The Worcester Railers played the first of this weekend’s three in three series against the Newfoundland Growlers Friday night at the Conception Bay South Arena, and couldn’t hold on to two one-goal leads in a 3-2 shootout loss on The Rock.
Worcester’s special teams once again played a role as they were unable to convert on four power play chances, including 23 seconds of five on three time where they didn’t generate a shot on goal, and one in overtime where they had just two. In their man-advantage situations Friday night, the Railers managed just four total shots.
Worcester’s power play is ranked #27 in the ECHL at just 13%.
Amazingly enough, that’s still better than their penalty kill, which ranks dead last in the ECHL at a woeful 65%. They killed two out of three penalties last night, which doesn’t sound all that bad until you know that their last shorthanded situation was just four seconds long. The Growlers scored on their first power play shot of the night, and in Newfoundland’s second attempt they were just as inept as Worcester’s power play unit is.
And despite all that, this was a game the Railers probably should have still won.
Things started off well for Worcester, and at least for a few fleeting moments it looked like they’d taken a 1-0 lead with about seven minutes gone in the opening period when Paul Thompson banged home a loose puck after a wild goalmouth scramble. Referee Morgan MacPhee never signaled goal as linesman Brian Lambert quickly skated in and indicated the net was off its pegs. It was pretty clear from the video being shown that was the case, and the whistle should have blown long before the puck was knocked in.
But just seconds later Thompson made sure his next shot counted.
It didn’t take too long for the Growlers to even things up, and at 12:20 of the period Newfoundland scored when once again Worcester turned the puck over deep in their own zone. Veteran Mike Cornell had the puck stolen from him by Marcus Power, who quickly fed the puck out front for a two on none against Railers netminder Ken Appleby. Zach O’Brien continued the puck along to Nathan Noel, who then made it 1-1.
The goal didn’t take much wind out of Worcester’s sails, and late in the period Jacob Hayhurst gave the Railers their lead back.
Neither team scored on the second period, and despite the scoresheet showing Worcester was outshot 11-4 it was one of the better middle frames for the team as they didn’t allow any decent chances and played pretty solid hockey while at even strength.
The Growlers would even the score a second time at 2:11 of the third on the power play when Orrin Centazzo fired a hard wrist shot from 40-feet through traffic and past Appleby.
It remained tied through regulation and into overtime, where Appleby kept Worcester’s hopes alive with a nice breakaway save when Anthony Repaci stayed out on the ice too long and got caught too deep in the Newfoundland zone, and could offer no resistance on Noel’s four-zone breakaway.
To the shootout the teams went, where Blake Christensen converted on the first attempt but the next three Railers were stopped. O’Brien and Power scored for the Growlers, giving them the extra point and a 3-2 win.
Scratches for the Railers were Brent Beaudoin (IR/unknown), Karl Boudrias, Liam Coughlin, JD Dudek, Ross Olsson, and Tyler Poulsen. Matt Jenkins, the Carleton University goaltender coach, was signed as an EBUG after the Railers suspended Justin Kapelmaster for leaving the team. Jenkins, who wore #31 on the bench, also plays for the North Dundas Sr Rockets in the Eastern Ontario Senior Hockey League where he ranks fifth in the league with a 3.23 GAA and eighth in save percentage at .894. His five wins tie for the best in the EOSHL.
On Monday the ECHL suspended Florida forward Michael Neville for one game and fined him an undisclosed amount for a match penalty called against him in Sunday’s game against the Railers. Neville was penalized and ejected from the game for a check to the head of Tyler Poulsen, who was dazed by the hit but was able to continue playing in the game. That usually means a player won’t have the book thrown at him, so the single game for Neville wasn’t that unexpected.
With this being the first meeting of the season between the clubs we’ll take a look at some possible connections between the squads, and there aren’t any. We will mention that Growlers forward Ty Pelton-Byce spent two seasons at Harvard before transferring to Wisconsin, and Brendan Soucie (South Dennis) and Keith Petruzzelli (Wilbraham) were both born in Massachusetts.
The three stars of the game were
1. NFL – 9 Marcus Power
2. WOR – 16 Jacob Hayhurst
3. NFL – 10 Zach O’Brien
The 210Sports Player of the Game was Paul Thompson.
Even Strength Lines
Vesey / Hayhurst / Jozefek
Christensen / Bibeau / Smotherman
Repaci / Adams / Thompson
Worcester 2 0 0 0 – 2
Newfoundland 1 0 1 0 – 3
1st Period-1, Worcester, Thompson 1 (Hayhurst, Jozefek), 7:15. 2, Newfoundland, Noel 1 (O’Brien, Power), 12:20. 3, Worcester, Hayhurst 2 (Spetz, Callin), 18:35. Penalties-No Penalties
2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-McCourt Nfl (interference), 1:06; Kapcheck Nfl (roughing), 2:43; Bibeau Wor (slashing), 14:19; Noel Nfl (slashing), 14:19.
3rd Period-4, Newfoundland, Centazzo 2 (O’Brien, Kapcheck), 2:11 (PP). Penalties-Christensen Wor (hooking), 1:29; Thompson Wor (delay of game), 10:34; Bourque Nfl (delay of game), 15:31.
1st OT Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Christensen Wor (roughing), 4:24; Noel Nfl (roughing), 4:24; Kapcheck Nfl (holding), 4:56; Hayhurst Wor (slashing), 6:49.
Shootout – Worcester 1 (Christensen G, Hayhurst NG, Thompson NG, Vesey NG), Newfoundland 2 (O’Brien G, McCourt NG, Centazzo NG, Power G).
Shots on Goal-Worcester 12-4-11-4-0-31. Newfoundland 10-11-8-2-1-32.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 0 / 4; Newfoundland 1 / 3.
Goalies-Worcester, Appleby 0-2-0-1 (31 shots-29 saves). Newfoundland, Cormier 3-1-0-0 (31 shots-29 saves).
Referees-Morgan MacPhee (15).
Linesmen-Mark Day (93), Brian Lambert (57).
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