The Worcester Railers took on the Adirondack Thunder in an early matinee match-up Sunday at the DCU Center, where once again the teams headed to the third period tied and for the second time in 18 hours Worcester owned the final twenty minutes on the pink ice to win 4-2 to sweep the weekend series.
Early in the season Worcester’s special teams were, to be kind, not so special. Recently their power play has improved so much that they began Sunday’s game 11th in the ECHL at 19.7%, and their penalty kill, while still near the bottom of the league, has gotten statistically better. They killed seven of eight penalties in the game and scored twice in five chances, so each of those numbers only gets better.
It was a power play goal by Anthony Repaci that got Worcester on the board first.
We don’t usually show the visitor’s goals, but Robbie Payne’s laser was an NHL-quality shot, and worthy of inclusion.
It stayed 1-1 into the third period, where the Railers would put up two quick goals to take control of the game. The first came on the power play by Ross Olsson. It was his ninth power play goal of the season, setting a new Railers franchise mark.
Thirty-three seconds later Jacob Hayhurst made it 3-1.
Tyler Irvine would make things interesting with a power play goal at 14:20 to cut Worcester’s lead to 3-2, but for the second time in as many nights Nolan Vesey would find the empty net to seal a 4-2 victory. Vesey is the first Railers player to record empty-net goals in consecutive games.
Scratches for the Railers were Bobby Butler (IR/unknown), Will Cullen, John Furgele (IR/unknown), Grant Jozefek (IR/upper body), Reece Newkirk, Chris Ordoobadi, and Ethan Price. Jimmy Poreda was the backup goaltender.
Adirondack forward Sebastian Vidmar avoided supplementary discipline for his second period checking the head penalty against Ross Olsson on Saturday night. That was probably the right call. It looked accidental, with Olsson’s slipping being the reason Vidmar hit Olsson’s head trying to block out the Railers forward from the puck.
There was one play that was reviewed in the game, or maybe more correctly, would have been reviewed had the equipment been working correctly. Adirondack’s Shane Harper put the puck into the Railers net after the horn to end the first period had sounded, and for some reason, referee Brett Roeland granted the Thunder’s request to look at it. Only he couldn’t because the equipment wasn’t functioning. Adirondack complained about it, but the call on the ice was no goal, and the call stood. This writer checked the video from FloHockey and Harper still has the puck on his stick when the horn sounded, so it wasn’t even close to a goal.
Railers Booster Club president Rich Lundin, who sits next to this writer, noted this afternoon that there isn’t a player on Worcester who passes the puck to himself more than Anthony Rapaci does. Repaci’s quickness allows him to bank the puck off the boards or push it deeper into the offensive zone and chase after it, almost always regaining control in a better situation. He probably does it a half-dozen or more times a game, and it’s not an easy thing to do unless you’ve done it for a long time.
Lundin also mentioned that today’s 50/50 raffle winner, who chose to remain anonymous, donated their share of the pot back to the Booster Club’s charity. That money, along with all the charitable money the Booster Club raises, goes toward things like donating toys and school supplies to Friendly House and making cash donations to many local charities. If you’re a Massachusetts resident and want to take part in the Booster Club’s 50/50 raffle, check out this page on game days, and during weekends where there are no homes games, there’s one raffle for the whole weekend.
The three stars of the game were
1. WOR – 23 Ross Olsson
2. WOR – 92 Colten Ellis
3. ADK – 29 Robbie Payne
The 210Sports Player of the Game was Anthony Repaci.
Even Strength Lines
Vesey / Beaudoin / Repaci
Christensen / Bibeau / Coskey
Coughlin / Hayhurst / Smotherman
Osmanski / Albano
Spetz / Sredl
McCarthy / McGurty
Adirondack 1 1 0 – 2
Worcester 2 0 2 – 4
1st Period-1, Worcester, McCarthy 1 (Vesey, Repaci), 3:25. 2, Worcester, Smotherman 18 (Hayhurst, Cullen), 7:06. 3, Adirondack, Rivera 6 (Irvine, Harper), 11:26 (PP). Penalties-Newkirk Wor (cross-checking), 11:19; Spetz Wor (interference), 16:30.
2nd Period-4, Adirondack, Rivera 7 (Ryczek), 15:30. Penalties-Vidmar Adk (illegal check to the head), 7:22; Masonius Adk (high-sticking), 9:36.
3rd Period-5, Worcester, Smotherman 19 (Hayhurst, Repaci), 10:48 (PP). 6, Worcester, Vesey 7 (McCarthy, Coughlin), 18:49 (EN). Penalties-Ryczek Adk (hooking), 9:06.
Shots on Goal-Adirondack 16-10-5-31. Worcester 10-9-12-31.
Power Play Opportunities-Adirondack 1 / 2; Worcester 1 / 3.
Goalies-Adirondack, Kasel 3-6-1-0 (30 shots-27 saves). Worcester, Ellis 8-3-2-0 (31 shots-29 saves).
Referees-Brett Roeland (10).
Linesmen-Robert Griffin (53), Shane Kanaly (74).