So the Railers spent a couple days in Utah, walked away with three points of a possible four, and ended their four games away from the DCU with a 2-1-1 record. Not bad if you ask me.
For those that missed them, you can read my “This Week In Worcester” game stories for Friday: Railers Drop First Game to Grizzlies, 5-4 and Saturday: Worcester Railers Win Second Game Against Grizzlies, 4-1
With the ECHL being new in these parts I haven’t had a ton of experience watching games at this level. Before last season I’d seen a few on video, but generally until you actually go to a game or two you don’t really have a good grasp on how good the hockey really is.
Starting late last season our little hockey group (consisting of my wife Trish, Railers Booster Club President Rich Lundin, and occasionally my old bowling buddy Skip) started going to games in Manchester, where saw a couple regular season games and a handful of playoff contests. For this season there was the Railers franchise opener and last weekend’s tilt in Manchester. I think that’s enough to say the hockey is really good.
Unfortunately the quality of officiating is looking to be well behind the quality of play.
I will say for the record that before this weekend I thought the ECHL officiating wasn’t going to be as bad as many hockey forums claim it is. In the games I’d seen so far it wasn’t that far behind what the AHL’s officiating was. Sure there was the occasional missed call, but with just a single referee working every game that’s to be expected.
Friday and Saturday in Utah were two of the worst officiated games I’ve ever seen.
The referee, who I won’t name but you can find out who it was by looking at the box scores in my “This Week in Worcester” articles, had absolutely no feel for the game at all. He was also out of position numerous times, which lead to a few bad or missed calls and one Railers disallowed goal that should have counted.
Amazing as it sounds, as bad as he was this weekend those that saw Wednesday’s game in Colorado say he was even worse in that game. His missed calls resulted in many fights and 182 penalty minutes, including eight game misconducts.
I know it’s a developmental league for referees too, but if that kind of performance from an on-ice official is considered so routine that my seeing nothing but quality performances before hand is the outlier than the ECHL has a big issue.
Next game up for the Railers is Tuesday at the DCU Center against Toledo. My next game for “This Week in Worcester” is Friday, so I may or may not have a notes column for Tuesday’s game, and if I do it won’t be until Wednesday afternoon.
So, until then…