Today in Worcester hockey history: December 11


1999 at Syracuse 6-5 win
(TICKER) Marty Reasoner recorded a natural hat trick, powering the Worcester IceCats to a 6-5 victory over the Syracuse Crunch. Reasoner, who leads the club with 13 goals, scored an unassisted goal with 1:58 left in the second period to pull Worcester into a 4-4 tie. He notched the go-ahead tally 3:34 into the third period and added a crucial insurance goal less than two minutes later, completing his first career three-goal game. Jim Campbell registered a goal and an assist for the IceCats, who have won both meetings from Syracuse this season. Reggie Savage and Josh Holden each collected a goal and an assists for the Crunch, who had a seven-game unbeaten streak stopped.

2002 at Chicago 5-4 loss
(CHICAGO) Just when the Chicago Wolves thought they had things wrapped up, the IceCats battled back twice only to fall short, 5-4, last night at Allstate Arena. The Wolves saw third-period leads of 4-1 and 5-3 cut to one goal, but the defending Calder Cup champions had enough left in the final minutes. Aris Brimanis, Christian Backman, John Pohl and Jason Dawe scored for Worcester, which was 0 for 6 on the power play. Chicago was 3 for 7. Mark Hartigan gave the Wolves a seemingly comfortable 4-1 lead with 11:13 to go, but Backman’s goal with 9:21 left and one by Pohl 14 seconds later cut the Chicago lead to 4-3. The Wolves used a four-minute, double-minor penalty on Sergei Varlamov (tripping, unsportsmanlike conduct) to ice the game when J.P. Vigier beat Curtis Sanford from close range at 13:59. Dawe’s redirection pulled the IceCats to within a goal again with 3:30 left, but it was too little, too late. Worcester failed to even the score with Sanford on the bench. Things got off to an auspicious start for the IceCats when Blake Evans was whistled for tripping just 43 seconds into the game. The penalty proved costly when Chicago tough guy Ryan Tobler gathered the rebound of a Steve Maltais shot and swept a backhander past Sanford for a 1-0 lead. Brimanis, playing against his former team, got the IceCats on the board at 8:01. The defenseman gathered a loose puck at the blue line and flicked a bouncer that knuckled through the pads of Milan Hnilicka. Eric Nickulas and John Pohl were credited with assists on Brimanis’ seventh of the season. While the ‘Cats continued to struggle on the power play — they failed to score on a four-minute advantage to begin the second period — the Wolves kept on excelling. Chicago went up, 2-1, when Simon Gamache one-timed a power-play goal past Sanford from the side of the net at 11:08. Thirty-nine seconds later, Tobler struck again. After Sanford made a spectacular save on a Derek MacKenzie blast from close range, Tobler’s shot from between the circles beat Sanford low and left for a 3-1 lead at 11:47.

2004 vs Providence 2-1 win SO
(ICECATS) Peter Sejna tied the game with 1:26 left in regulation, then scored the decisive goal in the seventh round of the shootout as the Worcester IceCats edged the Providence Bruins 2-1 in a shootout Saturday night. Bruin Colton Orr, known more for fighting than scoring, put Providence up 1-0 in the second period. The goal would hold up through the next period and a half thanks mostly to Cody Rudkowsky, who made 19 saves in the second period and 39 overall. Rudkowsky, a former IceCat, signed with Providence on December 1st. The shootout came down to the final round for the ‘Cats after Keith Aucoin scored on the Bruins first attempt. After denying four IceCats in a row, Alexei Shkotov finally beat Rudkowsky to force a sudden death shootout. Shkotov failed on the very next Worcester attempt, but Sejna beat the Bruins netminder low to the stickside on the follow up. ‘Cats goalie Jason Bacashihua made 26 saves en route to his third consecutive win. The IceCats wore special jerseys honoring the Worcester Fire Fighters, and during the game held an auction to raise money for the Worcester Fire Fighters Memorial Fund. Twenty eight jerseys were auctioned, raising more than $34,000.

