Sergei Sapego of the Newfoundland Growlers tries to knock the puck away from Maine’s Sean Day during an ECHL game Friday night at Cross Insurance Arena. Newfoundland won, 3-2. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

The Maine Mariners showed some offensive spark but couldn’t keep the fire burning Friday night.

Maine scored quick goals in the first two periods, but it was Newfoundland who had the late and winning answers in a 3-2 ECHL victory in front of 2,630 at Cross Insurance Arena.

It was a season-best seventh straight win for Newfoundland, which is now 25-10-0.

It was the third straight one-goal loss for Maine, which is 17-15-0-1 and fifth in the North Division. It was also the start of a 10-day stretch in which the Mariners play eight games.

“I don’t think it’s something any of us have been through, playing eight in 10 (days), but it’s just something that we have to put together,” said Dillan Fox, who scored the Mariners’ first goal.

Maine’s Dillan Fox celebrates after scoring the game’s first goal. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

Fox potted a backhand shot off a rebound just 1:01 into the game for his 14th goal of the season. Ty Ronning created the play with a good forecheck and an initial shot turned away by Growlers goalie Parker Gahagen (31 saves). Ronning, Fox and Greg Chase were consistently a threat for the Mariners. Chase had missed four games because of an injury.

“Chaser’s been hurt, so to have him back, he adds a lot to our lineup,” said Fox.

Entering the game, the Mariners ranked last in the ECHL in shots per game, but they had a 33-24 edge on Newfoundland.

“We didn’t get the result we wanted, but I think we can take a lot away from what we did,” Fox said.

Maine hosts Adirondack on Saturday, and then Newfoundland is back in town on Sunday. Then comes a rare Tuesday-Wednesday combo at home against Worcester and then in Glens Falls, New York, against Adirondack, before next weekend’s three-game set in Brampton, Ontario.

After both teams had multiple shots ring off the post or crossbar, Newfoundland tied the game with a power-play goal credited to Giorgio Estephan at 17:23 of the first period after a pass into the crease deflected off a skate and went in.

The trend continued in the second period when Alex Kile’s highlight goal put Maine ahead 2-1 at 3:16. Kile took a long pass from Terrence Wallin after a save by Mariners goalie Connor LaCouvee (21 saves), then skated across the high slot with speed, dragging the puck on the toe of his stick and ripping a wrist shot into the top left corner. LaCouvee was credited with the second assist.

But Newfoundland tied it at 11:33 on a breakout goal by Trey Bradley, who had time to wait for LaCouvee to show an opening. Newfoundland then took its first lead at 18:31 on a the 14th goal of the season by 6-foot-6 rookie Justin Brazeau, who converted a crisp pass from behind the net by Riley Woods as the Mariners got caught chasing after a line change.

Maine added four forwards to the active roster. Chase (six goals, seven assists) and ECHL All-Star selection Jake Elmer (10 goals, seven assists), who have been out of action since Dec. 27, both returned. New to the team are Mikael Robidoux. 20, from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and Will Pelletier, 27, shipped in from the Montreal Canadiens’ AHL farm team in Laval, Quebec.


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