Their busy schedule in current homestand means almost all of their ice time has come in games
It’s said practice makes perfect.
The Newfoundland Growlers might be hoping to prove that wrong.
The Growlers finish up a seven-game homestand this weekend with three games in three days against the Orlando Solar Bears at Mile One Centre, but even though they’ve been playing in St. John’s since the start of the month, it doesn’t mean they’ve been doing much practising here.
That home schedule is actually the reason. The seven games are being played over 10 days — actually a bit less than that, considering Sunday’s matchup with the Solar Bears is an afternoon contest — not leaving much leeway for workouts, certainly not full ones. And we’re also into the time when the wear and tear of a busy ECHL season really starts to show.
Therefore, the Growlers have had only a single full practice this week. That was on Monday, one of only two non-game days during the homestand. The other was Thursday, but that was made an off day for the players.
Newfoundland head coach John Snowden even made a couple of the traditional game-day morning skates optional over the last little while.
The Growlers have gone 2-2 through the first four games of their Mile One stay, losing twice last weekend to the Brampton Beast and bouncing back for Tuesday and Wednesday-night victories over the Reading Royals.
Ken O’Leary, the Growlers’ communications manager, points out the team has done well in the recent past over a stretch where there was little chance for practice.
That was during a five-game road trip in the last half of February, when travel delays, schedule changes, a lengthy bus trip between Greenville, S.C., and Toronto, and the fact that three of the games were afternoon contests meant the Newfoundland didn’t get too much time to skate, except in actual games.
The Growlers went 4-0-1 on the trip.
The games against Orlando are 7 p.m. tonight and Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday, and as a three-in-three, it will be tough for both sides. Even though they haven’t played since Saturday, the Solar Bears have had to deal with travel from Orlando in sort of an against-the-flow trek to St. John’s, considering all of the Newfoundlanders heading to that part of Florida this time of the year.