The Worcester Railers hit the road for the first time this season with a Wednesday night contest against the Trois-Rivieres Lions, and behind two goals from Bobby Butler and 33 saves from Ken Appleby defeated the Lions 6-3 at the Colisée Vidéotron.
Things started off differently for the Railers against Trois-Rivieres than in their two-game set with Adirondack last weekend, with the Lions completely controlling the play and eventually jumping out to a 10-2 shots advantage. And for the first time this season, Worcester allowed the opening goal of the game when Anthony Beauregard took a feed from Olivier Galipeau and blasted it past Railers netminder Ken Appleby for a power-play goal at 8:48.
With the shots piling up for Trois-Rivieres Worcester was looking for anything to swing the momentum. It looked like it might be one of those nights when Collin Adams hit the crossbar, but as play continued, a few moments later Reece Newkirk knotted the score 1-1.
Just 15 seconds later Steve Jandric gave the Railers the lead, with Appleby grabbing his first assist in a Worcester jersey. It was the third time in franchise history they scored two goals in a 15 second span.
It stayed 2-1 into the middle period, where again the Lions had the edge in territorial play. Worcester slowly came to life, and just about the halfway mark of the frame, Bobby Butler made it 3-1.
It’s starting to look like special teams might be something new head coach Jordan Smotherman will want to spend a lot of time on as Worcester’s power play is virtually non-existent and the penalty kill needs almost as much work. Just two minutes after Butler scored the Railers found themselves shorthanded again, and Trois-Rivieres converted for the second time in the game when Colin Bilek finished off some tic-tac-toe passing with a shot over Appleby at 12:04 to make it 3-2.
The Railers did not panic, and at 16:05 Nolan Vesey got their two-goal lead back.
The last thing the Railers wanted to do was come out of the gate flat for the third period in a row, and they didn’t. Two minutes into the final frame Butler grabbed his second of the game to make it 5-2.
Near the midpoint of the period, Trois-Rivieres got themselves another power play, and William Leblanc made it three power-play goals for the Lions at 9:52.
Worcester got a late-period power play on what looked like a very borderline call, and with little choice, Trois-Rivieres pulled their goaltender to keep skating five-on-five. Brent Beaudoin converted on the empty net for what would be the 6-3 final.
Scratches for the Railers were Connor Breen (IR/undisclosed), Zack Bross (IR/undisclosed), Liam Coughlin, Christian Evers, Jacob Hayhurst, Connor McCarthy, and Jack Quinlivan (IR/undisclosed). Henrik Tikkanen was the backup goaltender.
A follow-up from Sunday’s contest, the first involving Adirondack’s lone goal late in the first period where it appeared Noah Corson deflected the puck past Henrik Tikkanen with a high stick. Referee Michael Zyla spoke to both his linesmen and ruled the goal good, and when Railers head coach Jordan Smotherman asked for a review referee Zyla informed him high-sticks are not reviewable in the ECHL. What is reviewable is goaltender interference, and since Corson appears to hit Tikkanen’s trapper as Tikkanen is trying to make a save that could have been reviewed for goaltender interference.
There are very few differences between the ECHL and NHL rulebooks, but one came into play Sunday. With 1:18 left in the third period Adirondak center Colin Long was called for a handpass off a faceoff where no other player on either team touched the puck. In the NHL, that would be a two-minute minor for delay of game, and when the penalty wasn’t called and the faceoff was moved outside the Railers defending zone this writer duly made note of it. As I sometimes do, I asked the Railers postgame if it should have been called, and was told it should have been. In preparing for this little blurb I went to the ECHL rulebook to find the correct rule number to include, and lo and behold, I couldn’t find it. It’s in the NHL, AHL, IIHF, and NCAA rulebook, but unless I completely missed it–something not out of the realm of possibility–it’s not in the ECHL rulebook. I wonder if it was intentionally left out, or perhaps everyone just assumes it’s there. Either way, Referee Zyla got it right by not calling it.
With it being the first time the two teams have met this season we’d usually take a look at some roster connections, but there aren’t any. The closest to there being one was Railers defender Connor McCarthy was born in LaSalle, Quebec. Trois-Rivières and LaSalle look to be about 100 miles apart, which is about as close as we could call that a roster connection.
The three stars of the game were:
1. WOR – 8 Bobby Butler
2. TR – 6 Colin Bilek
3. WOR – 35 Ken Appleby
The 210Sports Player of the Game was Steve Jandric.
Even Strength Lines
Vesey / Beaudoin / Repaci
Adams / Jenkins / Newkirk
Jandric / Ryan / Butler
Christensen / x / Lambert
MacKinnon / Delmas
Brandt / McGurty
Cosgrove / Beaulieu
Worcester 2 2 2 – 6
Trois-Rivières 1 1 1 – 3
1st Period-1, Trois-Rivières, Beauregard 2 (Galipeau, Breton), 8:48 (PP). 2, Worcester, Newkirk 2 (McGurty, Jenkins), 12:05. 3, Worcester, Jandric 3 (Appleby, Butler), 12:20. Penalties-MacKinnon Wor (delay of game), 7:55; Francis Tr (interference on the goalkeeper), 12:39; Vesey Wor (tripping), 15:44.
2nd Period-4, Worcester, Butler 1 (Newkirk, McGurty), 9:55. 5, Trois-Rivières, Bilek 3 (Bureau-Blais, Guay), 12:04 (PP). 6, Worcester, Vesey 1 (Repaci, MacKinnon), 16:05. Penalties-McGurty Wor (cross-checking), 10:23.
3rd Period-7, Worcester, Butler 2 (Jandric), 2:01. 8, Trois-Rivières, Leblanc 3 (Francis, Beauregard), 9:52 (PP). 9, Worcester, Beaudoin 3 (Delmas), 17:28 (PP EN). Penalties-McGurty Wor (tripping), 9:25; Galipeau Tr (interference), 16:24; Phelan Tr (roughing), 17:41; Vesey Wor (roughing), 17:42.
Shots on Goal-Worcester 9-6-9-24. Trois-Rivières 14-9-13-36.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 1 / 2; Trois-Rivières 3 / 4.
Goalies-Worcester, Appleby 2-0-0-0 (36 shots-33 saves). Trois-Rivières, Vrbetic 1-1-0-0 (15 shots-11 saves); Desrosiers 0-1-1-0 (8 shots-7 saves).
Referees-Brendan Schreider (12).
Linesmen-Francis Trempe (85), Jarrett Burton (91).
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