The Worcester Railers spent most of Veterans Day weekend in Glens Falls, New York taking on the Adirondack Thunder, and this writer and many members of the Railers Booster Club joined the team in the Capital District for the Friday and Saturday games.
To say it rained hard in Glens Falls on Friday would be a significant understatement, and in the ten-minute walk between the Queensbury Hotel and the Cool Insuring Arena, my notepad got soaked.
I’m not very good at note-taking on my phone, so what would usually happen is postgame I’d recreate my notes to be ready to include them in the next day’s blog post, only with there being so many post-game activities in Glens Falls there was no evening writing and what I did have time to write was done quickly.
So now we have this post of many of the things that didn’t make it into the game stories.
One thing that absolutely needs to be said is if you haven’t caught a game in Adirondack I highly recommend it. It’s probably a long enough journey where you might want to stay over, and there are a few hotels around so you should be able to find a spot if you plan ahead. But check the weather, and maybe bring a raincoat. And avoid sitting near section N, you’ll thank me for that advice later. Trust me on that.
The one downside about going to a game there is the building is very loud. I don’t mean the fans, who are loud in every area, but the PA announcer oftentimes is screaming into the microphone. It’s so loud having a conversation with someone next to you is difficult. Now add to the mix that literally everything has a sponsor, so every single stoppage in play is filled with this ungodly loud noise. I’m all for firing your crowd up, but perhaps it could be done at a volume slightly lower than a jet engine.
Lots of people asking about Yanick Turcotte’s hit on Bobby Butler, and how could Butler get a penalty on the play. Well, Butler’s penalty happened before the hit when he accidentally shot the puck out of play from his defensive end of the ice. Yes, it’s a terrible rule, but that’s the rule and he was guilty of breaking it. Turcotte’s hit was completely unnecessary, very high, and dirty.
I hate to say that’s standard for Turcotte, but most of his penalties are for things that are totally unnecessary. Luckily Butler sensed Turcotte was coming and was able to slip out of the way a little bit.
The ECHL does not have a rule where the referee can go to video to review a potential match penalty call, but referee Tyler Hascall appeared to do so, and I wholeheartedly agree with his decision to look at the video. I think all major penalties other than fighting should be reviewed by the referee because a five-minute major power play is a harsh punishment for a missed call, and hopefully, the ECHL will make such action mandatory.
Turcotte was suspended Sunday for two games, which on the surface seems like a short time considering his past history and an intent to injure penalty was called for the check to Butler’s head, but the fact Butler didn’t miss a shift likely played a role in it being just the two games. Turcotte has played in just three games this season and racked up seven games in suspensions. Not quite a record, but certainly close.
And speaking of video review, on Friday Adirondack scored a goal in the latter moments of the first period that Railers goaltender Ken Appleby thought was hit by a high stick. That play is not reviewable in the ECHL, and on that occasion referee Hascall followed the rulebook. I was not at that end of the ice, but from my vantage point up high it looked like a good goal to me. The two replays the Thunder showed on the video board made it look very close, and since if the jerseys were reversed I’d want that goal to count, I wasn’t too upset it was called a good goal.
Until Saturday, that is.
During a pregame highlight package shown on the video board, a third replay angle was added to the mix that shows that Appleby was absolutely correct, it was hit with a high stick by Patrick Grasso that was at his shoulder level. For a puck to be deflected directly into the net to count as a good goal the stick must be below the crossbar. That goal, which cut the Worcester lead to 2-1, arguably changed the course of the game.
Got some clarification on the signing, and subsequent release, of goaltender Joey Spagnoli. It was as I expected, with one of the two goalies being unavailable due to an illness and Spagnoli being brought in for practice. He had to be signed to an EBUG contract for insurance purposes. So, pretty standard stuff.
Railers head coach Jordan Smotherman has changed things up from the way previous head coaches Jamie Russell and Dave Cunniff did things, some in unexpected ways. At the Cool Insuring Arena, the visitor’s dressing room is accessed from a door on the opposite side of the player benches, and Russell and Cunniff would walk across the ice to get from the door to the benches. Smotherman and assistant coach Jimmy Sharrow decided not to do that, and walked around under the seating area, appearing at the Zamboni entrance between the two player benches.
The win on Saturday was the first shootout victory for the Railers since December 1, 2021, when Worcester defeated the Maine Mariners 3-2. In an amusing twist of fate, the Railers’ backup goaltender that night was Spagnoli. Worcester shooters went an amazing five of six in the shootout. The player that missed? Smotherman.
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