The Worcester Railers visited the SNHU Arena to take on the Manchester Monarchs Friday night in the first of 12 contests between the two teams, with Worcester looking to erase Wednesday’s poor performance against Adirondack from their memories.
It was the Monarchs getting on the board first, taking advantage of a weak penalty call on the Railers by referee Steven Rouillard. Worcester defenseman Alex Vanier was called for unsportsmanlike conduct when he wristed a shot on the Manchester net just after the whistle was blown for an offside call. It’s a play that’s happened thousands of times in pro hockey, but the first time this writer has ever seen a penalty called.
The Railers killed off the penalty, but just as Vanier stepped out of the box Monarchs defenseman David Kolomatis fired a shot on goal that was blocked out in front. The puck went right to Tony Cameranesi, and he blasted a one-timer past Worcester goaltender Evan Buitenhuis at 5:25 of the opening period. Matt Marcinew had the second assist on the play.
Manchester came out of the gates flying to start the second period and the Railers were on their heels a bit early, but they weathered the storm without giving up another goal. In the middle of the period Worcester found themselves with a five on three advantage, and Nick Bligh got his team to even with a nice top shelf goal over Monarchs netminder Charles Williams at 11:23. Woody Hudson and Vanier had the helpers.
As things always seem to happen, Manchester ended up with a two-man advantage of their own late in the period, and Cameranesi connected for his second of the game with a shot over the glove of Buitenhuis. Nick Moutrey and Kolomatis had the assists on the goal at 17:30.
But the Railers weren’t done for the period, and tied it at 18:40 on a play that involved both players that were in the box for Manchester’s five on three goal. Defenseman Mike Cornell streaked down the left side of the ice and deep into the Monarchs zone. His backhand pass found Josh Holmstrom wide open in front of the net, and he flicked a shot past the glove of Williams to make it 2-2. Connor Doherty had the secondary assist on the play.
The next goal was going to be a big one, and luckily for Worcester fans it was the Railers lighting the lamp when Woody Hudson jumped on a loose puck in front of the Manchester net and flipped it over a down and out Williams at 3:35 of the third. Dylan Willick and Austin Block had the assists.
Bryan Arneson gave Worcester an insurance goal when he took a Hudson feed and buried it from right in front at 10:08 for the 4-2 lead. Kyle McKenzie picked up the second assist with a nice pass from deep in his own zone to a streaking Hudson.
The Monarchs picked up the pace at that point, and Buitenhuis had to made a few great saves to keep the Railers two goal lead on the board. Those saves were made even bigger when the Monarchs connected with the extra attacker at 18:44 to make the lead just one. But that was as close as Manchester would get as Worcester skated home with the 4-3 final.
Scratches for the Railers were Tommy Kelley (upper body/14-day IR), Ivan Kosorenkov (immigration issues), Tommy Panico, David Quenneville (upper body), and Yanick Turcotte (lower body). Mitch Gillam was the back-up goaltender. Doherty returns to the line-up after being a scratch for the last two games. While not listed as injured Doherty did get bloodied a bit in his fight with former Railers forward Frankie DiChiara, although Doherty did finish that game.
With Turcotte being out of commission for a couple weeks he’s been added to Worcester’s reserve list. This way he can be activated at any time and not have to wait 14 days if he had been placed on injured reserve. Should the need for him to be moved to IR it can be back-dated to October 21st.
Manchester has one former Railers player on their roster, EBUG Joe Spagnoli. He has dressed multiple times for both teams, once for both in the same week, when one of the usual goalies is unavailable due to injury or recall. The Monarchs also have a player on their roster that played against the WorSharks, defenseman David Kolomatis. He spent several season with AHL Manchester and had some big goals against the WorSharks. Worcester has two former Monarchs on their roster. Austin Block spent most of the 2015-16 season with Manchester, notching three goals and 12 points in 40 games. Tommy Kelley, who played three games for Manchester last season and scored a goal before being released, is the other.
In one of those statistical oddities, Friday night Evan Buitenhuis became the fifth different goaltender to start a game for the Railers. And of the five that have now played for Worcester in the ECHL, he’s the fourth to make his first start opposing the Manchester Monarchs. Alex Sakellaropoulos was the one who didn’t make his first Railers start against Manchester. His first, and only start for the team, came against the Wheeling Nailers.
With the win Buitenhuis improved the record for goalies in their first Railers starts to 3-2-0. Both Mitch Gillam and Eamon McAdam beat Manchester to start last season, and Will King and Sakellaropoulos both lost their first starts with Worcester.
Buitenhuis followed the same path Gillam did last season on his way to the Railers roster, starting with attending the Islanders rookie camp. He then went on to the Islanders training camp, was released and joined the Bridgeport Sound Tigers camp. He was released from there and went to Worcester where he earned a contract with an excellent camp.
The three stars of the game were
1) WOR – 34 Evan Buitenhuis
2) MAN – 12 Tony Cameranesi
3) WOR – 23 Woody Hudson
The 210Sports player of the game was Bryan Arneson.
EVEN STRENGTH LINES
Almeida / Sorkin / Barnes
Bligh / Holmstrom / Block
Arneson / Willick / Hudson
Cornell / McKenzie
Vanier / MacKinnon
Doherty / Mueller
Worcester 0 2 2 – 4
Manchester 1 1 1 – 3
1st Period-1, Manchester, Cameranesi 5 (Kolomatis, Marcinew), 5:25. Penalties-Vanier Wor (unsportsmanlike conduct), 3:23; Barnes Wor (slashing), 5:48; Pierog Man (tripping), 15:14.
2nd Period-2, Worcester, Bligh 2 (Hudson, Vanier), 11:26 (PP). 3, Manchester, Cameranesi 6 (Moutrey, Kolomatis), 17:30 (PP). 4, Worcester, Holmstrom 3 (Cornell, Doherty), 18:40. Penalties-Falkovsky Man (interference), 5:11; Saucerman Man (holding), 9:30; Kurker Man (delay of game), 9:59; Holmstrom Wor (holding), 16:13; Cornell Wor (high-sticking), 16:25.
3rd Period-5, Worcester, Hudson 1 (Willick, Block), 3:35. 6, Worcester, Arneson 1 (Hudson, McKenzie), 10:08. 7, Manchester, Saucerman 1 (Kolomatis, Kujawinski), 18:44. Penalties-Hamilton Man (boarding), 5:04.
Shots on Goal-Worcester 8-9-4-21. Manchester 12-11-13-36.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 1 / 5; Manchester 1 / 4.
Goalies-Worcester, Buitenhuis 1-0-0-0 (36 shots-33 saves). Manchester, Williams 2-2-0-1 (21 shots-17 saves).
Referees-Steven Rouillard (3).
Linesmen-Kyle Richetelle (73), Sam Schildkraut (86).