The Worcester Railers played the final game of their four-game Canadian swing with a Wednesday night matchup in Trois-Rivieres against the expansion Lions, and behind multi-point nights from five different players and a 47-save performance from Ken Appleby the Railers put the 6-2 game into the win column.
After playing the last three games against one of the best teams in the ECHL and holding their own against the Newfoundland Growlers it was important for the Railers to not take their foot off the gas and play down to their opponents, and from the opening puck drop it was clear the Railers were still playing at full throttle and were taking nothing for granted.
Their hard work paid off quickly as Paul Thompson gave Worcester an early 1-0 lead.
That early goal didn’t cause any slowdown by the Railers, and while the Lions were getting more shots it was Worcester getting the better of their chances. Nearly halfway through the frame, Nic Pierog made it a 2-0 game.
On to the middle stanza the teams went, and just like the opening frame the Railers came out of the gate quickly. Eventually, Drew Callin was rewarded with his second of the season.
At 14:33 of the period, Thompson was hooked from behind on a breakaway bid and referee Marc-Olivier Phaneuf wasted no time pointing at the center dot to award Thompson a penalty shot. It’s a good bet Thompson might want that chance back as he missed badly, but all turned out well as just three seconds later Blake Christensen made it a 4-0 game.
That goal chased Trois-Rivieres netminder Philippe Desrosiers from the game. From that point the Lions picked up their game, and just before the horn to end the period went off Olivier Archambault fired one through traffic and beat Appleby five-hole to make it a 4-1 contest after 40 minutes.
Halfway through the third period Lions forward Cedric Montminy was given a charging major and game misconduct for a hit behind the Worcester net on Myles McGurty, and Felix Bibeau gave his 31 family and friends at the game something to cheer about.
With the game winding down and Mike Cornell in the penalty box, both teams exchanged goals, with Bibeau grabbing his second of the night into an empty net at 18:11 and Justin Ducharme adding a power play goal at 18:57 for the Lions and the 6-2 final.
Bibeau finished the night with three points with his two goals and an assist. Christensen, Pierog, and Thompson all chipped in a goal and an assist, and Karl Boudrias had two helpers and was a team-high +3. The 20 shots Worcester allowed in the third period were the most give up in a road third period in franchise history, and Appleby set the franchise mark for third period saves with 19.
The two teams will now head to the DCU Center for games on Friday and Saturday night.
Scratches for the Railers were Brent Beaudoin (IR/lower-body), Liam Coughlin, John Furgele, Ross Olsson, and Anthony Repaci. Marc-Antoine Gelinas, who was signed as an EBUG this week when Worcester released back-up Matt Jenkins, was the backup goaltender.
Colten Ellis is expected to be loaned to Worcester by the Springfield Thunderbirds for Friday’s game against Trois-Rivieres at the DCU Center. On Tuesday Springfield reassigned Nic Pierog to the Railers, and he was in the lineup Wednesday. Beaudoin was the guest at Monday’s Worcester Railers Booster Club meeting and during the question and answer portion he mentioned what his injury was, which we’ll just call “lower-body”, and he indicated he hoped to be ready to go Friday.
Dave Cunniff put on his General Manager hat this week and made his first trade of the 2021-22 season, sending Tyler Pulsen and JD Dudek to the Allen Americans for future considerations. When Dudek couldn’t make it on the ice for last weekend’s three in three in Newfoundland it didn’t take a soothsayer to predict his days with the team were numbered, and while Poulsen is a decent player there didn’t seem to be a spot for him in the lineup. Allen is having COVID issues presently, so if the trade includes a player as part of the future considerations it may be some time before anyone heads to Worcester.
With Trois-Rivieres being a new team one wouldn’t expect many connections between the two teams, and there aren’t. Trois-Rivieres’ assistant coach is former Worcester IceCats forward Pascal Rheaume. Railers Connor McCarthy, Karl Boudrias, Felix Bibeau, and EBUG Marc-Antoine Gélinas were all born in Quebec.
The three stars of the game were
1. WOR – 35 Ken Appleby
2. WOR – 61 Nic Pierog
3. WOR – 14 Jordan Smotherman
The 210Sports Player of the Game was Blake Christensen.
Even Strength Lines
Once again Head Coach Dave Cunniff mixed his lines, this was the lines early in the first period
Jozefek / Bibeau / Thompson
Christensen / Adams / Pierog
Vesey / Hayhurst / Smotherman
Spetz / Cornell
Boudrias / McCarthy
McGurty / Malatesta
Worcester 2 2 2 – 6
Trois-Rivières 0 1 1 – 2
1st Period-1, Worcester, Thompson 2 (Jozefek, Bibeau), 2:24. 2, Worcester, Pierog 2 (Boudrias), 9:24. Penalties-No Penalties
2nd Period-3, Worcester, Callin 2 (Pierog, Smotherman), 7:58. 4, Worcester, Christensen 3 14:36. 5, Trois-Rivières, Archambault 4 (Beaudoin, Perron-Fontaine), 19:59. Penalties-Brodeur Tr (tripping), 4:14; Pierog Wor (slashing), 9:35; Nellis Tr (boarding), 16:55.
3rd Period-6, Worcester, Bibeau 2 (Boudrias, Christensen), 10:43 (PP). 7, Worcester, Bibeau 3 (Thompson), 18:11 (SH EN). 8, Trois-Rivières, Ducharme 3 (Amorosa, Beaudoin), 18:57 (PP). Penalties-Desruisseaux Tr (holding), 2:47; Callin Wor (hooking), 6:08; Smotherman Wor (roughing), 9:08; Montminy Tr (roughing, charging major, game misconduct – charging), 9:08; Cornell Wor (unsportsmanlike conduct), 17:47; Christensen Wor (elbowing), 19:22.
Shots on Goal-Worcester 7-13-9-29. Trois-Rivières 14-15-20-49.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 1 / 5; Trois-Rivières 1 / 4.
Goalies-Worcester, Appleby 2-3-0-1 (49 shots-47 saves). Trois-Rivières, Desrosiers 2-2-0-0 (18 shots-14 saves); Pagliarulo 0-0-0-0 (10 shots-9 saves).
Referees-Marc-Olivier Phaneuf (23).
Linesmen-Vincent Bigras (95), Marc-Antoine Beaulieu (74).