The Worcester Railers took on the Adirondack Thunder Friday night at the DCU Center in the first of two home games this weekend before the ECHL heads into the holiday break.
It was the Thunder getting on the board first when Dennis Kravchenko fired a shot on the Worcester net that Railers goaltender Mitch Gillam made a quick kick save on. But luck was not on Worcester’s side during the play as the rebound hit Jakob Reichert square in the chest and deflected into the net at 13:35.
With time winding down in the opening period the Railers got the equalizer when Tyler Barnes was able to flip the puck over Thunder netminder Alex Sakellaropoulos and in at 19:37. Nick Sorkin threw the puck on net and Sakellaropoulos made the save, but Tyler Barnes was there to get a stick on the rebound and get it over the goaltender at 19:37. Josh Holmstrom had the secondary assist on the play.
Adirondack retook the lead at 3:15 of the middle period when the puck somehow ended up behind Gillam. Even the replay doesn’t make it clear exactly how it happened, but Dylan Walchuk was credited with the goal. Matias Cleland would make it 3-1 at 8:30 on a play that Gillam was unhappy with claiming he was interfered with. Referee Jeff Parker disagreed, and his opinion is the only one that matters.
But the Railers weren’t done, and scored two quick goals to get the contest back to even again.
The first of the two came at 10:03 when Ivan Kosorenkov stole the puck right off the stick of Michael Sdao at center ice and broke into the Thunder zone three on one. Kosorenkov faked as if he was going to shoot, and then sent a smooth pass over to Matt Schmalz in the low left wing circle. The booming one-timer beat Sakellaropoulos clean.
Thirty-four seconds later it was Kosorenkov’s turn to light the lamp. Schmalz carried the puck down the right wing side and threw a pass over to Ryan MacKinnon trailing the play. MacKinnon then passed it over to Kosorenkov crashing the net, and Sakellaropoulos had no chance on the laser off of Kosorenkov’s stick.
In the third period it was Michael Sdao who broke the tie when his wrist shot went through a screen of player and beat Gillam for the 4-3 Thunder lead at 16:54. Peter MacArthur added an 170-foot empty-netter with under a minute to go for the 5-3 Adirondack win.
The Railers are back in action Saturday night at the DCU Center against the Reading Royals.
Scratches for the Railers were Austin Block, Evan Buitenhuis (bereavement), Malcolm Gould (14-day IR/lower), Tommy Kelley (14-day IR/upper), Kyle McKenzie (14-day IR/upper), David Quenneville (day to day/upper), and Alex Vanier. Word is Quenneville will not play until after Christmas after taking a puck to the face just under the eye a week ago Sunday. The Railers indicated pregame that it was Buitenhuis’ grandmother who passed, and those of us in the Worcester hockey community pass along our condolences and thoughts to her friends and family.
Worcester may have two more injuries to contend with as Matty Gaudreau went down in the first period after being checked into the end board in the offensive zone by Adirondack’s Michael Sdao, who was assessed a minor for an illegal check to the head. It is likely a safe presumption the Railers will be submitting the tape for the ECHL to consider supplementary discipline. In the third period Yanick Turcotte was seen laboring to get back to the bench after a shift, and a few moments later went down the tunnel to the dressing room and did not return. There was no information available on their injuries post game.
Prior to the start of the game the Worcester Railers Booster Club announced their Railers Players of the Month for October and November. For October the winner was Josh Holmstrom, and for November it was Tyler Barnes. Each was given an award at center ice. More often than not when the Booster Club recognizes a player that player scores a goal in the ensuing game, and Barnes did just that. The assist on that goal went to Holmstrom.
