On Wednesday night the Worcester Railers began their season long seven game road trip with a clash against the Maine Mariners at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, Maine. It also began a four game in five day stretch that will include games in two different time zones.
Worcester came out of the gates flying, but the Mariners withstood the charge. As Maine picked up the pace Railers goaltender Mitch Gillam had to make a couple big saves, and Alex Vanier saved a goal by sweeping the puck away from an empty net.
Despite the heroics Maine would get on the board first when Jason Salvaggio fired a shot that beat Gillam five-hole at 7:25 of the opening period. The goal, assisted by Johnny McInnis and Garrett Cecere, is one that Gillam absolutely would like another chance at making the save on.
Less than a minute later Barry Almeida tied it 1-1 after a head’s up play by the veteran forward. Mariners goaltender Connor LaCouvee went behind his net to play the puck, but Almeida turned on the jets and plucked the puck right off LaCouvee’s stick and wheeled the net quickly, essentially dunking the puck into the yawning net for the unassisted goal at 8:07.
The Railers 18 shots on goal in the frame set a franchise record for the first period in a road game.
Ryan Hitchcock gave Worcester the 2-1 lead 1:15 into the second period with a top shelf one-timer over LaCouvee off a nice feed from Tyler Barnes. Both Almeida and Barnes were behind the goal line to the left of LaCouvee, and that drew the defense away from Hitchcock. Barnes’ feed was perfect, and LaCouvee had no chance on the shot.
After a one-sided battle where Vanier pounded Terrence Wallin the Railers would increase their lead to 3-1 when Dylan Willick got in the way of a Mike Cornell blast from the blue line and deflected the puck past LaCouvee at 15:00. Ivan Kosorenkov had the secondary assist on the play.
With two periods gone Barnes had just 20 minutes to extend his Worcester pro hockey record seven game goal streak, but he needed just 1:03 to do it after Worcester began the third period on the power play. Ryan MacKinnon fired a hard pass to Barnes by the goal line to the left of LaCouvee. When there wasn’t a passing lane available Barnes shot high and beat LaCouvee under the crossbar for the 4-1 lead. Once again Kosorenkov had the secondary helper.
The Mariners weren’t done fighting however, and at 7:33 Josh Couturier cut the lead to 4-2 when he connected on a three on one rush. Former Railers forward Dwyer Tschantz and Wallin had the assists on the play. It was another former Worcester player that cut the lead to 4-3 when Wade Murphy beat Gillam at 12:17. Salvaggio and John Furgele had the helpers.
With two minutes remaining in the game Maine tied the contest 4-4 when Derek Pratt banked one off of Gillam from behind the goal line and in. It was another one that Gillam would probably want another attempt on saving. McInnis and Furgele assisted on the goal.
The collapse would be complete in overtime when Brycen Martin made it four unanswered goals for the Mariners at 2:57 to send the Railers back to Worcester with their tails between their legs after a painful 5-4 loss.
Scratches for the Railers were Connor Doherty (week to week/facial injury), Malcolm Gould, Kyle McKenzie (Out for season/shoulder), Tommy Panico (Out for season/hand), and Matt Schmalz (14-day IR/upper). Evan Buitenhuis was the back-up netminder. With all the injuries to the defense once again forward Bo Brauer took shifts on the blue line.
On Wednesday morning Worcester General Manager Jamie Russell announced Tuesday’s trade of fan favorite Woody Hudson to the Indy Fuel in exchange for defenseman Robert Powers. He’ll meet the team in Allen, Texas for Friday’s game against the Americans. On Wednesday the Railers also added Tommy Panico to the injured reserve list with an injured hand, and it was announced during the pregame show that he’s out for the remainder of the season. Panico injured the hand Saturday against Wheeling.
It will be a quick turnaround for Worcester as after the return home from Maine they’ll face a 4am bus to Logan Airport in Boston as they head to Allen, Texas Thursday to take on the Americans on Friday at the Allen Event Center. From there it’s a bus trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma for a pair against the Oilers. The team will return to New England on Monday to be ready for the game in Manchester on Wednesday.
Even with the short amount of time between Sunday’s game and Wednesday’s there was still a large amount of votes for last week’s “Railers Player of the Week” over in the Railers Fans Facebook group, and once again Tyler Barnes is the runaway winner. There was almost no reason to nominate anyone else, but for the sake of having a vote Ryan Hitchcock and Ryan MacKinnon were added to the poll.
On this day, February 14th, in Worcester hockey history…in 2004 the IceCats got second period goals by Johnny Pohl and Igor Valeev in the IceCats 2-1 win over Philadelphia. Brent Johnson had 27 saves in the win, and was also assessed a roughing minor…in 2010 Dan DaSilva had a hat trick and Dwight Helminen chipped in three assist in the WorSharks 5-2 victory over Manchester. Andrew Desjardins added two assist and Alex Stalock had 33 saves in the win…in 2015 Gus Young, Trevor Parkes, and Bryan Lerg all scored in the WorSharks 3-1 win in St. John’s. Aaron Dell had 24 saves in the game.
The three stars of the game were
1. MNE – 14 Brycen Martin
2. MNE – 11 Jason Salvaggio
3. WOR – 19 Barry Almeida
After blowing a three goal third period lead there is no 210Sports Player of the Game.
Even Strength Lines
Almeida / Hitchcock / Barnes
Sorkin / Holmstrom / Gaudreau
Kosorenkov / Willick / Kelley
Mueller / Cornell
Vanier / MacKinnon
Brauer / Quenneville
Worcester 1 2 1 0 – 4
Maine 1 0 3 1 – 5
1st Period-1, Maine, Salvaggio 10 (McInnis, Cecere), 7:25. 2, Worcester, Almeida 13 8:07. Penalties-Quenneville Wor (tripping), 5:00.
2nd Period-3, Worcester, Hitchcock 9 (Barnes, Almeida), 1:15. 4, Worcester, Willick 6 (Cornell, Kosorenkov), 15:00. Penalties-Salvaggio Mne (tripping), 5:10; Martin Mne (cross-checking), 5:41; Almeida Wor (tripping), 6:44; Vanier Wor (fighting – major), 14:31; Wallin Mne (fighting – major), 14:31; Holmstrom Wor (unsportsmanlike conduct), 20:00; served by Fox Mne (bench – too many men), 20:00; Murphy Mne (unsportsmanlike conduct), 20:00.
3rd Period-5, Worcester, Barnes 21 (MacKinnon, Kosorenkov), 1:03 (PP). 6, Maine, Couturier 2 (Tschantz, Wallin), 7:33. 7, Maine, Murphy 8 (Salvaggio, Furgele), 12:17. 8, Maine, Pratt 2 (McInnis, Salvaggio), 18:00. Penalties-No Penalties
OT Period-9, Maine, Martin 6 (Wallin, Salvaggio), 2:57. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Worcester 18-14-12-3-47. Maine 15-7-10-1-33.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 1 / 3; Maine 0 / 2.
Goalies-Worcester, Gillam 14-12-1-2 (33 shots-28 saves). Maine, LaCouvee 6-3-0-0 (47 shots-43 saves).
Referees-Jarred Mitrano (14).
Linesmen-Kyle Richetelle (73), Shane Kanaly (39).