Railers back to winning way after 3-2 shootout win over Thunder

GLENS FALLS, NY — The Worcester Railers took on the Adirondack Thunder Saturday night at the Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls, New York, and despite losing two one-goal leads ended up getting the two points with a 3-2 shootout win over the Thunder. Quinn Ryan led the way for Worcester with a goal and an assist while Henrik Tikkanen stopped 32 of 34 Adirondack shots, including a Railers franchise-record seven in overtime.

It was the second game in a row that Worcester was wearing their white jerseys, and for the second time it was Ryan scoring the opening goal for the Railers. Ryan came into the game with both of his goals being of the highlight variety, and his third of the season was much of the same when he picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and skated in two-on-one with Liam Coughlin. With the lone defender taking to the ice to block the pass Ryan ripped a wrist shot over the glove of Thunder netminder Jake Theut for a shorthanded goal at 4:53 of the opening period.

It stayed 1-0 into the third frame when former Railers forward Grant Jozefek scored his second in as many games when his backhander from a wide angle hit the inside of Worcester goaltender Henrik Tikkanen’s leg and bounced into the net at 4:07.

That 1-1 tie didn’t last long as Reece Newkirk gave his team the 2-1 lead when Ryan wheeled the net and tried to jam one past Theut. The puck went right to Newkirk, who flipped a weak backhander into the yawning net. Newkirk took a glancing high hit on the shot and decided he’d had enough, dropping the gloves and pounding on Xavier Parent. Somehow Newkirk was the only one sent to the box, but the Thunder gained nothing with the power play.

Adirondack then threw everything they had at the Railers, and the Worcester defense was up to the challenge limiting the Thunder scoring bids to outside unscreened shots. But bad things tend to happen when you’re playing rope-a-dope hockey for too long, and it was true on Saturday night when Sebastian Vidmar found Shane Harper out front of the Worcester net. The puck got to Harper just as Myles McGurty’s stick broke, and that was the small opening the veteran needed to tie the game.

The Railers were outshot 7-4 in the overtime period and were outplayed by a significant margin as the Worcester forwards spent too much time trying to make a fancy play as opposed to playing puck possession to gain an advantage. When seven minutes of three on three wasn’t enough to settle things it was on to the shootout.

The Thunder shot first, with Harper missing off to Tikkanen’s right. Blake Christensen was Worcester’s first shooter, and he deked Thuet and had all 24-square feet to shoot at. Vladislav Mikhalchuk then scored for Adirondack. Bobby Butler was the Railers’ next shooter, and his attempt to go five-hole on Thuet looked to have failed, but somehow the puck managed to make it through the pads and just inched over the goal line. Parent needed to score for Adirondack to keep the shootout going, but Tikkanen’s blocker/pad save kept the puck out and gave Worcester the bonus point.

Scratches for the Railers were Connor Breen (IR/undisclosed), Blade Jenkins, Jack Quinlivan (IR/undisclosed), Anthony Repaci, and Nolan Vesey. Ken Appleby was the backup goaltender. Zack Bross made his pro debut Saturday after being activated from the injured reserve list, skating on the fourth line and registering a shot on goal.

Quinn Ryan is the only Railers player currently on a points streak, hitting the scoresheet in his last four games (3 goals and two assists). Several Worcester players have streaks of being even or better, with the recalled Ryan MacKinnon leading the pack at eight in a row. Blake Christensen follows with six, Bobby Butler and Jimmy Lambert both are at five, while Liam Coughlin, Myles McGurty, Ryan, and Nolan Vesey all have four in a row.

This doesn’t really need any introduction as the tweet says it all…

There is seldom a need to talk about who the home team picks as the three stars of the game, they either pick the actual three stars of the game or they just pick a bunch of their guys and act like the other team doesn’t exist. The Thunder, at least originally, one-upped them all by announcing good choices for the number three and two stars and then giving the game’s number one star to Laura Power, a pink hat-wearing fan that was shown numerous times on the dance cam to the huge roars of the crowd. Since the three stars really shouldn’t be taken that seriously, this writer thought that since it was the literal definition of “number one star”, why not just go with it. When the score sheet went official, there was no #1 star listed. But all good things must come to an end, and Sunday afternoon Henrik Tikkanen was officially listed as the #1 star. Fame is fleeting Miss Pink Hat Dancer, but you got your well-deserved fifteen minutes worth.

The three stars of the game were:
1. WOR – 39 Henrik Tikkanen
2. WOR – 37 Reece Newkirk
3. ADK – 11 Shane Harpe

The 210Sports Player of the Game was Quinn Ryan.

Even Strength Lines
Jandric / Coughlin / Butler
Adams / Beaudoin / Hayhurst
Newkirk / Lambert / Ryan
Christensen / x / Bross

Brandt / McGurty
Evers / McCarthy
Delmas / Beaulieu

Our affiliates last night
NY Islanders 4, Columbus 3(OT)
St. Louis 3, Vegas 2
Hershey 2, Bridgeport 1 (OT)
Springfield 3, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 2

In the ECHL’s North Divison
Jacksonville 5, Trois-Rivieres 2
Reading 4, Maine 1
Newfoundland 4, Norfolk 1

Worcester 1 0 1 0 – 3
Adirondack 0 0 2 0 – 2

1st Period-1, Worcester, Ryan 3 4:53 (SH). Penalties-Adams Wor (high-sticking), 3:59; Fehd Adk (roughing), 12:54.

2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Fehd Adk (interference), 6:26; Butler Wor (delay of game), 11:46; Coughlin Wor (fighting – major), 11:46; Turcotte Adk (match – attempt/deliberate injury, fighting – major), 11:46; Parent Adk (slashing), 17:43.

3rd Period-2, Adirondack, Jozefek 2 (Corson, Parent), 4:07. 3, Worcester, Newkirk 5 (Ryan), 5:50. 4, Adirondack, Harper 2 (Vidmar, Ryczek), 18:12. Penalties-Newkirk Wor (roughing), 5:50; Delmas Wor (roughing), 8:40; Corson Adk (roughing), 8:40; Weller Adk (slashing), 12:07.

1st OT Period- No Scoring.Penalties-No Penalties

Shootout – Worcester 2 (Christensen G, Butler G), Adirondack 1 (Harper NG, Mikhalchuk G, Parent NG).
Shots on Goal-Worcester 11-9-12-4-1-37. Adirondack 10-6-11-7-0-34.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 0 / 5; Adirondack 0 / 2.
Goalies-Worcester, Tikkanen 5-0-0-0 (34 shots-32 saves). Adirondack, Theut 2-1-0-1 (36 shots-34 saves).
Referees-Tyler Hascall (8).
Linesmen-Maxime Bedard (65), Trevor Waite (73).

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