Railers stumble in road trip opener, lose 6-3 in Reading

The Worcester Railers began a five game in six night road stretch Tuesday night against the Reading Royals at Santander Arena, and couldn’t hold on to two one goal leads before completely collapsing in the third period to lose 6-3.

The game looked like one of those early-season contests where the Railers would do something right and not score and quickly follow it by doing something wrong where the puck would end up in their net. This was one of those games where they had a good chance of winning and then ended up getting blown out.

It was the Railers getting on the board first with a power play strike at 9:39 when Steve Jandric tipped a Cole Coskey shot past Reading netminder Hayden Hawkey for his first professional goal.

Just when it looked like the Railers would enter intermission with the 1-0 lead the Royals tied it on a goal by Garret Cockerill. It’s not possible to describe what happened because the video production in Reading is the worst in the ECHL, and they somehow missed showing the goal.

It was Reading that would grab the first goal of the middle stanza when the Worcester defense all moved toward Brad Morrison and left Patrick Bajkov all alone in front. Railers goaltender Ken Appleby didn’t have a chance on the bid.

It only took 32 seconds for Worcester to tie it, this time it was Max Newton grabbing his first as a pro.

The Railers were in penalty trouble all period, having to kill four consecutive minors. On the fourth kill, Jacon Hayhurst connected for his third shorthanded goal of the season.

But once again Worcester couldn’t close out a period with the lead as Trevor Gooch banged home a rebound at 18:57 to send the teams to the second intermission tied 3-3.

The third period was just ugly as Worcester showed no signs of life at all, and less than eight minutes into the frame they were down 5-3. After pulling Appleby for an extra attacker it looked like the Railers were just going through the motions, and Gooch hit the empty net for the hat trick and the 6-3 final score.

Scratches for the Railers were Felix Bibeau (IR/lower body), Bobby Butler, Blake Christensen, Liam Coughlin (IR/unknown), Grant Jozefek (IR/upper body), Reece Newkirk, Ross Olsson, Chris Ordoobadi (IR/unknown). Colten Ellis was the backup goaltender.

Once again catching with transactions, prior to Sunday’s game against Newfoundland Worcester signed forwards Steven Jandric (ATO) and Max Newton (SPC). Both played for Merrimack College and each earned an assist on Reece Newkirk’s third-period goal. To made room for them on the roster, the Railers moved Bibeau to the injured reserve list and Springfield recalled defenseman Austin Osmanski.

For the fourth time this season the Worcester pro hockey record for worst single-game plus/minus was tied as Mitchell Balmas went minus-5 in the contest. He’s the 8th player to reach that mark. Jacob Hayhurst, Drew Callin, and Nick Albano have all been minus-5 in a game this season.

In case you’re one of the few that didn’t hear, Sunday’s game saw a puck flying through the perch Railers Booster Club President Rich Lundin and I sit at. I got just a quick touch on the puck as if flew by, but it was enough for it to be just the second time in 25-ish years of Worcester pro hockey for me to be hit by the puck. Lundin, whose eyesight is a lot better than mine, had a bead on it the entire way but didn’t have better luck in catching it as it hit about three rows behind us. It should be noted that Railers Booster Club Vice-President Nick Frank also had an opportunity for the puck, but also failed to capture it as it went by.

The three stars of the game were:
1. REA – 7 Trevor Gooch
2. REA – 15 Patrick Bajkov
3. REA – 2 Brad Morrison

The 210Sports Player of the Game was Steve Jandric.

Even Strength Lines
Vesey / Beaudoin / Coskey
Jandric / Newton / Smotherman
Balmas / Hayhurst / Repaci

McCarthy / McGurty
Spetz / Sredl
Verrier / Markell

In the North Division
No other action

Our affiliates last night
St Louis 5, Washington 2
NY Islanders 3, Ottawa 0

Worcester 1 2 0 – 3
Reading 1 2 3 – 6

1st Period-1, Worcester, Jandric 1 (Coskey, Markell), 9:39 (PP). 2, Reading, Cockerill 4 19:33. Penalties-Cockerill Rea (interference), 7:52; Ebbing Rea (closing hand on puck), 15:09.

2nd Period-3, Reading, Bajkov 21 (Morrison, Gooch), 10:44. 4, Worcester, Newton 1 (Smotherman), 11:16. 5, Worcester, Hayhurst 14 15:55 (SH). 6, Reading, Gooch 26 (Bajkov, Brandt), 18:57. Penalties-Smotherman Wor (holding), 2:17; Vesey Wor (holding), 4:46; Repaci Wor (slashing), 6:35; Newton Wor (high-sticking), 15:21.

3rd Period-7, Reading, Ebbing 23 (Pritchard, Hausinger), 6:47. 8, Reading, Gooch 27 (Morrison, Millman), 7:46. 9, Reading, Gooch 28 19:18 (EN). Penalties-McGurty Wor (tripping), 3:24.

Shots on Goal-Worcester 7-12-6-25. Reading 9-16-8-33.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 1 / 2; Reading 0 / 5.
Goalies-Worcester, Appleby 10-10-0-1 (32 shots-27 saves). Reading, Hawkey 9-3-1-0 (25 shots-22 saves).
Referees-Robert Hennessey (39).
Linesmen-Judson Ritter (70), Nicholas Gutekunst (79).

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