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Flyers Skate Zone
Voorhees, New Jersey
|Colors||Blue, Yellow, White
|Regular Season Titles||2006|
|Division Championships||2005, 2006, 2007, 2008|
|Founders Cups||2005, 2006|
The Philadelphia Growl was a professional inline hockey team based in Voorhees, New Jersey. They were members of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the Professional Inline Hockey Association (PIHA). The team was founded in 2003 as one of four original expansion franchises of the Professional Inline Hockey Association. The Growl were the first of these expansion teams to win the Founders Cup in 2005 and again in 2006. The Growl did not win the Cup since.
The Growl's has an all-time winning percentage of .708 (as of the end of the 2008 season) is one of the best in the PIHA.
The Philadelphia Growl were founded as an expansion franchise of the Professional Inline Hockey Association (PIHA) in 2003. The organization was started by seven players of the defunct Nexed Generation, Anthony Flynn, Mike Sanchez, Angelo Citino, Dan Lenza, Mason Teitelman, Jason Suppin, & Harry Garber.
Beginning play in 2003, the Growl made their debut on April 12, 2003, losing 16-4 on the road to the Harrisburg Lunatics. The Growl made their home debut a week later at The Sportsplex in Feasterville, Pennsylvania losing 10-8 to the West Chester Shockwave. They won their first game 8 days later, defeating the Shockwave on the road, 10-8. The team principal owner Anthony Flynn was named the Growl's first captain and Brian Fischer was the Growl's premier player as well as the league's top scorer their first season with a total of 55 goals. With all teams grouped into one division, the Growl finished in 5th place. They would go on to upset the 4th place Philadelphia Beast and would go on to lose the next round to the eventual champion York Typhoon in 2 straight games.
In year two, Anthony Flynn became the team's principal owner and stepped down as a player to manage the organization. His first act was to nameMike Sanchez as the team's new captain. While the team continued to struggle in their sophomore season, Flynn made the first of many big moves to come in signing premier forward John Pinheiro to their roster. Although the Growl finished one game under .500 in 2004, they did upset the second place Reading Nasty Boyz in the first round of the playoffs, before once again losing to the York Typhoon in the league semi-finalsfor the second consecutive year.
The off-season leading up to the 2005 season would change the landscape of the Professional Inline Hockey League forever. For the first three seasons the PIHA was dominated by the Yoder's and the York Typhoon. It was at this time that Owner/GM Anthony Flynn completely dismantled his team and rebuilt around returning goalie Jason Kalish and sniper John Pinheiro. During the offseason he brought in Bobby Beauchamp & JD Davidson both from the defunct Team Breakaway. Also inked that summer was Ron Tracy and Sean Sullivan who headlined the team's top forward spots for the next few years. Finally the league's leading scorer from the season before Jim Vivona joined the team along with Meaty Aksalic and Keith Diprima. It was during the 2005 season that the Growl shed the mediocre expansion team label and became a force in the league and proved that the expansion teams could challenge the three-time defending champions' York Typhoon's dynasty. Jim Vivona set Growl team records with 62 assists and 86 points in a season and the Growl recorded their first winning season reaching the top of the Delaware Valley Division with a record of 23-9, qualifying for the playoffs.
Come playoff time, the Growl swept the Harrisburg Lunatics in two games in the semifinals as they advanced to the Founders Cup Finals. Their opponent, the powerhouse dynasty of the York Typhoon took Game 1 by a score of 7-3. The Growl responded in game Game 2 by a dominating score of 13-3 to even the series. That set the stage for Game 3 in Lemoyne, Pennsylvania. The Growl defeated the Typhoon 5-3 as the Growl brought the Founders Cup to somewhere other than York for the first time ever. Growl goaltender Jason Kalish won the Walt Frazier Award as the Playoff MVP. The Growl won the PIHA Founders Cup in only their 3rd season of existence.
In 2006, Vivona, topped his mark from the previous season by setting a team record for assists (64 in all). Second year sensation Sean Sullivan topped Growl team marks by setting records for goals (61) and points (92) on his way to winning the Joe Cook Award for league high scorer. As the league expanded beyond the East Coast, GM Anthony Flynn made two large off-season signing in defenseman Mike Keating and goaltender Joe D'Aloisio. The Growl as a team improved their record to 29-3, the best record in the league. The Growl easily swept the Morristown Minutemen and were presented with the York Typhoon for a second straight year in the Eastern Conference finals. With the Typhoon not the power they once were, the Growl proceeded to sweep York as well three games to none, outscoring them 17-6 in three games.
