29 for Johnson).
Game four had a much tamer feel to it in comparison to Monday’s game three. Game three featured 41 penalties, including 17 10-minute misconducts, totaling 218 minutes. There were only a total of 14 penalty minutes assessed Thursday, none of which were misconducts, fighting majors, or roughing minors.
With the series now tied at two games apiece, there will be at least two more games at Mary Brown’s Centre, Sunday’s game five and Tuesday’s game six. If needed, game seven will be Wednesday, also in St. John’s.
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