The Worcester Railers began their four game road trip Tuesday night at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, Maine in a contest against the Mariners, and ECHL referee Jeremy Tufts may as well have been wearing a Mariners jersey as his wildly inconsistent penalty calls had the Railers shorthanded eight times in their 3-2 loss to Maine.
During the opening frame referee Tufts only missed a handful of calls, so the frame was really about the goaltending with Railers netminder Evan Buitenhuis and Mariners goaltender Connor LaCouvee combining for 33 saves. There was one goal scored from all those shots, and luckily for Worcester fans it was the Railers who lit the lamp when Arnaud Durandeau tipped Justin Murray’s shot over LaCouvee’s glove and in at 9:50. Ryan MacKinnon had the secondary assist on the goal.
The real highlight of the period was a long center ice battle between Yanick Turcotte and Morgan Adams-Moisan. Turcotte said in an intermission interview with Cam McGuire the two agreed during warm-ups to fight, and after the 62-second brawl Adams-Moisan probably wishes he didn’t ask Turcotte if he wanted to drop the gloves.
The second period saw the teams exchange goals. Ted Hart had the goal for the Mariners at 16:47 of the frame when he banged home the rebound of Michael McNicholas’ shot on the power play, perhaps the only man advantage for Maine that was truly justified. Just 24 seconds later Drew Callin tied the game when he stole the puck in the Maine zone and spun around, firing a hard shot that beat LaCouvee clean at 17:11.
Referee Tufts played a much larger role in that middle frame. Early in the period, Mikael Robidoux boarded MacKinnon on a play that had it been Turcotte would have been a major and game misconduct. Instead, referee Tufts called a minor at 3:29. At 18:55 Robidoux continued his antics by charging Callin, knocking the Railers forward out for the remainder of the game. Kyle Thomas had seen enough and began pounding Robidoux while the rookie forward turtled. Thomas was ejected while once again referee Tufts called just a minor on Robidoux despite Callin being injured.
That wasn’t the only battle in the frame. At 18:39 Brandon Crawley boarded Ben Thomson–no call, mind you–and then when Thomson said something Crawley dropped the gloves. Thomson is no stranger to fighting, as Crawley soon found out when he got relentlessly pounded.
The third period may have been the worst officiated period this writer has seen in the ECHL, and that says a lot.
After being essentially assaulted for more than a handful of seconds with no call by referee Tufts Thomson was then called for a ticky-tack hooking minor. On that power play as MacKinnon’s stick was slashed out of his hands–again, with no call–Adams-Moisan scored the game tying goal at 12:34.
Railers head coach Dave Cunniff went ballistic, and let referee Tufts have it. That, of course, led to another Maine power play where Terrence Wallin scored the game winner at 13:43.
Scratches for the Railers were Connor Doherty, JD Dudek (14-day IR/upper), Cody Payne, Tanner Pond (14-day IR/upper), Kyle McKenzie (lower), and Jordan Samuels-Thomas (lower). Ian Milosz was the back-up goaltender.
The three stars of the game were
1. MNE – 32 Morgan Adams-Moisan
2. MNE – 40 Connor LaCouvee
3. WOR – 34 Evan Buitenhuis
The 210Sports Player of the Game was Justin Murray.
Even Strength Lines
Almeida / Callin / Walsh
Thomson / Pierog / Durandeau
Olsson / Salituro / Thomas
Murray / MacKinnon
Stander / Chukarov
Johansson / Brauer
Worcester 1 1 0 – 2
Maine 0 1 2 – 3
1st Period-1, Worcester, Durandeau 3 (Murray, MacKinnon), 9:50. Penalties-Thomson Wor (slashing), 0:35; Turcotte Wor (fighting – major), 7:55; Adams-Moisan Mne (fighting – major), 7:55; Olsson Wor (interference), 10:22; Crawley Mne (cross-checking), 18:50.
2nd Period-2, Maine, Hart 7 (McNicholas, Culkin), 16:47 (PP). 3, Worcester, Callin 8 17:11. Penalties-Stander Wor (delay of game), 0:57; Robidoux Mne (boarding), 3:29; Hart Mne (hooking), 7:47; served by Olsson Wor (bench – too many men), 15:47; Thomson Wor (fighting – major), 18:39; Crawley Mne (fighting – major), 18:39; Thomas Wor (fighting – major, game misconduct – aggressor), 18:55; Robidoux Mne (charging), 18:55.
3rd Period-4, Maine, Adams-Moisan 3 (Tolkinen, Day), 12:34 (PP). 5, Maine, Wallin 17 (Culkin, Kile), 13:43 (PP). Penalties-Stander Wor (interference), 4:35; Robidoux Mne (tripping), 9:20; Thomson Wor (hooking), 11:44; served by Almeida Wor (bench – abusive language), 12:34; Adams-Moisan Mne (roughing), 14:29.
Shots on Goal-Worcester 17-13-8-38. Maine 17-11-17-45.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 0 / 5; Maine 3 / 8.
Goalies-Worcester, Buitenhuis 9-12-1-0 (45 shots-42 saves). Maine, LaCouvee 11-9-0-1 (38 shots-36 saves).
Referees-Jeremy Tufts (6).
Linesmen-Nathan Frechette (49), Shane Kanaly (74).