The Worcester Railers went into Saturday’s regular-season finale at the Colisee Videotron in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada knowing they needed at least one point to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, and while they got that point in a 3-2 overtime loss the Maine Mariners then had to lose in regulation to Newfoundland, but Maine won in a shootout to end the Railers season.
It should never have reached that point. After finding themselves in third place in the ECHL’s North Division by a reasonably comfortable margin the Railers went a pitiful 3-7-1 over their final 11 games. They lost five of those games by three or more goals, got shut out in four games, and in another gave up four third-period goals to a non-playoff team.
That’s not exactly playoff hockey.
And that’s also not the only reason Worcester didn’t make the playoffs, because despite all of that they had numerous occasions throughout the season where they should have gotten points in games where they didn’t. That list is long and painful to read, but we’ll have more on that in the coming days.
As for Saturday’s game, Ken Appleby returned from his bench-stint in Montreal with the New York Islanders to get the start, and while Worcester looks to play a little more confidently in front of him they still found themselves down a goal at 11:27 of the first when Anthony Nellis deflected Bradley Johnson’s shot past Appleby.
Arturs Silovs looked unbeatable in the Lions’ goal, and for the first 21 shots, he was. It was Anthony Repaci who finally broke through on shot #22.
Trois-Rivieres retook the lead about eight minutes later when Justi Ducharme took advantage of the Railers running around their own zone to make it 2-1 Lions just over halfway through the contest.
Late into the final period the teams went, and with time winding down on the Railers season head coach Dave Cunniff pulled Appleby for an extra attacker, and it was Bobby Butler that got his team back to even.
Once the game went into overtime Worcester still had a longshot chance at the playoffs, and it was only fitting that the Railers would lose in the extra stanza off a turnover as Nellis blasted a one-timer to hand Worcester a 3-2 defeat.
All eyes then looked toward Maine as a regulation loss by the Mariners would put the Railers in the playoffs, but the Mariners managed to get the game into overtime and eliminate Worcester from the post-season.
Scratches for the Railers were Mitchell Balmas, Grant Jozefek (IR/upper body), Chris Ordoobadi, Austin Osmanski (upper body), and Matt Sredl. Colten Ellis was the backup goaltender.
The three stars of the game were:
1. TR – 14 Anthony Nellis
2. WOR – 35 Ken Appleby
3. TR – 71 Justin Ducharme
The 210Sports Player of the Game was Bobby Butler.
Even Strength Lines
Vesey / Beadoin / Repaci
Jandric / newton / Christensen
Butler / Coughlin / Smotherman
Hayhurst / Price
Spetz / McGurty
Brandt / McCarthy
Worcester 0 1 1 0 – 2
Trois-Rivières 1 1 0 1 – 3
1st Period-1, Trois-Rivières, Nellis 21 (Johnson, D’Aoust), 11:27. Penalties-Brook Tr (interference), 12:13; served by Joannette Tr (bench – too many men), 12:58; Silovs Tr (delay of game), 14:12.
2nd Period-2, Worcester, Repaci 23 (Vesey), 3:06. 3, Trois-Rivières, Ducharme 11 (D’Aoust, Johnson), 11:36. Penalties-Locke Tr (high-sticking), 15:15; Hayhurst Wor (cross-checking), 18:05; Ducharme Tr (helmet violation), 18:44.
3rd Period-4, Worcester, Butler 6 (Repaci, Smotherman), 18:15. Penalties-Locke Tr (tripping), 10:07; McGurty Wor (slashing), 13:46.
1st OT Period-5, Trois-Rivières, Nellis 22 (Montminy), 3:39. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Worcester 18-11-6-3-38. Trois-Rivières 15-11-13-1-40.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 0 / 6; Trois-Rivières 0 / 2.
Goalies-Worcester, Appleby 14-11-1-1 (40 shots-37 saves). Trois-Rivières, Silovs 6-3-1-0 (38 shots-36 saves).
Referees-Riley Yerkovich (7).
Linesmen-Guillaume Brunelle (81), Vincent Bigras (95).
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