2009 at Manchester 6-3 loss
(WORSHARKS) Jason Demers scored twice and the Sharks fired a season high 49 shots on goal but the Monarchs were victorious 6-3 on Friday night at the Verizon Wireless Arena. Jonathan Bernier made 46 saves in net for Manchester and Brandon Mashinter scored his 6th of the season for Worcester as the Sharks dropped their first game in regulation in nine games. The Monarchs took a quick 1-0 lead after rookie Dwight King (3rd goal) found a loose puck at center and went in on Alex Stalock for a breakaway chance at 1:21. King fired a wrist shot through the pads of Stalock for the unassisted goal. After the Monarchs’ Gabe Gauthier fired the puck off the post on another breakaway attempt, the Sharks tied the score at 1-1. Dennis McCauley passed to Jason Demers (1st goal) who fired a hard low shot from the right point through a screen and past Jonathan Bernier at 10:35. With Michael Wilson in the box for slashing, the Monarchs worked the puck along the perimeter and David Kolomatis (2nd goal) fired a one-timer shot from the right circle through the pads of Stalock at 13:59. The Sharks trailed 2-1 after the first period outshooting the Monarchs 13-10. Andrew Desjardins and Richard Clune dropped the mitts for a quick battle at 9:02 before Marc-Andre Cliché (5th goal) gave the Monarchs a 3-1 lead after breaking down the left side on a two-on-one and fired a bullet from the left circle top shelf glove side on Stalock at 9:27. The Sharks could not covert on a four minute power play at 10:12 and the Monarchs made them pay. Bud Holloway (8th goal) stole the puck in the Sharks zone, centered the puck in front and it deflected off the skates of Nick Petrecki and into the net at 15:26. The Sharks trailed 4-1 after forty minutes of play outshooting the Monarchs 29-21. David Meckler (4th goal) gave the Monarchs a 5-1 lead at 5:39 of the third period after tic-tac-toe passing in the Sharks zone. Jason Demers (2nd goal) notched his 2nd of the game after he collected his original blocked shot from the left circle and went top shelf on Bernier at 13:46. With Alex Stalock pulled and the Sharks on the power play, Brandon Mashinter (6th goal) fired a shot in from in tight, after a centering feed from behind the net by Ryan Vesce at 14:25 put Worcester back within two goals at 5-3. Marc-Andre Cliché (6th goal) fired into an empty net to seal the victory for the Monarchs 16:56. The Sharks fell 6-3 despite outshooting the Monarchs 49-26. With the loss, the Sharks fall to 15-11-0-2 (32 points) on the season and had their franchise record eight game point streak snapped at (7-0-0-1).

2010 at Albany 6-3 win
(WORSHARKS) The Sharks stormed out to a 3-0 lead after two periods, the Devils tied the score at 3-3, and the Sharks scored three more late in the third to double up the Devils 6-3 at the Times Union Center in Albany on Saturday night. Six different goal scorers found the back of the net for Worcester and Carter Hutton made 17 saves for his 2nd victory of the season. Tommy Wingels, Jason Pitton, and Brandon Mashinter scored late in the third period as the Sharks grabbed their 14th win of the season. Worcester played a terrific opening road period striking for two goals and outshooting the Devils 19-5. Andrew Desjardins (4th) extended his point streak to four games (1-3-4) as he banged in a loose rebound in the crease past Mike McKenna at 12:43 to give Worcester a 1-0 edge. The rebound was left in the crease after a point shot from Nick Schaus found its way through traffic and handcuffed the Devils netminder. Sean Sullivan (9th) struck on the power play, blasting a one-timer shot from the right circle after a terrific past across the ice by James Marcou at 19:16. In the middle frame, Jonathan Cheechoo (10th) gave the Sharks a 3-0 lead, burying a pass from behind the net by T.J. Trevelyan past the glove of Mike McKenna at 2:55. The Sharks led 3-0 after 40 minutes and held a 32-13 shot advantage after two periods. Each team scored three goals in a wild third period that saw the Devils tie the score at 3-3. Matt Anderson (10th at 2:24), Stephen Gionta (3rd at 13:02), and Tim Sestitio (2nd at 14:02) scored the first three goals of the third period to tie the score at 3-3. But the Sharks did not panic. Jonathan Cheechoo stole the puck behind the Devils net and left it for Tommy Wingels (6th) to put the Sharks back ahead 4-3. Wingels wrapped the puck around the post and past McKenna at 15:28. Jason Pitton (1st) fired a shot from 30 feet with a break down the right wing that snuck just inside the post at 17:04 to put Worcester up 5-3. Brandon Mashinter added an empty netter at 18:15 to seal the 6-3 victory. The Sharks record improves to 14-8-1-4 with 33 points and 7-4-0-3 on the road.

