The Worcester Railers headed to the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, Maine Friday night to take on the Mariners in the first of two contests this weekend between the ECHL North Division rivals.
Early on in the opening period the Railers had the advantage in the shots on goal department by almost a three-to-one margin, and they finally capitalized with a goal when Mike Cornell fired a hard shot on net from the right wing half boards. Dylan Willick was there to deflect the shot past Mariners goaltender Brandon Halverson at 14:28. Tyler Mueller had the secondary assist on the play with his wrap around pass along the boards in the offensive zone.
Less than a minute later Maine would tie it on a bad bounce for the Railers when Morgan Adams-Moisan threw the puck from behind the Worcester net toward the slot that deflected off Tommy Panico’s skate and past Railers netminder Mitch Gillam at 15:13.
Panico would make amends early in the second period when he ripped a shot from just inside the blueline and through traffic that beat Halverson just 1:09 into the middle stanza for his first goal as a professional. The play was set up by a clean face-off win by Ryan Hitchcock and Tyler Barnes winning an open ice one-on-one battle to flip the puck to Panico.
Barnes and Hitchcock would team up again to help score another Worcester goal when they assisted on Barry Almeida’s goal at 8:06. Once again Hitchcock would win a face-off and Barnes wheeled the net, throwing a nice pass to Almeida in the slot. Almeida beat Halverson low to the glove side for the score.
Maine had a golden chance to get back to a one goal deficit when Michael McNicholas was awarded a penalty shot at 9:21 of the stanza, but he rang his attempt off the post to the left of Gillam. It was the second consecutive game the Railers surrendered a penalty shot.
The Mariners had several more chances to shrink Worcester’s lead, and at 13:53 they made it a one goal game when Sean Day fired a puck from high in the zone past a screened Gillam, who had no chance at all in stopping the puck. Alex Kile had the lone assist.
In the third period Maine threw everything they had at Gillam and the Railers, but couldn’t get the game back to even. Worcester got an insurance goal at 16:46 when Nick Sorkin fired a shot on goal that Josh Holmstrom got enough of a piece of to deflect it over Halverson. Matty Gaudreau had the secondary assist on the play.
Worcester had a couple of bids on the empty Maine net but couldn’t connect for another goal as the Railers ended their three game road trip with a 4-2 win. The two teams will meet again Sunday afternoon at the DCU Center, and while Maine heads to Manchester to take on the Monarchs on Saturday the Railers have the night off.
Scratches for the Railers were Austin Block, Kyle McKenzie (14-day IR) Malcolm Gould (14-day IR/upper), Tommy Kelley (14-day IR/upper), and Alex Vanier. Evan Buitenhuis was the back-up goaltender. McKenzie was added to the IR list retroactive to Wednesday, and as of yet there’s been no word on what his injury is. Early Friday morning the New York Islanders re-assigned Ryan Hitchcock to the Railers.
It had the feel of “old school” night for the Railers radio broadcast as Eric Lindquist was without his usual sidekick Tom Matthews for the game as Matthews was off due to a death in his family. Lindquist did the game by himself just as he used to in the WorSharks days. He slipped right back into the lone voice role seamlessly, even managing to have a few of the “dollar dogs” they were selling at the Cross Insurance Arena.
More on the hot dogs…to celebrate, if that’s the right word, the fact they were selling dollar hot dogs at the Cross Insurance Arena Lindquist purchased ten of them pregame, and then posted a chart on his twitter account on how many he would eat based on a particular event. He ate one to start the game, but the only occurrence that happened on his list from that point on was the Railers scoring goals. By the time Josh Holmstrom scored late in the third the hot dogs were ice cold and Eric had to force down what was his fifth of the night. Never has this writer rooted for an empty net goal harder, but alas, Lindquist was spared having to eat any more of the cold dogs Friday evening.
In the Railers “Player of the Week” voting in the Fans Facebook Group Barry Almeida was the clear winner for last week, grabbing 23 of the 29 votes cast at last check. Hitchcock and Tyler Barnes were the other two nominees.
Upon further review…the ECHL did make a scoring change for Tuesday’s Railers 2-1 OT win over Brampton, changing the lone assist on Matty Gaudreau’s goal from Nick Sorkin to Nick Bligh. They did not fix the error on the overtime goal as they still list David Quenneville as having an assist and getting a “plus” on the goal despite him not being on the ice at all during the play. Dylan’s Willick’s goal should be listed as unassisted, and the “plus” belongs to Bligh.
The three stars of the game were
1) WOR – 7 Tyler Barnes
2) MNE – 16 Morgan Adams-Moisan
3) WOR – 27 Ryan Hitchcock
The 210Sports Player of the Game was Barry Almeida.
Even Strength Lines
Almeida / Hitchcock / Barnes
Gaudreau / Sorkin / Holmstrom
Hudson / Willick / Bligh
Mueller / Cornell
Panico / Quenneville
MacKinnon / Doherty
Worcester 1 2 1 – 4
Maine 1 1 0 – 2
1st Period-1, Worcester, Willick 4 (Cornell, Mueller), 14:28. 2, Maine, Adams-Moisan 2 (Savage), 15:13. Penalties-Turcotte Wor (fighting – major), 0:10; Adams-Moisan Mne (fighting – major), 0:10; Savage Mne (hooking), 10:35.
2nd Period-3, Worcester, Panico 1 (Barnes, Hitchcock), 1:09. 4, Worcester, Almeida 7 (Barnes, Hitchcock), 8:06. 5, Maine, Day 3 (Kile), 13:53. Penalties-Doherty Wor (fighting – major), 8:59; Ferrill Mne (fighting – major), 8:59.
3rd Period-6, Worcester, Holmstrom 6 (Sorkin, Gaudreau), 16:46. Penalties-Hudson Wor (holding), 6:05.
Shots on Goal-Worcester 14-9-11-34. Maine 9-12-11-32.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 0 / 1; Maine 0 / 1.
Goalies-Worcester, Gillam 4-6-0-0 (32 shots-30 saves). Maine, Halverson 6-4-0-1 (34 shots-30 saves).
Referees-Matt Menniti (10).
Linesmen-Robert Griffin (53), Kyle Richetelle (73).