St. John’s, NL — Zach O’Brien registered a hat trick and the Newfoundland Growlers scored three times on the power play to earn a 6-0 win over the Florida Everblades in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Friday night at Mile One Centre.
With the Growlers (11-4-1) leading the ‘Blades (9-5-1) by two after the opening period, Newfoundland then struck for four goals in the middle frame to claim a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
The Growlers opened the scoring for the second straight game on the 12th postseason goal by O’Brien. Florida goaltender Callum Booth made the save on Scott Pooley’s initial shot from the right corner, but the rebound popped right to O’Brien in the slot. He blasted it past Booth with 5:41 left in the first.
The Growlers moved their advantage to two goals in the last minute of the opening period. Newfoundland’s Josh Kestner won a foot race to the puck at the ‘Blades blue line and then slid a backhand shot past Booth on the ensuing breakaway to increase the Growlers’ lead to two.
O’Brien and Giorgio Estephan scored a little more than two-and-a-half minutes apart in the second to advance the Growlers lead to 4-0.
Brady Ferguson and O’Brien then scored consecutive five-on-three power-play goals in the last five minutes of the second period to finish the scoring in the middle frame.
Booth made 20 saves in his first road loss of the playoffs, ending his five-game road winning streak.
Michael Garteig finished with 28 saves to earn his second shutout of the postseason.
The ‘Blades face a must-win situation on Saturday night when the two teams meet for Game 5 at Mile One Centre. Faceoff is slated for 5:30 ET.
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