The Worcester Railers headed to Portland Tuesday to take on the Maine Mariners at the Cross Insurance Arena, where they allowed two first period goals and never climbed out of that hole in a 4-1 loss. Michael McNicholas and Marc-Olivier Crevier-Morin had the opening period goals for Maine, while Ryan Culkin’s third period strike made it 3-0.
Drew Callin made it 3-1 with a goal at 6:33 of the third, assisted by Ben Thomson. But that was all the scoring for Worcester, and Dillan Fox added an empty-net goal with five seconds remaining for the 4-1 final.
The two teams will meet again in Portland on Friday night.
FANS DESERVE BETTER
For the post that was going to appear after Saturday night’s loss I had spent several hours post-game — which I left after Reading’s sixth goal — working on a blog story about how bad the New York Islanders and Bridgeport Sound Tigers are in developing goaltenders. About halfway through I realized there was really no reason to bother with it because, in the long run, no one here cares. What Worcester hockey fans care about is their team winning.
For years IceCats fans saw the Blues not really care about how well the IceCats did on the ice, and then we had to endure nine years of San Jose pretending they cared but doing absolutely nothing to make their affiliate here a winning team. Now we have the Islanders and Sound Tigers essentially doing the same by assigning goaltenders to our team that are not sufficiently prepared enough to help this team win.
As fans, we deserve better than that, and if the Islanders and Sound Tigers can’t or won’t promise that next season we will have a veteran goaltender on the roster it’s time to get rid of them and move on to another affiliate. It doesn’t matter they’ve sent some decent forwards and defensemen to us, without a well-established goaltender on the Railers those other players are essentially worthless.
It is not fair to owner Cliff Rucker to have his investment in our community treated like it has been by the Islanders and Sound Tigers. He deserves better than that. And if the Islanders and Sound Tigers can’t do better by him and provide us the players we need to compete for a Kelly Cup, we need to move on from them.
We have the absolute best front office in the ECHL, led by President Mike Myers. Once it became obvious the hockey operations here that the Railers are in charge of weren’t working out he went and got this team an incredible head coach in David Cunniff. But the best head coach in the world can’t help a team if his goaltenders can’t stop the puck.
Cunniff will be rebuilding the Railers roster this summer to match the style of play that he intends to use to create a winning team and eventually being a Kelly Cup championship to Worcester. If the Islanders and Sound Tigers want to be a part of that process they need to guarantee the Railers that they will do everything within their ability to shore up the goaltending position and provide the kind of players Cunniff wants to turn this team into a winner.
And if they can’t or won’t do that, we need to move on from them and find an affiliate that will.
Scratches for the Railers were JD Dudek (14-day IR/upper), Phil Johannson, Ian Milosz, Cody Payne (sick), Tanner Pond (14-day IR/upper), Dylan Sadowy (travel), Kyle Thomas (14-day/lower), and Yanick Turcotte (14-day IR/upper). Jakob Skarek was the back-up goaltender.
The three stars of the game were
1. MNE – 10 Greg Chase
2. MNE – 23 Alex Kile
3. MNE – 40 Connor LaCouvee
The 210Sports Player of the Game is Drew Callin.
Even Strength Lines
Almeida / Callin / Walsh
Thomson / Pierog / Durandeau
Olsson / Salituro / Brauer
Murray / MacKinnon
Stander / Chukarov
McKenzie / Doherty
Worcester 0 0 1 – 1
Maine 2 0 2 – 4
1st Period-1, Maine, McNicholas 7 (Chase, Kile), 3:16. 2, Maine, Crevier-Morin 4 (Kile, Chase), 19:34. Penalties-Matsushima Mne (interference on the goalkeeper), 0:36.
2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Callin Wor (tripping), 7:21; Brauer Wor (holding), 19:19; Pierog Wor (slashing), 19:37; Olsson Wor (slashing, fighting – major), 19:59; Day Mne (unsportsmanlike conduct, fighting – major), 19:59.
3rd Period-3, Maine, Culkin 7 (Chase), 5:25. 4, Worcester, Callin 10 (Thomson), 6:33. 5, Maine, Fox 19 (Kile), 19:55 (EN). Penalties-Tolkinen Mne (holding), 9:45.
Shots on Goal-Worcester 14-8-7-29. Maine 12-9-6-27.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 0 / 2; Maine 0 / 3.
Goalies-Worcester, Buitenhuis 11-16-1-0 (26 shots-23 saves). Maine, LaCouvee 15-9-1-1 (29 shots-28 saves).
Referees-Casey Terreri (14).
Linesmen-Shane Kanaly (74), Robert Griffin (53).