Railers winning streak hits eight with 5-2 win over Norfolk

The Worcester Railers hosted the Norfolk Admirals Sunday afternoon in the second of three contests in a row between the two clubs at the DCU Center, and Worcester jumped out to a commanding 5-0 lead before Norfolk scored two stat-killer goals late in the third period in the Railers 5-2 win.

That makes eight victories in a row to start the season, tying the ECHL record set by the Dayton Bombers in 1994-95 and the Trenton Titans in 2001-02. The eight wins in a row also tie the Worcester city record, set by the WorSharks in January of 2015.

In what has become a nice trend, once again the Railers came out of the gates quickly and scored the opening goal of the game when Norfolk netminder Tomas Vomacka mishandled Quinn Ryan’s shot and the puck rolled about an inch over the goal line.

About six minutes later Brent Beaudoin made it 2-0 when he buried a nice feed from Jimmy Lambert.

It was all Worcester in the second period, and they grabbed goal number three on the power play on an “excuse me” kind of goal, with goaltender Ken Appleby grabbing his second assist of the season on the play.

Five minutes later it was 4-0 when Bobby Butler stole a clearing attempt and flipped it forward to Jimmy Lambert.

With time winding down in the second stanza Jacob Hayhurst unleashed an absolute laser that beat Vomacka high over the left shoulder and just under the crossbar.

All that was left was to see if Appleby and the Railers could hold on for the shutout, but a bad bounce goal by Aidan Brown at 18:35 of the third dashed those hopes. Cody Milan then scored with three seconds on the clock for the 5-2 final.

The two teams have Monday off and play again Tuesday morning at 10am in Worcester’s annual school day game.

Scratches for the Railers were Connor Breen (IR/undisclosed), Zack Bross (IR/undisclosed), Lian Coughlin, Noah Delmas, Steve Jandric, Jack Quinlivan (IR/undisclosed), and Myles McGurty. Henrik Tikkanen was the backup goaltender. McGurty was a late scratch as he was listed on the Railers line-up sheet and Jared Brandt was not on the sheet. No word on what happened as even broadcaster Tim Foley was unaware of the switch until the game had already started.

In the middle of the first period, Collin Adams took a stick up high and slowly skated to the bench. After being tended to by trainer Alex Maring he went to the dressing room, returning to the bench to start the season period wearing a full face shield. In the second period Blake Christensen, who was returning to the lineup after missing four games with a lower-body injury, took a puck in the side of the neck. He too went to the bench and was treated in the tunnel by Maring, and may have missed a shift but returned to action soon after.

It was a color-on-color match-up as the Railers went back to their orange fifth-anniversary jerseys while Norfolk wore their usual navy blue road sweaters. This writer originally tweeted the Admirals’ jerseys were black, but perch-mate Ronnie Kiefer quickly corrected me. Neither one of us was actually looking at their jerseys at the time, but since I think he owns one I gave him the benefit of the doubt. In the end, he was, of course, right.

In an oddity, Bill Ballou mentioned before the game that the linesmen were not local. Philippe Pilon and Maxime Bedard are both from Montreal and worked the game in Maine Saturday night. It’s very unusual for the ECHL to do this, with linesmen usually being local college referees. Stay tuned to more about this, likely from Ballou as he digs into why those officials were in Maine and Worcester.

The problems with the ice the two teams had Saturday night seemed to be far lesser on Sunday, although the DCU Center was noticeably colder and the ice was much harder, with lots of snow being kicked around. The game was stopped early for a few moments for an issue near the Zamboni doors, and just before the second period there was a small repair made by the Railers bench. But all in all it seemed not to be as big an issue as on Saturday.

Upon further review, the 17 shots the Railers allowed Saturday night is a new franchise record low. The two shots allowed in the third period tied the team mark in that frame. They also allowed just two third-period shots at home against Newfoundland on February 9, 2020, and against Trois-Rivières on April 9, 2022. The first time they held an opponent to two third-period shots was in Reading on January 7, 2018. The franchise record for any period is one, holding Wheeling to a single second-period shot on February 9, 2019, and Maine to one shot in the first period on December 11, 2021. Both of those games were at the DCU Center.

The three stars of the game were:
1. WOR – 35 Ken Appleby
2. WOR – 23 Jimmy Lambert
3. WOR – 21 Collin Adams

The 210Sports Player of the Game was Ryan MacKinnon.

Even Strength Lines
Vesey / Beaudoin / Repaci
Hayhurst / Lambert / Butler
Adams / Jenkins / Newkirk
Ryan / x / Christensen

MacKinnon / Evers
Brandt / McCarthy
Cosgrove / Beaulieu

Our affiliates last night
Providence 1, Bridgeport 0

In the ECHL’s North Divison
No games scheduled

Norfolk 0 0 2 – 2
Worcester 2 3 0 – 5

1st Period-1, Worcester, Ryan 1 (Adams), 2:31. 2, Worcester, Beaudoin 5 (Lambert, Vesey), 8:25. Penalties-Smith Nor (slashing), 4:53; Brown Nor (roughing), 15:02.

2nd Period-3, Worcester, Adams 5 (Repaci, Appleby), 7:05 (PP). 4, Worcester, Lambert 2 (Butler), 12:38. 5, Worcester, Hayhurst 2 (MacKinnon), 19:47. Penalties-Hayhurst Wor (tripping), 2:27; Burgess Nor (slashing), 5:29; MacDougall Nor (hooking), 19:07; Cosgrove Wor (holding the stick), 19:07.

3rd Period-6, Norfolk, Brown 3 (Widmar), 18:35. 7, Norfolk, Milan 1 (Musser, Hausinger), 19:57. Penalties-Adams Wor (tripping), 8:51.

Shots on Goal-Norfolk 15-9-13-37. Worcester 13-15-10-38.
Power Play Opportunities-Norfolk 0 / 2; Worcester 1 / 3.
Goalies-Norfolk, Vomacka 0-3-0-0 (38 shots-33 saves). Worcester, Appleby 5-0-0-0 (37 shots-35 saves).
Referees-Sam Heidemann (22).
Linesmen-Philippe Pilon (68), Maxime Bedard (65).

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