The Worcester Railers finished their Central Time Zone road trip Sunday afternoon with another contest against the Tula Oilers at the ROK Center looking for a point from the game to vault into fourth place in the ECHL’s North Division.
Things started off well for the Railers when Yanick Turcotte drew a penalty to give Worcester the first power play of the game. After Barry Almeida helped break up a shorthanded rush into the Worcester zone the puck went back to the Tulsa end. Now it was time for Almeida to help in the offensive end, as he set the play in motion with a pass to Ivan Kosorenkov. From the top of the left wing circle Kosorenkov fed Ryan MacKinnon at the high slot and the defenseman rifled a one-timer past Oilers netminder Ian Keserich at 3:15 of the first period.
And then it all went downhill rapidly for the Railers.
Kyle Rhodes tied the game 45 seconds later with a 60-foot shot that beat Worcester goaltender Mitch Gillam to the glove side through a screen. Twenty-eight seconds after that Tommy Mele gave the Oilers the 2-1 lead when he banged home a rebound at 4:28.
Jared Thomas made it 3-1 Tulsa at 6:50 with a booming one-timer that beat Gillam. Then Mele connected a second time in the period to make it 4-1 at 7:02. Adam Phillips’ goal from the right side gave the Oilers a 5-1 lead and chased Gillam from the game at 13:53. Starting from the third period of Wednesday’s game against Maine Gillam has given up nine goals in his last 29:17 of play.
It didn’t get any better for Worcester as 33 seconds into the second period Adam Pleskach beat Evan Buitenhuis for a power play goal to make it 6-1 Tulsa. Almeida finally stopped the bleeding with a breakaway goal that went five-hole on Keserich at 6:50 to make it 6-2, assisted my Tyler Mueller.
But later in the period Worcester decided that they’d rather turn into the old WorSharks “Goon Squad” as opposed to trying to get back into the game. Both Nick Sorkin and Mike Cornell were ejected late in the middle stanza, Sorkin for jumping Charlie Sampair as both left the penalty boxes and Cornell for a center ice cross check that also earned him a major penalty.
Missing those players sparks a “what could have been” moment as the Railers made it 6-3 at 10:31 with a power play goal by Kosorenkov from on top of the crease, with assists going to Ryan Hitchcock and Tyler Barnes. The assist for Barnes extended his points streak to 13 games. Worcester had another power play attempt soon after but couldn’t convert as eventually time ran out on a miracle comeback.
The Railers will head back to New England Monday morning, and will continue their road trip with a game against the Monarchs in Manchester on Wednesday.
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), David Quenneville (ill), and Matt Schmalz (14-day IR/upper). Evan Buitenhuis began the game as the back-up netminder after getting the start the past two games, and entered the game at 13:53 of the first when Head Coach Jamie Russell pulled Mitch Gillam after allowing five goals on ten shots.
As soon as the opening puck dropped it became Gillam’s 71st appearance in goal for the Railers, tying him with Troy Grosenick for eighth place all-time in Worcester pro hockey history. Unless his play improves he’s likely not going to move up any higher than that eighth place this season.
The goaltending carousel in Tulsa continued Sunday as the Oilers went with emergency goaltender Ian Keserich again but released Kurt Peterson, a player that no one could find any stats for, and signed former pro Marty Magers to back-up Keserich. While Magers hasn’t seen any action since playing for the Wichita Thunder in 2010-11, he was a legitimate low-level pro for many years. For the past few years he’s been the head coach of the Tulsa Jr. Oliers of the AAU level Western States Hockey League.
On this day, February 18th, in Worcester hockey history…in 2000 Derek Bekar collected two assists as the Worcester IceCats edged the Springfield Falcons, 3-2. Bekar set up Reed Low’s shorthanded goal with 4:44 left in the second period, forging a 1-1 tie. He also assisted on Jim Campbell’s tally just over three minutes later. Ladislav Nagy scored what the eventual game-winner 25 seconds into the second period for the IceCats…in 2011 the Worcester Sharks got two goals from Jonathan Cheechoo and two assists by Michael Swift, but it wasn’t enough in Worcester’s 5-4 loss to Albany. The game winner came on a power play goal with 4.9 seconds remaining in regulation by former Worcester forward Steven Zalewski after WorSharks Assistant Coach David Cunniff was given an unsportsmanlike conduct minor and game misconduct for throwing his pen at linesman Rich Patry and hitting him in the helmet. Somehow Cunniff avoided being suspended for the incident.
The three stars of the game were
1. TUL – 92 Tommy Mele
2. TUL – 71 Jared Thomas
3. TUL – 20 Chris Forney
The 210Sports Player of the Game is Ivan Kosorenkov.
Even Strength Lines
Almeida / Hitchcock / Barnes
Sorkin / Holmstrom / Gaudreau
Kosorenkov / Willick / Kelley
Mueller / Cornell
Powers / MacKinnon
Vanier / Brauer
Worcester 1 1 1 – 3
Tulsa 5 1 0 – 6
1st Period-1, Worcester, MacKinnon 5 (Kosorenkov, Almeida), 3:15 (PP). 2, Tulsa, Rhodes 11 (McNulty, Tesink), 4:00. 3, Tulsa, Mele 3 (Thomas, Forney), 4:28. 4, Tulsa, Thomas 17 (Pleskach, Forney), 6:50. 5, Tulsa, Mele 4 (Henegar, Kromm), 7:02. 6, Tulsa, Phillips 3 (Pleskach, Ammirato), 13:53. Penalties-Pleskach Tul (slashing), 2:32; MacKinnon Wor (fighting – major), 11:44; Kromm Tul (fighting – major), 11:44; Turcotte Wor (fighting – major), 13:53; McKee Tul (fighting – major), 13:53; Drapluk Tul (slashing), 16:19.
2nd Period-7, Tulsa, Pleskach 27 (Tesink, Drapluk), 0:33 (PP). 8, Worcester, Almeida 15 (Mueller), 6:50. Penalties-Cornell Wor (roughing), 0:18; Almeida Wor (slashing), 4:13; Vanier Wor (roughing), 4:13; Rhodes Tul (tripping), 4:13; Kosorenkov Wor (interference), 8:38; Cornell Wor (roughing), 10:02; Pleskach Tul (slashing), 10:02; Sorkin Wor (roughing), 13:44; Sampair Tul (roughing), 13:44; Sorkin Wor (slashing, game misconduct – fighting (continuing altercation)), 15:48; Pleskach Tul (high-sticking), 15:48; Drapluk Tul (hooking), 16:58; Gaudreau Wor (slashing), 17:35; Cornell Wor (cross-checking major, game misconduct – cross-checking), 17:47.
3rd Period-9, Worcester, Kosorenkov 9 (Hitchcock, Barnes), 10:31 (PP). Penalties-Kromm Tul (boarding), 9:21; Henegar Tul (slashing), 12:30.
Shots on Goal-Worcester 8-7-5-20. Tulsa 16-16-9-41.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 2 / 5; Tulsa 1 / 5.
Goalies-Worcester, Gillam 14-13-1-2 (10 shots-5 saves); Buitenhuis 9-8-3-1 (31 shots-30 saves). Tulsa, Keserich 2-1-0-0 (20 shots-17 saves).
Referees-Steven Rouillard (3).
Linesmen-Chris Provost (50), Chuck Schamel (97).