The Worcester Railers took an hour trip north to Manchester to take on the Monarchs in the seventh and final game of their season long road trip looking for a little revenge for their embarrassing loss at the SNHU Arena last week and looking to jump back into the ECHL’s North Division playoff race.
Things did not start of well for Worcester as Manchester enjoyed a large shot advantage, and then finally took the lead at 9:27 of the opening period. It was one of those goals that makes you shake your head as Sam Kurker broke into the Railers zone all alone, and after he fired a shot on Worcester netminder Mitch Gillam gathered his own rebound despite being outmanned four to one. His put back game his team the lead. Cory Ward and Tim Shoup were credited with the assists.
As the period went on the Railers eventually picked up their play and got the shot counter toward a respectable difference, and a couple of nice plays got the team back to even on the scoreboard. Matty Gaudreau began the play with a spin-o-rama move from the left wing circle. Monarchs netminder Charles Willimas made the save but Gaudreau was able to retrieve the rebound and then pass it to the left point where Rob Powers one-timed it on goal. Nick Sorkin got just enough of it to deflect it past Williams at 17:01 for the 1-1 score.
In the second period Worcester took the lead on a booming shot by Barry Almeida. Over on the right wing side Ryan MacKinnon and Ryan Hitchcock exchanged passes, and then MacKinnon threw a cross ice pass over to Almeida on the left side. His slapshot from the top of the left wing circle beat Williams for the power play tally at 4:54.
Now it was Manchester’s turn to answer back, and they did just that playing some good transition hockey when Kurker backhanded a clearing attempt from the Monarchs zone. It didn’t go very far, but it went right to teammate Kevin Dufour, who gloved it out of the air and rushed straight down the middle. Dufour’s wrist shot from about 40-feet beat Gillam at 10:42 to knot the score 2-2.
Back the other way the teams went, and the Railers retook the lead for a second time at 11:34 when Josh Holmstrom gathered a pass from Sorkin and skated into the Manchester zone on the left side. He threw a lazy wrister on net but Williams fumbled the shot attempt. Gaudreau was right there to bang home the loose puck for the 3-2 lead.
The Monarchs tied the game once again when they converted on a bad turnover by Ivan Kosorenkov. The rookie forward had the puck at the top of the Manchester zone and while trying to find a skating lane had the puck stolen from him by Brien Diffley. Tony Cameranesi picked up the loose puck and skated into the Worcester zone with Kosorenkov giving chase. Gillam stopped Cameranesi’s bid but Kurker was there all by himself to bang home the rebound at 14:30. It appeared to be Kosorenkov’s last shift of the game.
After a scoreless third period the squads headed to overtime, and it was rookie defenseman David Quenneville who gave the Railers the bonus point when he skated in to the Monarchs zone from the red line, and after some nifty stick handling ripped a laser over the shoulder of Williams at 3:31. Gaudreau and Hitchcock were credited with the assists, but the play as all Quenneville.
Worcester is off until Sunday when they play the Adirondack Thunder at the DCU Center. Puck drop is 3pm.
Scratches for the Railers were Connor Doherty (14-day IR/facial injury), Tommy Kelley, Kyle McKenzie (Out for season/shoulder), Tommy Panico (Out for season/hand), Matt Schmalz (14-day IR/upper), and Alex Vanier (14-day IR/upper). Evan Buitenhuis was the back-up goaltender. Vanier was added to the IR list Wednesday with an effective date of February 18th.
Earlier this week Worcester GM Jamie Russell shipped forward Malcolm Gould off to Newfoundland for the ever popular “future considerations”. Gould spent almost his entire time with the Railers on injured reserve, and in the two games he played he spent most of that time on the bench. If the Growers weren’t in such a desperate need of forwards Russell likely wouldn’t have gotten anything at all for Gould.
A bit of statistical paperwork is in order after the game. With his overtime goal David Quenneville joins Dylan Willick and Josh Holmstrom as the only Railers with goals scored in all four periods this season. The win was Mitch Gillam’s 38th for Worcester, tying him with Troy Grosenick for seventh all-time in Worcester pro hockey history.
If there was ever proof the ECHL needs video review in every building, Wednesday night in Manchester was it. About halfway through the second period Nic Pierog fired a shot that hit the posts to the left and right behind Railers goaltender Mitch Gillam. As referee Steven Rouillard was making the washout “no goal” motion the red light went on, and he stopped the play. In a process that took nearly five minutes referee Rouillard spoke to his linesmen, then to the goal judge via walkie-talkie, and then to his linesmen again before confirming his call. Looking at video would have taken mere seconds, especially considering the ECHL accidentally tweeted out video of the play that shows the puck didn’t cross the goal line.
With it being the first game of the week we’ll take a look at the voting over in the Railers Fans Facebook group, and last week’s winner was Bo Brauer. Not sure the reason but there wasn’t anywhere near as many votes cast as usual, but he’s the winner nonetheless. David Quenneville and Josh Holmstrom were the other two nominees.
On this day, February 28th, in Worcester hockey history…in 2004 Curtis Sanford made 41 saves and Mike Glumac scored the IceCats lone goal in a 1-1 tie with the Springfield Falcons. Greg Black and Marc Brown had the assists on Glumac’s goal…in 2007 Mathieu Darche had two goals and an assist while Craig Valette, Graham Mink, and Scott Ferguson all had two assists in the WorSharks 6-2 win over Springfield…in 2009 P.J. Fenton had a hat trick and T.J. Fox had a goal and two assists in the WorSharks 7-3 win over Springfield. The game saw 147 penalty minutes, with Brad Staubitz accumulating an amazing 42 minutes in one first period altercation.
The three stars of the game were
1. WOR – 20 David Quenneville
2. MAN – 9 Sam Kurker
3. WOR – 8 Nick Sorkin
The 210Sports Player of the Game is Matty Gaudreau.
Even Strength Lines
Almeida / Hitchcock / Barnes
Sorkin / Holmstrom / Gaudreau
Kosorenkov / Willick / Brauer
Mueller / Cornell
Chukarov / Quenneville
Powers / MacKinnon
Worcester 1 2 0 1 – 4
Manchester 1 2 0 0 – 3
1st Period-1, Manchester, Kurker 10 (Ward, Shoup), 9:27. 2, Worcester, Sorkin 11 (Powers, Gaudreau), 17:01. Penalties-Willick Wor (slashing), 11:35; Sorkin Wor (slashing), 19:31.
2nd Period-3, Worcester, Almeida 16 (MacKinnon, Hitchcock), 4:54 (PP). 4, Manchester, Dufour 21 (Kurker, Walsh), 10:42. 5, Worcester, Gaudreau 10 (Holmstrom, Sorkin), 11:34. 6, Manchester, Kurker 11 (Cameranesi, Diffley), 14:30. Penalties-Rymsha Man (hooking), 3:51; Carlisle Man (slashing), 8:13; Rymsha Man (hooking), 12:03; Rymsha Man (boarding), 18:26; Holmstrom Wor (slashing), 19:57.
3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Miromanov Man (delay of game), 9:33; Barnes Wor (slashing), 10:02.
OT Period-7, Worcester, Quenneville 4 (Gaudreau, Hitchcock), 3:31. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Worcester 11-16-15-2-44. Manchester 15-9-8-4-36.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 1 / 5; Manchester 0 / 4.
Goalies-Worcester, Gillam 15-13-1-3 (36 shots-33 saves). Manchester, Williams 16-10-1-2 (44 shots-40 saves).
Referees-Steven Rouillard (3).
Linesmen-Kyle Richetelle (73), AJ Potvin (78).