The Worcester Railers continued on their season long seven game road trip Wednesday night with a trip to The Granite State to take on the Manchester Monarchs at the SNHU Arena once again having a chance to leap into fourth place in the ECHL’s North Division.
But instead the Railers laid a gigantic egg as they were outplayed, outshot, outhustled, and pretty much out-everything you could be in a hockey game in being outscored 7-2.
The Railers got two power play goals, the first by David Quenneville in the opening period and the second by forward turned defenseman Bo Brauer in the second. Before anyone celebrates, in both cases Worcester allowed a shorthanded goal just seconds before. That’s the first time in franchise history that’s happened, and after a brief look at some notes it may be a Worcester pro hockey first also.
While some will say the loss was so one-sided because the Railers were missing some key players this writer would be remiss if it wasn’t mentioned that Worcester’s top line of Barry Almeida, Tyler Barnes and Ryan Hitchcock were all a minus-four, and Ryan MacKinnon, Quenneville, and Tyler Mueller were a minus-three.
Over their last seven games Worcester has allowed 27 goals. That’s just under four a game, which is bad enough, but when you consider they have a shutout of Tulsa and held Allen to just two tallies Friday night we’re looking at something that’s systemic and not situational.
To complete the record, third liners Dylan Willick, Malcolm Gould, and Yanick Turcotte, along with the bottom defensive pairing of Kevin Hart and newcomer Ivan Chukarov were all “even” Wednesday night.
Amazingly enough, despite being down 5-2 early in the third period the Railers had an opportunity to make a game of it when they had a five on three advantage for 1:07, but the Worcester power play managed just a single shot, by Brauer, on Monarchs netminder Charles Williams and by this writer’s count had just three shot attempts while having their season-long top unit out on the ice. Again, that’s systemic and not situational.
It took Mitch Gillam having an historic stretch for the Railers to make the playoffs last season, but right now there’s nothing about this team that makes it looks like it’s a true playoff contender in the North Division. Worcester has 19 more regular season games to change that.
Next game for the Railers is Sunday in Maine against the Mariners.
Scratches for the Railers were Mike Cornell (suspended, game one of one), Connor Doherty (14-day IR/facial injury), Tommy Kelley, Kyle McKenzie (Out for season/shoulder), Tommy Panico (Out for season/hand), Rob Powers (immigration issues), Matt Schmalz (14-day IR/upper), and Alex Vanier (unknown injury). Mitch Gillam was the back-up goaltender.
On Monday the ECHL suspended Worcester captain Mike Cornell for his cross checking major and game misconduct on Sunday in Tulsa, and he served that suspension Wednesday. With the possibility of being down several blueliners Railers GM Jamie Russell re-signed defenseman turned accountant Kevin Hart, and then inked defenseman Ivan Chukarov to a deal. Chukarov was with UMass-Amherst and recently left the team. The Minutemen hockey team would not respond to a request for comment by an intermediary about the situation, instead referring all questions to the university’s Office of News & Media Relations. As of posting there was no comment from them.
With it being the first game of the week we’ll take a look at the “Railers Player of the Week” voting that takes place over on the Railers Fans Facebook Group, and the runaway winner for last week was Evan Buitenhuis. It shouldn’t be a shock he won as he was also named the ECHL’s Goaltender of the Week for last week. Barry Almeida and Ivan Kosorenkov were the other nominees in the Facebook group voting.
On this day, February 21st, in Worcester hockey history…in 2015 Ryan Carpenter while Matt Taormina, Willie Coetzee, and Trevor Parkes all lit the lamp in the WorSharks 4-3 win over the Norfolk Admirals. Troy Grosenick had 26 saves for the win…in 2018 Yanick Turcotte, Ben Masella, and Jeff Kubiak all scored in regulation while Barry Almeida and Tommy Kelley scored in the shootout in the Railers 4-3 SO win over Adirondack. Mitch Gillam had 37 saves in the game and stopped three of four shooters in the shootout.
The three stars of the game were
1. MAN – 9 Sam Kurker
2. MAN – 6 David Kolomatis
3. MAN – 16 Alex Rauter
The 210Sports Player of the Game is Dylan Willick.
Even Strength Lines
Almeida / Hitchcock / Barnes
Sorkin / Holmstrom / Gaudreau
Kosorenkov / Willick / Gould
Mueller / MacKinnon
Brauer / Quenneville
Chukarov / Hart
Worcester 1 1 0 – 2
Manchester 2 3 2 – 7
1st Period-1, Manchester, Kolomatis 12 9:10 (SH). 2, Worcester, Quenneville 3 (Brauer, Holmstrom), 9:55 (PP). 3, Manchester, Cameranesi 18 (Pierog, Watson), 10:10. Penalties-Rymsha Man (hooking), 7:59; Walsh Man (interference), 12:22; Gaudreau Wor (slashing), 18:33.
2nd Period-4, Manchester, Walsh 5 (Kurker, Cameranesi), 2:47 (SH). 5, Worcester, Brauer 4 (Sorkin, Gaudreau), 3:12 (PP). 6, Manchester, Kurker 8 (Walsh, Miromanov), 11:21. 7, Manchester, Rauter 11 (Rymsha, Kurker), 14:52. Penalties-Willick Wor (fighting – major), 1:13; Masonius Man (elbowing, fighting – major), 1:13; Barnes Wor (slashing), 9:15; Pierog Man (hooking), 14:57.
3rd Period-8, Manchester, Walsh 6 (Kurker, Pierog), 10:06. 9, Manchester, Cameranesi 19 (Pierog, Kolomatis), 14:29 (PP). Penalties-Ward Man (slashing), 2:52; Shoup Man (delay of game), 3:46; Cameranesi Man (cross-checking), 9:09; Barnes Wor (high-sticking), 9:49; Hart Wor (hooking), 13:41.
Shots on Goal-Worcester 9-12-10-31. Manchester 19-8-12-39.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 2 / 7; Manchester 1 / 4.
Goalies-Worcester, Buitenhuis 9-9-3-1 (39 shots-32 saves). Manchester, Williams 16-10-0-1 (31 shots-29 saves).
Referees-Steven Rouillard (3).
Linesmen-Kyle Richetelle (73), Shane Kanaly (39).