Several former Worcester hockey pros near the top of their leagues at the end of 2021-22 regular seasons

As we’ve reached the end of the regular season for all the North American pro leagues it’s time to take our final look at how some current and former Worcester pro players did statistically during the 2021-2022 season. For the North American pro leagues, any player in their league’s top-20 gets a mention.

For the European leagues, we’ve changed it to include any player in the top ten as opposed to just the top five. Goaltenders are listed only if they meet their league’s qualifying minimums.

All of the stats and rankings are as of the end of each league’s regular season.

It’s slim pickings for former Worcester players even playing in the NHL, never mind being among the league leaders, but future Hockey Hall of Famer Joe Pavelski keeps trucking at 37 years old with his 12 power-play goals for the Dallas Stars tying him for 19th in the league. The only other former Worcester pro in the NHL with a top-20 stat is San Jose’s Tomas Hertl with three overtime goals, tying him for third.

The Premier Hockey Federation is the top Women’s league in North America, and Mariah Fujimagari becomes the first former Worcester Blades player to make this posting with her five wins for the Connecticut Whale being 5th best in the league. Her 1.40 goals-against average and .938 save percentage would have topped the PHF, but she didn’t play enough games to qualify in those categories.

There are even fewer former Worcester pros playing in the AHL, and only one managed to make this listing as Providence’s Troy Grosenick lead the AHL in goals-against average (2.00) and save percentage (.933). His three shutouts tied for fourth.

In the ECHL, five Worcester Railers make the posting, with captain Jordan Smotherman becoming the first current Worcester pro since Mathieu Darche in the 2006-07 season to finish in the top-ten in goals with his 30 goals placing him ninth in the league. Darche had 35 in the WorSharks inaugural season. Anthony Repaci grabs a couple top-tens of his own with his two overtime goals tying for sixth and his six game-winners tying for tenth. Jacob Hayhurst rounds out the skaters with his three shorthanded goals tying for 11th.

We could technically include Ross Olsson with the Railers because despite ending the season in Orlando all ten of his power-play goals were with Worcester. His ten tied him for sixth in the league.

Both of the Railers’ primary netminders make the listing with Colten Ellis 15 wins tying for 20th and his .905 save percentage putting him in the 18th spot. Ken Appleby‘s .918 save percentage was third in the ECHL, and his 2.88 goals-against average was 14th best.

For the former Worcester pros, short-time WorSharks forward Spencer Asuchak is a perennial list maker and his four mentions are the most for any skater. The Allen Americans captain ranked tenth in the ECHL with nine power-play goals, his five game-winners tied for 17th, and his 27 goals tied for 19th. His 128 penalty minutes were the 15th highest in the league. Three of his Allen teammates make the list, with future ECHL Hall of Famer Chad Costello placing sixth with 72 points and his 46 assists tied for seventh. Jack Combs 41 assists tied for 13th and his 62 points tied for 20th. Goaltender Luke Peressini had 15 wins for Allen, tying him for 10th.

Two other former Worcester pros get two mentions in the ECHL, with Cincinnati’s Lincoln Griffin tying for tenth with six game-winners and tying for 11th with three shorthanded goals, and Indy’s Mitch Gillam tied for 12th with 17 wins and placed 19th with a 3.03 goals-against mention.

Players getting one mention include Tulsa’s Eddie Matsushima who lead the league with three overtime goals; Maine Zach Malatesta has two overtime goals, good for a tie for sixth; Atlanta’s Mike Pelech three shorthanded goals tied for 11th, and Kellen Jones’ 47 assists for Fort Wayne tied for sixth. Evan Buitenhuis had a 2.92 goals against average for Wichita before bolting to Europe, which was 16th in the ECHL.

In the SPHL two goaltenders get four mentions, with Fayetteville’s Jason Pawloski 17 wins and 2.14 goals against average both placing him fifth, and his .924 save percentage ranking sixth. Jimmy Poreda had 14 wins for Knoxville for eighth-best, his .927 save percentage was fifth-best, and his 2.15 goals against average were sixth-best. They both had two shutouts, tying them for ninth.

As we head overseas, Brodie Reid‘s 31 goals were fourth-best in the EIHL, and his 59 points tied for seventh. In the DEL, Trevor Parkes‘ 25 goals tied for fourth and Mike Connolly‘s 34 assists tied for ninth. Rylan Schwartz gets two mentions in DEL2, with his 26 goals tying for eighth and his 59 points tying for tenth. Willie Raskob had 31 assists in Slovakia, tying for sixth, and Harri Sateri had the fifth best goals against average in the KHL at 2.02.

And for the first time in a very long while, a former Worcester Icecats player gets a season-ending mention as Jason Bacashihua had 13 wins in the EIHL, tying for tenth.

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