Facing Rupp Award winning goaltender Ryan Clemens and the expansion Littleton Fire in Colorado Springs, Colorado in the Founders Cup Finals, the Growl won the first game 6-0 despite missing Bobby Beauchamp, Mike Keating, and league high scorer Sean Sullivan due to travel delays. The Growl with a full roster again shut out the Littleton 4-0 in Game 2 taking a commanding two games to none lead. Facing elimination the Fire battled back with forward Brian Rogers scoring a goal in triple overtime to give Littleton the win 6-5, bringing the series to two games to one. In Game 4, the Growl responded to the disappointing overtime loss with a dominating 5-1 victory as the Growl repeated as Founders Cup Champions. A Growl goaltender repeated as the Playoff MVP, with Joe D'Aloisio winning the Walt Frazier Award.
Despite losing all-star John Pinheiro to a hometown expansion team the Connecticut Blaze, the Growl began the 2007 season with lofty expectations. Led by Sullivan's league leading 58 goals and D'Aloisio, who led the league with 25 wins and was named Scott Rupp Award winner for League MVP, the Growl finished 26-4-2 winning the Northeast Division and finishing with the second best record in the league. In the Northeast Division semifinals, the Growl were upset by former teammate Pinheiro and the Connecticut Blaze two games to one ending the Growl's chance for a three-peat.
After the 2007 season, the Growl lost former league leading scorers Brian Fischer to the Feasterville Fury and Jim Vivona to retirement, as well as team captain Mike Sanchez being sent to the Growl's minor league team the Garden State Growl, causing the Growl retool in the off-season. They acquired forward Gene Gsell from the Marple Gladiators, defenseman Matt McKeon from the New Jersey Grizzlies, and 30-goal scorers Jim Redstreake from the Pittsburgh Bandits and Charlie Sqrillo from the Feasterville Fury respectively. They also signed PIHA rookie Dan Quartucio to round out the team.
The Growl's 2008 season was led by Gsell's team leading 28 goals and Sullivan's team leading 60 points. The Growl finished 28-4-0 winning the Atlantic Division. The Growl won their first six playoff games of 2008, sweeping the Fury in the Division Semifinals, the Grizzlies in the Division Finals, and the Lunatics in the Conference Semifinals all two games to none. This set the stage for a Growl–Blaze rematch in the Eastern Conference Finals against former Growl John Pinheiro once again. Led by Pinheiro's 10 goals, the Blaze took the series three games to two once again eliminating the Growl from the playoffs.
Seasons and records
Season by season results
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, OTL = Overtime Losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against
Records as of August 19, 2008.
|2003||24||9||15||—||18||216||252||5th, PIHA||Lost in Division Semifinals, 0-1 (Typhoon)|
|2004||19||9||10||—||18||164||211||3rd, Delaware Valley||Lost in Division Semifinals, 0-1 (Typhoon)|
|2005||32||23||9||—||46||243||138||1st, Delaware Valley||Won Founders Cup, 2-1 (Typhoon)|
|2006||32||29||3||—||58||239||78||1st, Eastern||Won Founders Cup, 3-1 (Fire)|
|2007||32||26||4||2||54||178||88||1st, Northeast||Lost in Division Semifinals, 1-2 (Blaze)|
|2008||32||28||4||0||56||178||76||1st, Atlantic||Lost in Conference Finals, 2-3 (Blaze)|
- As of the 2007 PIHA season, teams losing in overtime will receive one point for an overtime loss; the OTL column includes SOL (Shootout losses).
- Most goals in a season: Sean Sullivan, 61 (2006)
- Most assists in a season: Jim Vivona, 64 (2006)
- Most points in a season: Sean Sullivan, 92 (2006)
- Most penalty minutes in a season: Anthony Flynn, 88 (2003)
- Most points in a season, defenseman: JD Davidson, 70 (2006)
- Most points in a season, rookie: Brian Fischer, 83 (2003)
- Most wins in a season: Joe D'Aloisio, 25 (2007)
- Most shutouts in a season:
- Most power play goals in a season:
- Most goals in a playoff season: Sean Sullivan, 12 (2006)
- Most goals by a defenseman in a playoff season: JD Davidson, 5 (2006)
- Most assists in a playoff season: Bill Katinsky, 13 (2006)
- Most points in a playoff season: 18 Jim Vivona (2005), Sean Sullivan and Bill Katinsky (2006)
- Most points by a defenseman in a playoff season: JD Davidson, 15 (2006)
- Most penalty minutes in a playoff season: JD Davidson, 12 (2006)
- Most points in a season: 58, (2006)
- Most wins in a season: 29, (2006)
- Most goals scored: 243, (2005)
- Least goals allowed (full season): 76, (2008)
- Longest undefeated streak: 21, (2006)
- Anthony Flynn, 2002–2008
- History of the Philadelphia Growl
- List of PIHA players
- List of PIHA statistical leaders
- List of PIHA seasons
- PIHA rivalries