2011 at St. John’s 5-3 win
(WORSHARKS) Tommy Wingels scored twice in a wild third period comeback for the Sharks in a 5-3 victory over the first place St. John’s IceCaps at the Mile One Centre on Sunday afternoon. The Sharks improved to 2-0-0-1 on their season long seven game road trip after sweeping the IceCaps in back-to-back games in St. John’s. John McCarthy, Ben Guite, and Marek Viedensky also scored for Worcester while Harri Sateri picked up his 5th win with 24 saves in goal. Tony Lucia extended his point streak to five games (2-3-5) with an assist on the game winning goal late in the third period in a game that featured five fights and 70 penalty minutes. Harri Sateri was busy early in net for Worcester and held down the fort for the Sharks making 11 saves in the first period. Ryan Del Monte (1st) fought Tyler Ramsey (1st FM) behind the St. John’s net after a scrum in front of the crease at 10:35. Jimmy Bonneau (6th FM) rocked Tommy Maxwell (2nd FM) for a 2nd straight game at center ice at 11:48 to get the Sharks bench energized. The Sharks had a late power play to end the opening period and John McCarthy (4th) scored just to beat the buzzer with a wicked shot from 15 feet on top of the crease at 19:59 after a great set up by Ben Guite and Benn Ferriero to give the Worcester a 1-0 edge through 20 minutes. The IceCaps broke out to a 3-1 lead with three strikes in a 2nd frame that featured three sets of fighting majors. Spencer Machecek (8th) tied the score at 1-1 after he poked in a loose puck in front of the Sharks net after an icing against Worcester at 4:18. Paul Postma (5th) sent a laser from on top of the left circle over the shoulder of Harri Sateri at 6:55 to give St. John’s a 2-1 lead. Three separate fights broke out in the next minute as Nathan Moon (4th FM) and Eric O’Dell (1st FM) dropped the mitts at 6:57 followed by Matt Pelech (3rd FM) and Tyler Ramsey (2nd FM) at 6:59. Curt Gogol (6th FM) and Garth Murray (5th FM) finished off the rough stuff with a rematch from their fight on Friday at 7:40. Aaron Gagnon (6th) put the IceCaps ahead 3-1 with a tap in at the side of the net on the power play after a terrific feed by Kevin Clark at 17:57. Worcester trailed 3-1 after 40 minutes of play. Worcester scored four unanswered goals in the third period outshooting the IceCaps 17-3 in the frame. Ben Guite (2nd) fired the puck into an empty net on the left side after a perfect cross the top of the crease pass by John McCarthy on a 5-on-3 power play at 37 seconds. Tommy Wingels (6th) scored a breakaway goal at 3:51 after a great feed out of the zone by Sean Sullivan. Wingels missed the net on the shot; but the puck then came off the end glass, hit the crossbar, and then off the back of a stunned Peter Mannino to tie the score at 3-3. Just when it looked like the two teams were headed to OT, Tony Lucia intercepted a pass inside the IceCaps blue line and found Tommy Wingels (7th) all alone down low in the right circle. Tommy roofed the puck past the St. John’s netminder for the eventual game winner at 18:35. Marek Viedensky (1st) scored his first pro goal with a 75 foot shot into an empty net to seal the stunning 5-3 victory for the Sharks at 19:52. The Sharks record improves to 10-6-3-3 with 26 points through 22 games and now 3-1-3-2 on the road.

