Maksim Zhukov had a rebound game Wednesday night, and we’re not talking about a contest where the Newfoundland Growlers’ rookie goaltender gave up a lot of second-chance shots.
Zhukov made 30 saves as the Growlers downed the Worcester Railers 4-1 in ECHL play in central Massachusetts.
In Newfoundland’s previous game, a 7-2 loss to the Reading Royals on Sunday, Zhukov had been replaced by Angus Redmond midway through the second period after giving up four goals on 21 shots. But on Wednesday in Worcester, he turned in a second-star performance as Newfoundland (12-7-0) moved into sole possession of second place in the ECHL’s North Division.
Trey Bradley, Giorgio Estephan, Brady Ferguson and Evan Neugold scored for the Growlers, who were missing several key veterans.
Forward Zach O’Brien had been placed on reserve earlier in the day with what’s believed to be a day-to-day ailment, joining defenceman and captain James Melindy, sidelined for a second straight game, and rearguard Alex Gudbranson, who has missed most of the season because of injury.
Rookie forward Colt Conrad, playing his first game after missing five with an injury, had two assists for Newfoundland. So did Growlers' first-year bluleiner Joseph Duszak, who was named the game's first star.
Matt Schmaltz had the only goal for Worcester (4-11-1), which will be Newfoundland’s opponent again on Friday in the second-last game of a seven-game road trip. The Growlers’ lengthy swing, which involves only matchups against divisional opponents, concludes Saturday in Portland, Me., against the Maine Mariners.
Newfoundland has gone 3-2-0 in in its first five games of the trip.