Best short-time players in Worcester pro hockey history

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On Monday the Worcester Railers traded Zack Phillips, who they claimed off waivers last week, to the Norfolk Admirals for the ever popular “future considerations”. As this writer does often after mentioning the transaction in the Worcester Railers Fan Club Facebook group I jokingly asked the question “How will everyone remember the Zack Phillips era?”.

On this snowy morning the thought struck me as to who the best short-time players in Worcester hockey history would be.

So setting the criteria at four games, I looked at the list. I’ve eliminated the every-day NHL players who were assigned to the AHL IceCats and WorSharks for four or fewer games on injury rehab as obviously they should have had decent games, along with AHL players assigned to the Railers. I will mention that Dante Salituro currently qualifies for the list, but I suspect that will change this week when he plays his fifth Railers game.

So in order of games played, here are my top-five “best” Worcester short-timers.

Ian Laperriere: After splitting time with the St Louis Blues and IHL’s Peoria Rivermen the season before Laperriere played four games early in the 1995-96 season for the IceCats before being recalled. It was an amazing four games, scoring a goal and an assist against the Springfield Falcons on November 3rd and adding a goal the next night against Providence. He tacked on 22 penalty minutes in those four contests.

Brian McCullough: The “next to last” Worcester IceCats player played four games with the team, scoring a third period goal to give the IceCats a 4-3 lead (they’d lose 5-4 in a shootout) against Portland and then assisted on the IceCats only goal on April 17th against Manchester. McCullough retired from hockey at the end of that season.

Matt Kinch: Kinch was a solid AHL defenseman in his career who spend many seasons over in Europe. After a full 20078-08 campaign with the Binghamton Kinch signed an NHL deal with the San Jose Sharks and was assigned to Worcester. He played three games, assisting on two goals, before informing the Sharks he wasn’t interested in playing in the AHL. He returned to Europe to play soon after.

Don Parsons: One of the all-time elite AA-level players that never could get a legitimate chance in the AHL, Parsons had a goal and an assist on October 5, 1996 against the Portland Pirates in his second game with the IceCats. Soon after he was back with the ECHL’s Baton Rouge Kingfish, and didn’t return to the AHL until October 2003 in a pair of games with the St John’s Maple Leafs.

Chris Blight: The right wing had two very short stints with the WorSharks, the first being in the 2007 Calder Cup playoffs when he played in one game, the double overtime loss to Manchester in game six. His second game with the WorSharks was a lot more impressive, helping to spark a four goal third period comeback against the Portland Pirates on January 23, 2011. His reward was being released just after the game and returned to the ECHL’s Reading Royals.

Folks will note there are no goaltenders on the list, but there are a couple that could easily be mentioned. One I will give a shout out to never actually played in goal…

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