The Worcester Railers began a three game road trip Wednesday with a game at the Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls, New York against the Adirondack Thunder. Worcester did well last season in Glens Falls, and were hoping to keep their luck going in the 2018-19 campaign.
It was the Railers who got on the board first on a play that really looked harmless until the puck ended up in the Adirondack net. Nick Bligh skated into the Thunder zone and just fired a hard shot on goal. Adirondack goaltender Colton Phinney seemed surprised by the shot as it deflected off Cullen Bradshaw and streaked over his blocker and in at 6:17 of the opening period.
The Thunder got the equalizer at 8:57 after a shift where Worcester controlled the puck in the Adirondack zone. Thunder forward Peter MacArthur was able to grab a loose puck and sent a home run pass to James Henry. With lots of empty ice in front of him Henry decided to go with a high shot, and he beat Railers netminder Mitch Gillam to make it 1-1.
The second period was all Adirondack, and were it nor for Gillam the game would have been out of reach after 40 minutes. As it was the Thunder did take the lead in the middle stanza when Desmond Bergin trailed an Adirondack break into the Worcester zone and ripped a shot past Gillam at 12:16 for the 2-1 lead. The assist went to Henry.
Things did not start off well in the third period when just 1:10 in Dennis Kravchenko picked up a loose puck at the Railers blueline and fired it on net. Mike Szmatula was able to deflect it past Gillam to put Worcester down 3-1.
The Railers really couldn’t get anything going in the period, and Bergin’s 195 foot empty net goal at 18:17 made it a 4-1 loss for Worcester.
Scratches for the Railers were Connor Doherty, Tommy Kelley (upper body/14-day IR), Ivan Kosorenkov (immigration issues), David Quenneville (unknown injury), Yanick Turcotte (lower body). Evan Buitenhuis was the back-up goaltender. In the pregame show the Railers announced Turcotte would be out a couple of week, which confirms what Turcotte said after Saturday’s game about it not being serious. With only ten healthy forwards both Bryan Arneson and Tommy Tsicos made their Railers debuts.
Just after Worcester’s Saturday win over Maine forward Jeff Kubiak was recalled by the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Kubiak made his presence felt right away, assisting on the Sound Tigers first goal in their game against Lehigh Valley.
It was a return to the Cool Insuring Arena for Worcester forward Nick Bligh, who played ten games for the Thunder during the 2016-17 season. Bligh had three goals and six points in ten games before being traded to the Indy Fuel. Adirondack has one former Worcester player on their roster, goaltender Alex Sakellaropoulos.
Over on the Railers Fan Club on Facebook goaltender Mitch Gillam was the runaway choice for “Player of the Week” for the second week of the season. As this writer types this about three hours before puck drop, Gillam has 41 of the 50 votes cast. Tyler Barnes and Nick Bligh, who I voted for, were also nominees.
The box score says it’s Nick Sorkin. Broadcaster Eric Lindquist says it’s Tommy Panico. Either way the Railers first period hooking penalty was the 1000th and 1001st regular season penalty minutes in franchise history.
It a bit of housekeeping from Saturday’s game, Ryan MacKinnon’s third period goal was the 200th regular season goal scored by the Railers. The season team totals include a goal for every shootout win, but MacKinnon’s was the actual 200th time the franchise has scored.
In another franchise mark, the 19 shots the Railers surrendered in the second period sets a franchise mark for shots against in the middle stanza in a road game. The old record was 18, also set against Adirondack. The 19 shots now also matches the home mark. Gillam’s 18 saves in the period sets a franchise mark for the middle period, and his 42 saves for the game matches the team mark.
In an odd occurrence, Worcester had 11 shots in a period for five consecutive periods. They had 11 in each of the three periods against Maine on Saturday and followed that with 11 shots in the first two periods against Adirondack on Wednesday.
The three stars of the game were
1) ADK – 15 James Henry
2) ADK – 37 Desmond Bergin
3) ADK – 91 Mike Szmatula
The 210Sports player of the game was Mitch Gillam.
EVEN STRENGTH LINES
Almeida / Sorkin / Barnes
Bligh / Holmstrom / Hudson
Arneson / Willick / Block
McKenzie / Cornell
Vanier / Mueller
Panico / MacKinnon
Worcester 1 0 0 – 1
Adirondack 1 1 2 – 4
1st Period-1, Worcester, Bligh 1 6:17. 2, Adirondack, Henry 1 (MacArthur), 8:57. Penalties-Cleland Adk (hooking), 1:52; Sorkin Wor (hooking), 10:07; Arneson Wor (cross-checking), 19:35; Kravchenko Adk (roughing), 19:35.
2nd Period-3, Adirondack, Bergin 2 (Henry), 12:16. Penalties-No Penalties
3rd Period-4, Adirondack, Szmatula 2 (Kravchenko), 1:10. 5, Adirondack, Bergin 3 18:17 (EN). Penalties-Cornell Wor (interference), 14:17; Cornell Wor (roughing, fighting – major), 18:55; Reichert Adk (roughing, fighting – major), 18:55.
Shots on Goal-Worcester 11-11-6-28. Adirondack 12-19-15-46.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 0 / 1; Adirondack 0 / 2.
Goalies-Worcester, Gillam 2-2-0-0 (45 shots-42 saves). Adirondack, Phinney 3-1-0-0 (28 shots-27 saves).
Referees-Mike Sheehan (11).
Linesmen-Adam Wood (36), Matt Wyld (56).