The Worcester Railers returned from their four-game Canadian trip with lots of momentum from their great play in the Great White North, but once again fell into some old habits Friday night against the Trois-Rivieres Lions and ended up on the wrong end of a 4-1 final.
While on the road Worcester played some hard-nosed hockey, taking it to their opponents while also managing to cut down on the turnovers and mental mistakes that plagued them in the opening games of the season. After a pretty solid opening few minutes of the game, the Railers started to get sloppy, and only managed to escape the first frame tied after Colten Ellis made back-to-back strong saves against Lions forward Olivier Archambault.
At 1:22 of the second period it was a neutral zone turnover by Zach Malatesta that sent Trois-Rivieres into the Worcester zone on a three on one break, and after some tic tac toe passing Pierrick Dube pushed the puck into a yawning net when Malatesta gave up on the play and didn’t skate hard back into his own zone.
The Railers would get that goal back at 6:22 of the frame when Lions netminder Philippe Desrosiers had his only brain cramp of the night.
Trois-Rivieres’ next two goals, which came just twenty seconds apart, should be played on a loop on the Worcester dressing room as it shows what happens when you shoot the puck hard on the net. The first happened at 12:07 when the Lions won a faceoff clean to Mathieu Gagnon. The defenseman didn’t stop and tee the puck up as every Railers blueliner seems to do, Gagnon instead blasted it on net, and he beat Ellis clean to the glove side.
The second was essentially a carbon copy up until it left the stick of eventual goal scorer Mathieu Brodeur. His slapshot went wide of the net, and in an unlucky bounce for the Railers rebounded off the end boards and hit Ellis before rolling in. But the result was the same, a hard one-timer lighting the lamp.
Worcester might also want to play the video of Trois-Rivieres’ third-period power play goal as, once again, it shows what can happen when you blast the puck on the net when Charles-David Beaudoin’s slapshot found the back of the net at 4:38. At posting time the goal is listed as Justin Ducharme’s, who was standing in front of the net–another thing the Railers might want to copy–but it was Beaudoin who lead the team down the bench in celebration.
The two teams play again Saturday night.
Scratches for the Railers were Brent Beaudoin, Liam Coughlin, Ross Olsson, and Anthony Repaci. The Railers released EBUG Marc-Antoine Gelinas before they left Quebec, and in the worst kept secret of all time and one that this writer had already reported on Twitter, the Springfield Thunderbirds assigned netminder Colten Ellis to Worcester. Because of that, Ken Appleby got the night off.
Friday morning defenseman Mike Cornell was recalled by Bridgeport. Also on Friday, Beaudoin was activated off of IR. He had mentioned at the Worcester Railers Booster Club membership meeting on Monday he expected to be ready to go on Friday. Because he was deemed ready to play he had to come off of IR, but the decision was to hold him out of the lineup for at least one more day.
Friday night Railers broadcaster Cam McGuire and I had our usual pregame conversation and were talking about Ken Appleby’s six starts in goal in a row. I told him what the Worcester pro record was, and he was astonished at the number. I double-checked to make sure I was right, and with no reason not to also share it here the record belongs to Reinhard Divis, who started 21 straight games for the IceCats from February 20 through April 6 in 2002. He went 10-10-1 in those games and his goal against was 2.29, which in that era was very good. The Railers’ record is Mitch Gillam’s 13 straight starts in 2018, where he posted an amazing 10-2-1 record to essentially drag Worcester into the playoffs.
The ECHL has spun its “Wheel of Justice” on Trois-Rivieres’ forward Cedric Montminy for his charging major on Worcester defenseman Myles McGurty, and the wheel stopped on “fined and one game”, so Montminy had to sit of Friday night’s rematch. ECHL suspensions are fairly inconsistent, but from this writer’s point of view, they got that one right. McGurty was in the lineup Friday night.
On a slightly humorous note, I was asked if I kept tweeting “Lions” Friday night instead of Trois-Rivieres because I hadn’t used Trois-Rivieres enough to have it be predicted by my phone’s keyboard. My secret is apparently out, yes, that’s the exact reason. That might change on Saturday, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that.
The three stars of the game were
1. TR – 9 Olivier Archambault
2. TR – 30 Philippe Desrosiers
3. WOR – 25 Grant Jozefek
The 210Sports Player of the Game was Grant Jozefek.
Even Strength Lines
Adams / Bibeau / Thompson
Christensen / Pierog / Jozefek
Vesey / Hayhurst / Smotherman
Spetz / McCarthy
Malatesta / McGurty
Boudrias / Furgele
Trois-Rivières 0 3 1 – 4
Worcester 0 1 0 – 1
1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-served by Dubé Tr (bench – too many men), 5:46.
2nd Period-1, Trois-Rivières, Dubé 1 (Abbandonato, Archambault), 1:22. 2, Worcester, Jozefek 1 6:26. 3, Trois-Rivières, Gagnon 1 (Nantel), 12:07. 4, Trois-Rivières, Brodeur 1 (St-Amant, Nantel), 12:27. Penalties-Galipeau Tr (tripping), 2:59; Ducharme Tr (slashing), 13:29.
3rd Period-5, Trois-Rivières, Ducharme 4 (Beaudoin, Archambault), 4:38 (PP). Penalties-McCarthy Wor (tripping), 2:53.
Shots on Goal-Trois-Rivières 9-13-8-30. Worcester 13-7-9-29.
Power Play Opportunities-Trois-Rivières 1 / 1; Worcester 0 / 3.
Goalies-Trois-Rivières, Desrosiers 3-2-0-0 (29 shots-28 saves). Worcester, Ellis 1-2-0-0 (30 shots-26 saves).
Referees-Matt Menniti (10).
Linesmen-Shane Kanaly (74), Evan Reddick (67).