The Worcester Railers headed north to Portland, Maine Friday night to take on the Mariners at Cross Insurance Arena in the second of three match-ups in a row between the division rivals, and Maine used a hat trick by Nick Master to take a lead late into the third frame when Worcester mounted a furious comeback that fell about one inch short in a 3-2 loss for the Railers.
While the Worcester offense sputtered for most of the game it was newly signed goaltender Jimmy Poreda that kept the Railers in the game, making several big saves in his ECHL debut. Worcester tends to give up a lot of shots on goal, and Friday was no exception with Poreda needing to make double-digit stops in each period, finishing with 40 for the game.
The Railers allowed a goal in each period to Master, with his first coming at 6:47 of the opening stanza when he was unchecked in front of the Worcester goal and was able to knock the rebound of Poreda’s left pad save off a Brendan St-Louis and knock it into the yawning net.
Master made it 2-0 at 16:01 of the middle period when he took a pass from Westin Michaud and skated deeper into the Worcester zone to the right of Poreda, with Nolan Vesey watching Master skate right by. Master then deked the netminder and had an easy goal.
In the third period, Master earned his hat trick after Railers defenseman Charlie Spetz threw a nice clearing pass right to the stick of Michaud as if the defenseman was aiming for him. In the ensuing play Master was able to beat Poreda at 7:52 as the hats rained onto the ice.
But Worcester wasn’t completely out of it, and Will Cullin’s first pro goal got them on the board at 15:45.
The scoresheet currently lists that goal as using an extra attacker, and while the video is inconclusive neither Railers broadcaster Cam McGuire nor his Maine counterpart Michael Keeley gives a mention of it, so for now we’ll presume it’s an error.
There is no doubt Brent Boeaudoin’s goal came with an extra skater, but there was some doubt if it went in. After a lengthy review by referee Sam Heidemann, it was ruled a good goal. It was originally credited to Ross Olsson.
With time winding down the Railers once again pulled Poreda for the extra attacker, and with 9.9 seconds left in regulation Worcester thought they’d scored, with Olsson throwing his arms in the air just as Mariners defender Marc-Olivier Duquette swept the puck away from the goal line. Referee Heidemann once again went to video review, although this one was far shorter as he took just a few seconds to indicate the puck did not completely cross the goal line.
Scratches for the Railers were Ken Appleby (on Commissioner’s Exempt List), Grant Jozefek (unknown injury), Myles McGurty (upper body).
It was a busy week for transactions, with St Louis reassigning Colten Ellis from the Railers to Springfield and the Thunderbirds re-signing defenseman Nick Albano to a PTO. Springfield also signed Drew Callin to a try-out agreement. On top of all that, goaltender Corbin Kaczperski, who hasn’t played a game for the Railers yet, was signed to a PTO by the Utica Comets. Dave Cunniff once again had to put on his GM cap and sign several players. Defenseman Robert Roche rejoined the team after being a post-training camp cut, and forward Ryan Cloonan was added to the roster. Neither had played a regular-season game this season. Cunniff also signed goaltender Jimmy Poreda from the SPHL’s Knoxville Ice Bears and added journeyman netminder Brian Wilson as an EBUG.
Neither team wore their usual jerseys in the game, with Maine wearing a white Marvel Black Panther jersey and Worcester using the occasion to debut their orange third jerseys. Several fans had asked the Railers about the orange thirds and if they would be worn this season, and the team was uncharacteristically coy about answering that question leaving many to assume they wouldn’t be. There doesn’t appear to be any changes to the jersey since they last wore them in 2019-20.
The three stars of the game were
1. MNE – 10 Nick Master
2. MNE – 11 Westin Michaud
3. MNE – 33 Callum Booth
The 210Sports Player of the Game was Jimmy Poreda.
Even Strength Lines
Vesey / Hayhurst / Olsson
Repaci / Coughlin / Smotherman
Fornaris / Beaudoin / Besinger
Malatesta / Fergele
Spetz / Cullin
Roche / Boudrais
Worcester 0 0 2 – 2
Maine 1 1 1 – 3
1st Period-1, Maine, Master 3 (St-Louis, Michaud), 6:47. Penalties-Fornaris Wor (roughing), 4:22; Santos Mne (roughing), 4:22; Doherty Mne (roughing), 11:52; Vesey Wor (holding), 13:01; Spetz Wor (fighting – major), 14:41; Askew Mne (fighting – major), 14:41; Fornaris Wor (fighting – major), 16:58; Bricknell Mne (fighting – major), 16:58; Smotherman Wor (hooking), 18:21.
2nd Period-2, Maine, Master 4 (Michaud, Santos), 16:01. Penalties-Askew Mne (cross-checking), 2:11; served by Smotherman Wor (bench – too many men), 4:03; Malatesta Wor (roughing, charging), 9:14; Master Mne (cross-checking), 9:14; Hayhurst Wor (cross-checking), 11:33.
3rd Period-3, Maine, Master 5 (Michaud, Cass), 7:52. 4, Worcester, Cullen 1 (Vesey, Coughlin), 15:45. 5, Worcester, Beaudoin 2 (Olsson, Repaci), 18:26. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Worcester 9-12-16-37. Maine 16-14-13-43.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 0 / 2; Maine 0 / 5.
Goalies-Worcester, Poreda 0-1-0-0 (43 shots-40 saves). Maine, Booth 1-1-1-0 (37 shots-35 saves).
Referees-Sam Heidemann (22).
Linesmen-Matthew Hallock (85), Ryan Robinson (96).