Railers once again silence the Thunder with 4-2 win

The Worcester Railers continued on their three game road trip Saturday night with the first of two this weekend against the Adirondack Thunder at the Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls, NY, and once again lost a multi-goal lead only to come storming back and put the game in the win column with a 4-2 victory to spoil the Thunder’s home opener.

Oftentimes over Worcester’s hockey history when the team wasn’t very good, and unfortunately there were a lot of those times, we’d hear the play-by-play announcer almost happily exclaim “at least we’re outshooting them” as if that really was something positive. Through four games this season the Railers have been outshot in three of them, and despite that Worcester hasn’t been outscored in any of the 12 periods they’ve played and have tied the city pro record for most wins to start a season with four.

As a late friend of Worcester hockey would often say, “it’s not how many, it’s when”.

“When” has been early for most of the season, and it was again Saturday night when Ryan MacKinnon ripped one home off a faceoff to make it 1-0.

And as the Railers have done a lot already this campaign, “when” also means pretty quickly after another goal, and it happened again when Collin Adams beat Adirondack goaltender Isaac Poulter high to the stick side just 40-seconds later.

But they say an early two-goal lead is the worst in hockey, and Worcester proved that true again as Patrick Grasso and Jarrod Gourley connected 23-seconds apart for the Thunder to make it 2-2 ten minutes into the opening frame.

It stayed that way for almost a full twenty minutes when Bobby Butler’s NHL-level talent bubbled up on a great pass to Blade Jenkins all alone at the far post.

At 13:18 Brent Beaudoin improved his goal-scoring streak to four games when his bad-angle shot beat Poulter just under the crossbar. The play started with a nice keep-in by Noah Delmas at the left point. Thunder defenseman Ryan Da Silva had a chance to corral the puck but Beaudoin was able to steal it and head toward the net. His mini two-on-one with Nolan Vesey was foiled, but Vesey continued past the net to grab the loose puck. He passed behind the net to a wide-open Beaudoin at the goal line, and as Poulter was sliding over to the far post Beaudin went high to light the lamp.

From there it was on netminder Henrik Tikkanen, who was once again outstanding making 38 saves. Adirondack’s Noah Corson, in what might be the biggest brain-cramp moment so far this season, tried to use his 6-foot frame to intimidate the 6-foot-8-inch Tikkanen.

The rookie goaltender from Finland was having none of that and stood up for himself, shoving Corson with a significant amount of force. Corson, who was brushed by Tikkanen’s stick during the exchange, acted like he was stabbed in the face trying to draw a penalty. Referee Dominic Cadieux did not fall for the poor acting job. As Corson skated away Tikkanen could be seen making the “I’m right here” motion, but Corson chose to skate to the bench.

The two teams will faceoff again in Adirondack Sunday afternoon at 3pm.

Scratches for the Railers were Blake Christensen, Connor Breen (IR/undisclosed), Zack Bross (IR/undisclosed), Myles McGurty, and Jack Quinlivan (IR/undisclosed). Ken Appleby was the backup goaltender. Christensen took a big hit in Trois-Rivières, and while there was no official word it wouldn’t be out of line to say he’s probably “banged up”. Both Worcester and Adirondack went with ten forwards and seven defenders.

A week into the season and Worcester has already had two players recalled to the AHL, with Jacob Hayhurst summoned to Springfield on Thursday and Anthony Repaci heading to the Thunderbirds on Friday. The recalls are a tad perplexing because as of Saturday morning Springfield had 16 forwards on the roster, and neither Hayhurst nor Rapaci were in the Thunderbirds lineup Friday night. Repaci did play on Saturday against Providence, not denting the scoresheet. For those worried that Springfield will loan the pair to another ECHL team, they can’t do that without the Railers receiving compensation from the team the Thunderbirds want to loan them to. And based on how that worked out last season, you can bet general manager Jordan Smotherman will want a top-quality player in return for each of them.

In other transaction news involving Springfield, goaltender Colten Ellis, who spent last season with the Railers, was loaned to the Tulsa Oilers. With the Islanders supplying both netminders this season the St Louis Blues were forced to find a home for Ellis, and one would suspect their handshake deal with Worcester included them trying to avoid loaning players to a divisional opponent.

There were 15 icings in the game, eight in the first period alone. This writer mentions it only because he was keeping track of them after there were seven icings in the game’s first eight minutes. Despite that, the game time was two hours, 24-minutes, which is about normal.

It was the first time in franchise history the Railers played in a regular season game with two referees, and in a bit of an oddity, one of the refs played for Worcester during his pro hockey career. Riley Brace, who became an on-ice official after retiring at the end of last season, played 38 games with WorSharks over parts of three seasons, going 4-8-12 with a minus-three rating and racking up 35 penalty minutes. The game itself saw just three minors assessed, and at least on video seemed like a well-called game.

I’ve been asked about this, and it seems that unlike past seasons this year the highlights and interviews are only broadcast on 98.9 Nash Icon and not also played on FloHockey. It could be an error, it could be intentional, I don’t know. But it will be added to the list of things to find out when the team returns to the DCU center on Wednesday.

The three stars of the game were:
1. WOR – 39 Henrik Tikkanen
2. WOR – 10 Ryan MacKinnon
3. ADK – 60 Jarrod Gourley

The 210Sports Player of the Game was Blade Jenkins.

Even Strength Lines
Vesey / Beaudoin / Lambert
Adams / Jenkins / Newkirk
Jandric / Coughlin / Butler

MacKinnon / Delmas
Brandt / Evers
Cosgrove / Beaulieu

Our affiliates last night
NY Islanders 5, Colorado 4
Montreal 7, St. Louis 4
Bridgeport 6, Lehigh Valley 3
Providence 4, Springfield 3 (SO)

In the ECHL’s North Divison
Indy 3, Reading 1
Maine 6, Norfolk 1
Newfoundland 3, Trois-Rivieres 1

Worcester 2 2 0 – 4
Adirondack 2 0 0 – 2

1st Period-1, Worcester, MacKinnon 1 (Coughlin), 4:37. 2, Worcester, Adams 2 (Delmas, Brandt), 5:17. 3, Adirondack, Grasso 1 (Gourley, Rivera), 9:37. 4, Adirondack, Gourley 1 (Harper, Vidmar), 10:00. Penalties-Jerry Adk (high-sticking), 18:31.

2nd Period-5, Worcester, Jenkins 3 (Butler, Beaulieu), 10:18. 6, Worcester, Beaudoin 4 (Vesey), 13:18. Penalties-Adams Wor (tripping), 18:16.

3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Chukarov Adk (hooking), 3:57.

Shots on Goal-Worcester 6-8-10-24. Adirondack 12-14-12-38.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 0 / 2; Adirondack 0 / 1.
Goalies-Worcester, Tikkanen 2-0-0-0 (38 shots-36 saves). Adirondack, Poulter 0-2-0-0 (24 shots-20 saves).
Referees-Dominic Cadieux (3), Riley Brace (4).
Linesmen-Trevor Waite (73), Matthew Heinen (93).

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