If you follow this writer in Twitter there’s a chance you saw this last night. With his goal Friday night Matt Schmalz became the second tallest player in Worcester pro hockey history to score a goal, and is the tallest forward on the list. The tallest ever to score in Worcester hockey history was WorSharks defenseman Taylor Doherty at 6’7″. The next two on the list are both listed at 6’6″, Schmalz and IceCats defenseman Matt Smith. To complete the record–mostly because Railers Booster Club President Rich Lundin prompted me to look–the shortest players to score in Worcester hockey history are former IceCats captain Jeff Panzer and WorSharks forward James Marcou at 5’7″. The shortest Railers to score a goal are David Quenneville and Barry Almeida, both listed at 5’8″.
Friday was the fourth anniversary of what has become known as “The Magic Bus Cancelation” in these part. On Sunday, December 21, 2014 the Worcester Sharks were scheduled to play the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the Webster Bank Arena. The problem was the Sound Tigers were returning home from Friday and Saturday night games in Norfolk, Virginia, which is an incredibly long bus trip. After having tried to move the start time of the game from 3pm to 7pm several weeks earlier, a move denied by the AHL because of the CBA mandated holiday break, suddenly in the middle of New Jersey the Sound Tigers bus overheated. Long story short–and trust me, it’s a very long story–Bridgeport got what they wanted and the game was postponed. For their next visit to the DCU Center many introduction songs were talked about to be played, but the game operations director vetoed them all for being in “bad taste”. DJ Matt Jacobs decided to play one without asking, which drew tremendous laughter from press row: Magic Bus by The Who. And the legend was born.
The three stars of the game were
1) ADK – 4 Michael Sdao
2) WOR – 17 Matt Schmalz
3) ADK – 51 Jakob Reichert
The 210Sports Player of the Game is Ivan Kosorenkov.
Even Strength Lines (before the injuries jumbled them)
Almeida / Schmaltz / Barnes
Gaudreau / Holmstrom / Sorkin
Hudson / Willick / Kosorenkov
Mueller / Cornell
Doherty / MacKinnon
Panico / Adams
Adirondack 1 2 2 – 5
Worcester 1 2 0 – 3
1st Period-1, Adirondack, Reichert 2 (Kravchenko, Conacher), 13:35. 2, Worcester, Barnes 8 (Holmstrom, Sorkin), 19:37. Penalties-Holmstrom Wor (roughing), 6:45; Sdao Adk (illegal check to head), 14:25; Carrier Adk (fighting – major), 17:37; Hudson Wor (fighting – major), 17:37.
2nd Period-3, Adirondack, Walchuk 1 (Bradshaw), 3:15. 4, Adirondack, Cleland 1 (Bergin, Carrier), 8:30. 5, Worcester, Schmalz 3 (Kosorenkov), 10:03. 6, Worcester, Kosorenkov 5 (MacKinnon, Schmalz), 10:37. Penalties-Lough Adk (slashing), 4:56; Adams Wor (cross-checking), 11:26; Salhany Adk (hooking), 12:09; Carrier Adk (roughing, misconduct – unsportsmanlike conduct), 15:52; Sdao Adk (fighting – major), 15:52; Cornell Wor (roughing), 15:52; Doherty Wor (misconduct – unsportsmanlike conduct), 15:52; Turcotte Wor (fighting – major), 15:52; Cornell Wor (roughing), 17:52; Tessier Adk (fighting – major), 18:15; Adams Wor (fighting – major), 18:15.
3rd Period-7, Adirondack, Sdao 2 (Salhany, Henry), 16:54. 8, Adirondack, MacArthur 7 (Kravchenko), 19:07 (EN). Penalties-Cornell Wor (roughing), 1:17; Kravchenko Adk (interference), 3:25.
Shots on Goal-Adirondack 13-9-15-37. Worcester 15-13-4-32.
Power Play Opportunities-Adirondack 0 / 4; Worcester 0 / 4.
Goalies-Adirondack, Sakellaropoulos 7-3-2-1 (32 shots-29 saves). Worcester, Gillam 7-8-0-0 (36 shots-32 saves).
Referees-Jeff Parker (22).
Linesmen-Kyle Richetelle (73), William Kingdon (58).