The Worcester Railers took a short trip to Portland, Maine to take on the Mariners in a Thanksgiving Eve battle and despite Ken Appleby’s 39 saves couldn’t hold on to a two-goal lead and surrendered four consecutive goals in a 4-2 loss.
It was another contest where the Railers gave up far too many shots and quality scoring chances while not generating many great opportunities of their own. Once again Appleby made big save after big save, while Maine netminder Jeremy Brodeur, who made 27 stops, wasn’t tested much after the game’s opening twenty minutes.
The first period belonged to the Mariners in terms of territorial advantage, but on the scoreboard it firmly belonged to the Railers as they took a 2-0 lead with two goals 26 seconds apart in the middle of the first period.
The first came at 7:45 after a couple of nice passes from Anthony Repaci and Ross Olsson. Repaci picked up a loose puck on the left-wing side and fired a hard pass to Olsson behind the net near the far post. Olsson pivoted to get an angle and threw the puck back across the goalmouth to Repaci, who had almost all 24-square feet to shoot at.
John Furgele started the play with a flip-in from the left point that hit Maine defenseman J.D. Greenway and bounded toward the half-boards. If the game had been at the DCU Center he probably would have been given an assist.
Drew Callin made it 2-0 Worcester at 8:11 when his hard work forechecking was rewarded with a high-quality scoring chance. Callin was pressuring Mariners defenseman Nate Kallen and forced him into a turnover in the Maine zone. Liam Coughlin grabbed the loose puck and turned it into a mini two on one, and Callin buried Coughlin’s feed in the back of the net.
Those two goals came on the Railers first two shots of the game.
Special teams are a glaring weakness for the Railers so far this season and having the ECHL’s worse penalty kill–a woeful 70% after Wednesday’s game–means they really need to stay out of the penalty box. That was doubly so against Maine, who entered the contest with the best power play in the league at nearly 40%. So it came as no shock that when the Railers gave Maine two powerplay opportunities in the middle frame that the game ended up being 2-2 at the end of the period.
Alex-Olivier Voyer had both of the Mariners powerplay goals in the period, the first coming at 14:02 when he had a backdoor one-timer that Appleby had no chance at, and the second at 15:55 on a booming 40-foot blast. Voyer completed his natural hat trick in the third period with a 10-foot wrist shot after being fed from behind the net at 16:23.
Worcester didn’t manage a shot on goal with an extra attacker, and Eduards Tralmaks put one into the Railers empty net with 39 seconds remaining to seal the win for Maine.
The scratch for the Railers was Carlos Fornaris. Colten Ellis was the backup goaltender.
There was a slew of transactions over the last few days, with Worcester signing former Assumption University defenseman Robbie Roche to a contract in anticipation of several recalls to Bridgeport. Those recalls happened Tuesday morning, with both Collin Adams and Paul Thompson heading to the AHL Islanders. The Railers also removed goaltender Justin Kapelmaster from the suspended list on Tuesday and released him. On Wednesday Worcester released Roche and signed defenseman Dom Procopio and forward Carlos Fornaris.
What was a shock was Springfield recalling forward Nic Pierog on Tuesday and then announcing they released him. Apparently he’d been allowed to look overseas for an opportunity to play and was able to sign with HKM Zvolen in Slovakia. Former Railers forward Nick Saracino is on that squad, as is former IceCats center Marek Viedensky.
There was no road audio on the video stream for the first half of the game, so it was a tad disconcerting to listen to Cam McGuire’s play-by-play call on Nash-Icon that was a few seconds ahead of the video picture. Whatever the technical difficulties were they were fixed in the middle of the second period, unfortunately just in time for Maine’s comeback.
On another audio note, Worcester pro teams have played at the now-named Cross Insurance Arena for a long time, but Wednesday night was the first time this writer noticed that the camera angle in the building is on the opposite side from the radio booth. Perhaps it’s because Cam mentions “left to right on your radio dial”, or vice versa, more than former broadcaster Eric Lindquist did, but it was only last night that I noticed the players were skating opposite of what was said. It didn’t detract from anything, it was only a “has it been like that all along?” kind of moment.
In a feature that returns this week, mostly because this writer forgot about it earlier in the season, goaltender Ken Appleby is last week’s Worcester Railers Fan Page Player of the Week, earning two-thirds of the votes cast. It shouldn’t be much of a shock considering on Tuesday Appleby was named ECHL Goaltender of the Week for Nov. 15-21. Appleby went 2-0-0 with a 1.50 goals-against average and a save percentage of .965 in two appearances last week.
Maine was wearing a new alternate jersey, an awesome-looking green sweater that should have been their normal dark color to begin with.
The three stars of the game were
1. MNE – 18 Alex-Olivier Voyer
2. MNE – 3 Eduards Tralmaks
3. MNE – 26 Nate Kallen
The 210Sports Player of the Game was Ken Appleby.
Even Strength Lines
So, yeah, forgot to write them down. Not that it likely matters as Head Coach Dave Cunniff seems to mix his lines a lot.
Worcester 2 0 0 – 2
Maine 0 2 2 – 4
1st Period-1, Worcester, Repaci 1 (Olsson), 7:45. 2, Worcester, Callin 3 (Coughlin), 8:11. Penalties-No Penalties
2nd Period-3, Maine, Voyer 1 (Tralmaks, Bleackley), 14:02 (PP). 4, Maine, Voyer 2 (Kallen, Tralmaks), 15:55 (PP). Penalties-Greenway Mne (tripping), 7:32; Hayhurst Wor (hooking), 12:51; Christensen Wor (tripping), 14:53.
3rd Period-5, Maine, Voyer 3 (Tralmaks, Master), 16:23. 6, Maine, Tralmaks 4 (Voyer), 19:21 (EN). Penalties-Furgele Wor (slashing), 0:39; Santos Mne (tripping), 8:06.
Shots on Goal-Worcester 11-5-13-29. Maine 15-12-16-43.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 0 / 2; Maine 2 / 3.
Goalies-Worcester, Appleby 3-4-0-1 (42 shots-39 saves). Maine, Brodeur 5-1-1-0 (29 shots-27 saves).
Referees-Logan Gruhl (29).
Linesmen-Ryan Robinson (96), Stephen Drain (52).