The Worcester Railers went south to Norfolk, Virginia for the first of three contests against the Admirals at the Norfolk Scope over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, and got three-point nights from Blake Christensen and Blade Jenkins and 28 saves by rookie netminder Henrik Tikkanen in a 4-1 win.
Despite being on an eleven-game losing streak the Admirals came out of the gates like it was the seventh game of a playoff series, but the speedy Worcester squad was able to weather the storm. As they have many times this season the Railers got on the board first, this time when Jenkins forced a turnover and Christensen deflected a Collin Adams shot.
The three would team up again for the Railers’ second goal when Adams finally lit the lamp through a scrum of players in front of Norfolk netminder Tomas Vomacka.
Just over three minutes later, Shrewsbury, Mass native Jack Quinlivan would notch his first goal as a professional. Jenkins somehow does not currently figure in the scoring, but that is likely going to change.
It would stay 3-0 until midway through the third period when Admirals defender Alex Pommerville scored his first ECHL marker at 12:41 of the frame. That stopped Tikkanen’s shutout streak at 116:57, a new Railers franchise record. The city record is Reinhard Divis’ 203:21 with the IceCats. Harri Sateri owns the WorSharks mark at 159:37.
The Railers were undeterred by the Norfolk goal and Jenkins would score on the power play with an absolute laser of a wrist shot late in the third to put the game away.
After an off day to celebrate Thanksgiving the two teams will meet again Friday with a 7pm puck drop.
Scratches for the Railers were Bobby Butler, Jared Brandt, Derek Osik, and Anthony Repaci (IR/Lower Body). Ken Appleby was the backup goaltender. Butler did not make the trip to Norfolk. Earlier this week Worcester released defenseman Conor Breen and re-signed forward Osik. After beginning the season on injured reserve, Breen played one game for the Railers before being released. Osik is likely just for insurance as Worcester needs a spare forward in case of injury.
Over on the Railers Fans Facebook group Collin Adams was voted as “Railers Player of the Week” for last week in a tight contest with just 41% of the vote. Adams’ 22 votes just beat out Jimmy Lambert’s 20. Blade Jenkins and Blake Christensen were the other two finalists.
The ECHL announced a couple of schedule changes because of the opponent change on Friday, November 11, which resulted in Orlando playing at Jacksonville in place of Trois-Rivieres due to the Lions’ travel delays due to Hurricane Nicole. The Railers’ trip down south in late February will now include a stop in Greenville on Wednesday, February 22. The originally scheduled Worcester game at Maine on April 12 was changed to Trois-Rivieres at Maine. That southern swing goes from being a three-in-three after a weekend in Norfolk to a four-in-five. I suspect the Railers weren’t really given a choice in the matter.
Unless the Railers didn’t submit the video, which to this writer seems unlikely, the ECHL has apparently ruled that spearing an opponent in the groin is not a suspendable offense. Mind you, spearing an opponent anywhere is a major penalty and game misconduct, and even attempting one is an automatic double minor. The video for Saturday’s game clearly shows Russell spearing Jimmy Lambert, with trailing referee Marc-Olivier Phaneuf either not seeing it or ignoring it. Players are routinely suspended for spearing even if no penalty was called. To make matters worse, that was the second time in as many games that Russell speared a Worcester player below the belt, getting Collin Adams in the nether regions at about the 13-minute mark of the third period Friday night. To make it a three-fer, Norfolk’s Jake Smith did a cup-check on Worcester’s Zack Bross, but that was penalized by referee Logan Gruh as “hooking”.
The Worcester Railers Booster Club is going a bit of online fundraising this weekend. If you’re a Massachusetts resident you can take part in their 50/50 raffle. The money raised goes toward many of the activities and charities the club supports. The club is also selling some amazing Jordan Smotherman t-shirts. (You should click the link just to see the shirt, trust me). The order form is for buying and picking up your t-shirt at Railers games, for shipping options send a Twitter DM to the club or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The three stars of the game were:
1. WOR – 18 Blake Christensen
2. WOR – 17 Blade Jenkins
3. WOR – 39 Henrik Tikkanen
The 210Sports Player of the Game was Collin Adams.
Even Strength Lines
Vesey / Beaudoin / Bross
Lambert / Newkirk / Ryan
Christensen / Jenkins / Adams
Quinlivan / x / Coughlin
Evers / McGurty
Beaulieu / Delmas
Solow / McCarthy
Our affiliates last night
NY Islanders 3, Edmonton 0
Buffalo 6, St. Louis 2
Bridgeport 6, Hartford 3
Hershey 2, Springfield 1
In the ECHL’s North Divison
Maine 5, Reading 3
Adirondack 3, Newfoundland 2
Worcester 1 2 1 – 4
Norfolk 0 0 1 – 1
1st Period-1, Worcester, Christensen 2 (Jenkins, Adams), 17:15. Penalties-Lambert Wor (slashing), 4:09; Bross Wor (tripping), 12:48; Katic Nor (tripping), 13:36.
2nd Period-2, Worcester, Adams 8 (Jenkins, Christensen), 6:18. 3, Worcester, Quinlivan 1 (Solow), 9:50. Penalties-Smith Nor (hooking), 10:43; Newkirk Wor (holding), 12:53; Williams Nor (slashing), 19:31.
3rd Period-4, Norfolk, Pommerville 1 (Foss, Milan), 12:41. 5, Worcester, Jenkins 7 (Christensen, Beaulieu), 16:33 (PP). Penalties-Thow Nor (interference), 3:03; Thow Nor (hooking), 15:25; Solow Wor (cross-checking), 19:32.
Shots on Goal-Worcester 7-17-7-31. Norfolk 10-11-8-29.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 1 / 5; Norfolk 0 / 4.
Goalies-Worcester, Tikkanen 7-1-0-0 (29 shots-28 saves). Norfolk, Vomacka 0-7-0-0 (31 shots-27 saves).
Referees-Logan Gruhl (29).
Linesmen-Colin Gates (52), Evan Knox (83).
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