Worcester Railers drop preseason tilt in front of energized fans

The Worcester Railers closed out their preseason schedule Saturday night at the Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center and despite the 3-1 loss to the Maine Mariners the packed house that treated the event more like a party than a game left the building with a sense of confidence about the 2021-2022 season after watching a faced paced 60 minutes of hockey.

For the action on the ice, for the second time in as many nights Drew Callin put himself on the scoresheet with a nice play close to the net when he ripped a backhander past Maine netminder Zachary Bouthillier. Zach Malatesta and Karl Boudrias had the assist on the play as the Railers led 1-0 after twenty minutes.

Unfortunately for the loud crowd in attendance that was the only time Worcester would light the lamp and in the second frame Brendan Robbins and Eduards Tralmaks both scored to give the Mariners a 2-1 lead after two periods.

Railers assistant coach Jason Franzone, taking the place of an ailing Dave Cunniff, pulled goaltender Colten Ellis late in the third for an extra attacker but Matthew Santos scored an empty netter to seal the victory for Maine. After Santos scored Railers defenseman Boudrias threw a cheap shot that was penalized, but the scoresheet I saw postgame had the penalty listed as just a minor for boarding so it’s unlikely we’ll hear any more about it. It was still, to be blunt, a brainless play.

Worcester’s even-strength lines
Blake Christensen / Felix Bibeau / Jordan Lavallee-Smotherman
Anthony Repaci / Jacob Hayhurst / Grant Jozefek
Erik Brown / Brent Beaudoin / Drew Callin
Collin Adams / Keean Washkurak / Mathias LaFerriere

Nick Albano / Connor McCarthy
Zach Malatesta / Karl Boudrias
Mike Cornell / Myles McGurty

Those interested in reading more about the game can check out the story on the Railers site. Despite having a media guy at the game the Mariners site has no recap available.

As one might expect from the first game in the city in a long while, for the fans in attendance the preseason game was almost secondary in the party-like atmosphere, taking a back seat to people reconnecting with members of their “hockey family” missed since the Railers last home game 20 months ago.

That didn’t mean the cheers weren’t loud, and they got even louder in the second period when the small handful of Mariners fans started chanting in an attempt to fire up their team. Railers superfan Donna Ahaesy put an end to that, showing she’s already in midseason form leading the “Let’s go Railers!” to silence the visiting fans.

In one of the more humorous events of the night, apparently some fans didn’t get the joke this writer was making with tweets about the jersey Railers mascot Trax was wearing.

There was nothing nefarious going on, as if the number the mascot was wearing really mattered. In the rush to get everything ready for the night’s game, Community Relations Manager Paul “Pablo” Harris grabbed the bag the costume was in but forgot to grab a jersey off the rack, so Trax had to wear what was available at Worcester Ice.

On a final note, season ticket members had an opportunity postgame to shoot to win their tickets for free this season, having to put a puck from the blueline through a small opening in a board covering the net. With the hole being just a smidge larger than the puck the odds of anyone doing it weren’t great, and as one might surmise from the lack of mention on the Railers social media channels, no one did it.

This writer had two attempts, one per seat owned, and missed badly on the first. The second was much better, missing to the left by three or four inches. The final shooter, who shot right after me, was photographer Rich LeBlanc and he was the closest that I saw, missing by under a couple inches.

The two teams meet for real Friday night at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, with the rematch being Saturday at the DCU Center. The puck drop is scheduled for 7:30pm for the Railers home opener, with the doors of the DCU Center opening at 6pm. Currently there is an indoor mask mandate in Worcester, so masks will be required to enter the DCU Center.

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