The Worcester Railers held their annual “School Day” game Wednesday at the DCU Center in a morning contest against the Maine Mariners, and despite losing three one-goal leads and a two-goal third-period advantage managed to come out on top of a 7-6 contest in overtime.
Usually in these early school day games it takes a while for things to get going, but while the defenders seemed a step slower than usual neither squad had many issues getting their offensive legs under them as the opening 20 minutes saw 28 shots on goal and the red light going on six times in the period, with each side scoring three times.
It was the Railers who got on the board first, with Drew Callin ripping a hard wrist shot from the right-wing circle.
That lead would last about three minutes when Maine tied it after Justin Brazeau grabbed a loose puck and entered the Worcester zone, wheeling around Railers’ defenseman Charlie Spetz and beating Worcester netminder Colten Ellis at 6:35.
The tie only lasted 135 seconds as Jordan Smotherman took an Anthony Repaci feed off a rebound to make it 2-1 Worcester.
As was the theme of the period, Maine came right back at 9:57 to tie it 2-2 when Patrick Shea outraced a Repaci backcheck and had an easy tap in from the top of the crease. The Mariners then took their first lead of the game with a five-on-three power play goal at 13:54.
Just as it looked like Worcester would go into the break down a goal Zach Malatesta knotted the score once again.
The second period was all Worcester in the shots on goal column, but on the scoreboard, it was even with one apiece. Worcester’s goal came on a nice net drive by Jacob Hayhurst.
Just seconds after that goal the Railers went to the power play, but this season the Railers special teams have been anything but good, and when Malatesta telegraphed his pass to Repaci at the other point and then flubbed that pass Mariners forward Keltie Jeri-Leon was there to grab it and go on a three-zone breakaway, beating an outstretched Ellis at 14:38 to make it 4-4.
To the third period the teams went and once again Worcester would grab a lead, this time on a lucky bounce, with Drew Callin being the recipient of some good fortune.
Twenty-four seconds later Liam Coughlin made it 6-4, and it looked like the Railers were finally in control as they chased Maine netminder Jeremy Brodeur.
But nothing has come easy for Worcester this season, and 41 seconds later Matt Santos got the Mariners back within one, and then with an extra attacker, Brazeau was able to beat Ellis to tie it 6-6 and send the game to overtime.
In the extra session, Smotherman thought he’d scored and skated to the bench on a line change indicating he wanted it reviewed. Without access to the overhead view it’s not 100% possible to tell, but it certainly looked like the shot rang off the near post and out. In the long run it didn’t matter as Repaci earned his team the extra point off his own rebound.
The two teams will play on Friday in Maine, and then both return to the DCU Center for a Saturday night match-up.
Scratches for the Railers were Ken Appleby (on Commissioner’s Exempt List), Myles McGurty (upper body), and Nolan Vesey (day to day/unknown).
Drew Callin was activated from the Commissioner’s Exempt List Tuesday, and Nick Albano was returned to the Railers by Springfield. Both were in the lineup Wednesday morning, with Callin sporting a lower face shield after taking a puck to the face last week. EBUG Joe Spagnoli was released during the week and goaltender Corbin Kaczperski was signed to a contract, and he was the backup netminder. Kaczperski played three seasons at Yale before playing a graduate season at the Univesity of Denver and was previously playing for the SPHL’s Vermilion County Bobcats.
Liam Coughlin was the runaway winner for last week’s Railers Fans Facebook Group’s Player of the Week. As of puck drop Wednesday, Coughlin had 75% of the votes cast with Zach Malatesta grabbing the other 25%.
The three stars of the game were
1. WOR – 81 Anthony Repaci
2. WOR – 72 Drew Callin
3. WOR – 14 Jordan Smotherman
The 210Sports Player of the Game was Liam Coughlin.
Even Strength Lines
Besinger / Hayhurst / Jozefek
Repaci / Coughlin / Smotherman
Olsson / Beaudoin / Callin
Malatesta / Albano
Bourdais / Fergele
Spetz / Cullin
Maine 3 1 2 0 – 6
Worcester 3 1 2 1 – 7
1st Period-1, Worcester, Callin 4 (Repaci), 3:31. 2, Maine, Brazeau 9 (Doherty), 6:35. 3, Worcester, Smotherman 5 (Coughlin, Repaci), 8:50. 4, Maine, Shea 2 (Kim, Doherty), 9:57. 5, Maine, Kim 1 (Laberge, Santos), 13:54 (PP). 6, Worcester, Malatesta 2 (Callin, Albano), 19:48. Penalties-Malatesta Wor (high-sticking), 13:16; Furgele Wor (delay of game), 13:22.
2nd Period-7, Worcester, Hayhurst 5 (Furgele), 13:58. 8, Maine, Jeri-Leon 3 14:38 (SH). Penalties-Master Mne (hooking), 5:10; Santos Mne (hooking), 14:30.
3rd Period-9, Worcester, Callin 5 4:32. 10, Worcester, Coughlin 5 (Smotherman, Furgele), 4:56. 11, Maine, Santos 5 (Laberge, Doherty), 5:39. 12, Maine, Brazeau 10 (Master, Laberge), 19:17. Penalties-Askew Mne (roughing), 7:42; Olsson Wor (roughing), 7:42.
1st OT Period-13, Worcester, Repaci 4 5:46. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Maine 17-2-9-4-32. Worcester 11-13-20-3-47.
Power Play Opportunities-Maine 1 / 2; Worcester 0 / 2.
Goalies-Maine, Brodeur 5-4-1-1 (30 shots-24 saves); Booth 0-1-1-0 (17 shots-16 saves). Worcester, Ellis 4-3-0-0 (32 shots-26 saves).
Referees-Sam Heidemann (22).
Linesmen-Shane Kanaly (74), Robert Griffin (53).