2021 va Maine 4-2 Win
(RAILERS) These Railers-Mariners games are so intense that fans leave the rink as tired as the players. Saturday night was another case in point. Worcester beat Maine, 4-2, as Worcester captain Jordan Lavallee-Smotherman registered a hat trick, the final goal into an empty net, The teams have played seven times this season and there have combined for four hat tricks, three by the Mariners. “We’ve given up three in three games in their building,” Lavallee-Smotherman said. “I feel like we owed them one.” While not credited with an assist, the captain did help pick up the contributions to the Teddy Bear Toss after Brent Beaudoin scored the game’s first goal at 8:17 of the first period. That first period was one of the best the Railers have played all season, the very best at the DCU Center. They outscored Maine, 3-0, and outshot the visitors, 20-1, the Mariners’ first shot coming with 13 seconds left in the first period. Lavallee-Smotherman had the two goals after Beaudoin’s. The rest of the game was entirely different as Maine scored twice in the second period — Jake Bricknell and Andrew Romano — and the Railers played hang-on hockey for much of the final 40 minutes. “We didn’t handle success well,” coach David Cunniff said. “We got away from playing the right way. Guys started trying to get on the score sheet instead of worrying about playing the right way. We played so well in the first period — why would you change it?” Beyond the score, Saturday’s game was an historic one, both for the Railers and the league. Laura Schmidlein made her debut as an ECHL linesperson, the first female on-official in league history. She was recognized during the second period and got a warm ovation from the crowd, then finally gave everybody a wave after some urging from the players. “I didn’t expect that. It was cool,” she said, “if you’re an official you don’t want to be in the limelight. The players told me to give the crowd a wave. I didn’t even know it was happening. I was wildly nervous. Was it different? I was more calm than I thought I would be and in a really great way. My crew was awesome and so I kicked into — OK, this is a hockey game and I know how to skate a hockey game — way sooner than I thought I would.” The ECHL’s head of officials, Stephen Thomson, watched the game from the press box and gave Schmidlein high marks. “The first impression is courageous, to be honest,” he said. “All of the weight on her shoulders, the pressure she felt. It’s not often that officials get into the media and she handled all professionally and with courage.” Lavalle-Smotherman’s hat trick was just the fifth in Railers history including playoffs, the second in the DCU Center. Most of the crowd of 5,060 breathed sighs of relief because Maine had been applying pressure to Worcester’s rookie goalie Jim Poreda. “I think we thought it was going to be an easy game and they took advantage of it,” Lavallee-Smotherman said. The game was the first one of the season’s second quarter. The Railers were 7-10-1 for 15 points. Although it wasn’t good, it was the second-best opening quarter in the four seasons Worcester has played. The best was in its inaugural season, 2017-18, when it was 8-7-3 for 19 points. The roster-go-round continued unabated. The Railers released Ryan Cloonan after one game; the Islanders returned veteran Paul Thompson from Bridgeport; goalie Corbin Kaczperski, signed to replace Colten Ellis when he went to Springfield, came back from a quick loan to Utica; defenseman Charlie Spetz was signed by Springfield; and 20-year-old rookie forward Reece Newkirk was loaned by Bridgeport. Worcester’s starting goalie was Poreda, signed before Friday night’s game in Springfield as Ken Appleby remains on the Covid list. Both teams were understaffed. The Railers went with 11 forwards and five defensemen while Maine had only 15 players in uniform including five defensemen. Worcester was without forward Grant Jozefek and defensman Myles McGurty. It was a set of circumstances that led to what has to be pro hockey first — Holden versus Holden on defense. The Mariners had Connor Doherty, of course, and just-signed Holden native Robert Roche dressed for his second game for the Railers, first at the DCU Center. The Railers do not play again until Dec. 17 when they open a three-in-three weekend in Reading. That’s the start of a stretch during which Worcester is scheduled to play the Royals 11 times in 14 games, seven of them on the road. Worcester’s next home game is Dec. 26 versus Maine. MAKING TRACKS_The special occasion jerseys, auctioned off for the Shine Initiative, had a Patriots theme and were arguably the best jerseys in Worcester pro hockey history. …The referee was Sam Heidemann for the third straight game. Such is life in the Covid world. … Poreda donned Number 30, the first-ever Railers player with that number. … The Railers had just four right-handed shots among their 16 skaters. … Newkirk, who had two assists, is from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, merely the third native of that province to play for the Railers. … The one shot on goal allowed in the first tied a Railers record for fewest shots allowed in a period. … Callum Booth started in the Maine net and left the game due to injury in the second period, Jeremy Brodeur taking over.

