Railers doomed by slow start, lose 6-2 to Reading

The Worcester Railers took on the Reading Royals at the DCU Center Wednesday night in a game that both the team and fans would rather forget as the Railers surrendered four first-period goals and never recovered in a 6-2 loss.

It was Reading who got on the board first at 3:17 of the first period when three Railers ended up behind Henrik Tikkanen’s net and couldn’t come up with the puck as Trey Bradley grabbed the loose puck and fed Alec Butcher all alone out front.

Colin Adams would knot the score 1-1 on a quick goal at 9:26 where it took a beat or two before people realized it had gone into the net.

That seemed to get Worcester its legs back, but unfortunately that feeling didn’t last long as the Royals grabbed three more goals in the frame. Their first two were by ex-Railers forward Max Newton, at 12:09 and 14:10, and the third goal in the mix was by Brendan Hoffmann at 15:44. That one was the only one where Tikkanen probably should have had it.

Ken Appleby replaced Tikkanen in goal to start the second frame, but that didn’t really help matters as Tyler Kirkup lit the lamp at 1:20 of the middle stanza.

Blake Christensen gave his team a little bump at 3:08 with a nifty wrist shot past a screened Nolan Maier, and fans were thinking if the Railers could grab the next goal they might have a chance.

They didn’t, and they didn’t. Reading made it 6-2 with a power play goal at 11:15.

Worcester outshot the Royals 20-2 in the final frame, with the 20 shots tying for the most shots the Railers have ever taken in the third period, and the two tied for the fewest allowed in that frame. But no goals either way, so 6-2 was the final.

The Railers will have Thursday to recover before hosting the Greenville Swamp Rabbits on Friday and Saturday.

Scratches for the Railers were Phil Beaulieu (bereavement list), Zack Bross, Reece Newkirk, and Anthony Repaci (upper body). Ken Appleby started as the backup and entered the game at the beginning of the second period. On Tuesday Jacob Hayhurst was recalled to Springfield. Conor Breen and Jack Quinlivan were both activated from injured reserve before the game, and the two received a “rookie lap” before being joined by their teammates for warmups that seems to have become a thing these days.

While the Railers’ overall winning streak was stopped in Adirondack their home winning streak to start the season lived on, only to be stopped by Reading. The six home wins to start the season are a new city record, besting the IceCats’ five in a row to start the 2004-05 season. The six wins tie the city mark for home games earning a point with those same IceCats.

In an update to some earlier reporting where we mentioned that Donna Ahaesy was the only current Booster Club officer to not drop the ceremonial first puck, that is no longer the case as Donna and her dad Jimmy, who was a WorSharks Booster Club Board of Directors member years ago, took part in the pregame festivities by dropping the puck.

With it being the first time the two teams have met this season we’ll look at some roster connections between Worcester and Reading. Goaltender Justin Kapelmaster started the 2021-22 season with the Railers, losing to Maine 6-3 in the season opener. Soon after he was suspended, and ultimately released. Defenseman Colin Felix played four seasons for UMass-Amherst, winning the NCAA National Championship in 2020-21. Fellow blueliner Mike Chen spent three seasons at Salem State. Forward Max Newton finished last season with the Railers and was traded as the “future considerations” in the deal that sent Jared Brandt to Worcester. Former Railers short-timer Devon Paliani is on Reading, perhaps because he fit the jersey. Sam Sternschein rounds out the roster connections from reading, having played a graduate season at Boston College. For the Railers we’ve already mentioned Brandt, and the recalled Ryan MacKinnon played five games last season for the Royals.

The three stars of the game were:
1. REA – 17 Max Newton
2. REA – 14 Trey Bradley
3. REA – 73 Nolan Maier

The 210Sports Player of the Game was Blake Christensen.

Even Strength Lines
Jandric / Coughlin / Butler
Adams / Lambert / Ryan
Jenkins / Beaudoin / Vesey
Christensen / x / Quinlivan

Brandt / McGurty
Delmas / Evers
Breen / McCarthy

Our affiliates last night
St. Louis 5, Chicago 2
Syracuse 5, Springfield 4 (SO)

In the ECHL’s North Divison
Trois-Rivieres 6, Norfolk 3
Greenville 4, Adirondack 3 (OT)
Newfoundland 5, Maine 0

Reading 4 2 0 – 6
Worcester 1 1 0 – 2

1st Period-1, Reading, Butcher 2 (Bradley), 3:17. 2, Worcester, Adams 6 (Lambert), 9:26. 3, Reading, Newton 7 (Sellar, Gerard), 12:09 (PP). 4, Reading, Newton 8 (Romeo), 14:10. 5, Reading, Hoffmann 1 (Gaucher), 15:44. Penalties-Millman Rea (slashing), 4:33; Delmas Wor (slashing), 11:28.

2nd Period-6, Reading, Kirkup 2 (Felix, Will MacKinnon), 1:20. 7, Worcester, Christensen 1 (Jandric), 3:08. 8, Reading, Bradley 2 (Gerard, McFadden), 11:15 (PP). Penalties-Jenkins Wor (tripping), 9:20; McGurty Wor (tripping), 15:58; Gerard Rea (slashing), 17:15.

3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Butcher Rea (interference), 1:31; Sellar Rea (high-sticking), 4:49.

Shots on Goal-Reading 9-9-2-20. Worcester 4-8-20-32.
Power Play Opportunities-Reading 2 / 3; Worcester 0 / 4.
Goalies-Reading, Maier 2-2-1-0 (32 shots-30 saves). Worcester, Tikkanen 5-1-0-0 (9 shots-5 saves); Appleby 5-1-0-0 (11 shots-9 saves).
Referees-Austin O’Rourke (10).
Linesmen-Patrick Philbin (88), Sam Schildkraut (46).

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