2022 vs Iadop 5-3 loss
(RAILERS) The Worcester Railers fell to the Idaho Steelheads by a final score of 5-3 on Sunday afternoon to wrap up their second three-in-three of the season. The Railers’ homestand continues next weekend with a pair of games against the Newfoundland Growlers and they are up there with the Steelheads among the ECHL’s elite teams. When a team loses the assumption is something went wrong and things have been going wrong for the Railers during their streak, but some of it has to do with the opposition. The weekend sweep improved Idaho’s record to 17-3-1 and it’s not because the Steelheads have been lucky. “I just got finished saying to the players,” coach Jordan Smotherman said, “that the reason we lost to that team this weekend was that while we are as talented as they are, they’re a more mature team than we are. They played the game simple and hard and the right way the entire weekend. “We did that at times and when we did, we played with them.” The Steelheads were 2 for 2 on the power play Sunday after going 2 for 3 Saturday. Idaho’s first power play goal by Zane Franklin at 10:21 of the second period was a bad bounce. The second, by Matt Register at 7:46 of the third period came only six seconds after the power play began. Nolan Vesey scored two of the Railers’ three goals. Reece Newkirk had the other. Jordan Kawaguchi, Owen Headrick and Jade Miller scored the other Steelheads goals, Miller into an empty net. Ken Appleby made 38 saves for the Railers, Adam Scheel 20 for Idaho. Vesey gave Worcester a 1-0 lead for the second game in a row when he scored his fourth of the season at 2:13 of the second period. Anthony Repaci sent Vesey away with a breakout pass that created a 2 on 1. Vesey took the shot — usually a good choice in that situation — and his 30-footer from the right circle gave the Railers the lead. It did not last that long, though, as the Steelheads scored a pair of goals in a span of three minutes to make it a 2-1 game. Kawaguchi tied it at 7:22 as he finished what amounted to a 1 on 2 rush with a wrist shot from between the circles that went off the far post and in. Franklin scored on a power play at 10:21. He flipped a shot from the left circle that went through a screen and found the top corner. Newkirk tied it at 2:38 of the third period, Register made it 3-2 at 7:46 and Vesey got his second of the night to make it 3-3 at 8:48. Idaho bounced right back as Headrick scored at 11:43 and Miller hit the empty net with 44 seconds to go. MAKING TRACKS – Defenseman Austin Osmanski rejoined the Railers after starting the season in Springfield. Osmanski played the last half of last season in Worcester and had a solid rookie year with 5-7-12 totals in 32 games. Forward Derek Osik was released to create room on the roster. … The weekend marked a happy return to Worcester for Steelheads coach Everett Sheen, who played four seasons of hockey at Holy Cross under Paul Pearl. Sheen, who turns 36 on Wednesday, was 52-52-104 for the Crusaders from 2007-08 through 2010-11. This was his first trip back to Worcester since he left Holy Cross. … Billy Jerry, Jeff Solow and Zack Bross were the Railers who did not play Sunday. … The Railers’ last five-game losing streak was from Jan. 26 to Feb. 19 of 2020. Their last time being swept three-in-three at home was last April 1-3 by Newfoundland. … The two-goal game was Vesey’s second for Worcester, his first since Oct. 23, 2021.


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