Railers use extra time to defeat Norfolk 4-3

In a game time that was more reminiscent of a Boston Red Sox vs New York Yankees baseball game than a pro hockey matchup, Reece Newkirk scored a game-winning overtime goal three hours and 58 minutes after the opening puck was dropped to lift the Worcester Railers to a 4-3 extra-time win over the Admirals at the Norfolk Scope Saturday night, giving Worcester five of a possible six points in their three-game trip to Old Dominion.

Things did not start off well for the Railers as they tried to put Friday’s overtime loss behind them when Liam MacDougall scored on the game’s first shot just 42 seconds into the contest.

Worcester was struggling a bit to get anything going, including another not-so-great power play where they didn’t have much attack zone time. Turned out all the attack zone time they really needed was the three seconds Jimmy Lambert used to enter the Norfolk zone to beat Admirals netminder Michael Bullion low to the glove side.

Somehow the official scorer missed the primary assist for Noah Delmas on the play.

It was 1-1 entering the second period when all the fun really started. With 1:59 gone in the middle frame, Norfolk’s Brett Van Os threw a lazy shot on Railers netminder Ken Appleby, who was tight to the near post. Somehow both pegs in the ice became detached, so the ice crew came out to fix the issue. In drilling the snow out of the hole for the peg to the left of Appleby the ice crew accidentally punctured one of the pipes carrying mono-propylene glycol, an anti-freeze that draws heat from the water and freezes it.

What followed was 75 minutes of vacuuming up the pinkish liquid and various fix attempts. Eventually, the teams returned to the ice, which was noticeably softer, and play resumed. The fix, however, was only “just good enough” as the ice crew essentially froze that post to the ice using a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher. The post came loose several times in the game, including once in a game-saving way for Worcester.

As an aside, Railers broadcaster Tim Foley did an admirable job filling the time on the radio. There’s no script for what to do with any significant amount of open time, and he used literally everything at his disposal, including an impromptu interview with scratched defenseman Jared Brandt.

Worcester head coach Jordan Smotherman was not happy with the ice conditions when play resumed, and he was even more perturbed when Tag Bertuzzi made it 2-1 Norfolk at 11:44.

After a couple of failed odd-man rushes, the Railers got the equalizer when Nolan Vesey made a nice move around Bullion.

And, yes, the Norfolk crew missed a secondary assist for Jeff Solow.

With time finally winding down in the middle frame Worcester ended up on the power play when Carson Musser inexplicably dove into Appleby while the netminder had control of the puck. Blake Christensen would get the tip in with two seconds to go in the frame to give the Railers the 3-2 lead.

Notice that nice pass from Phil Beaulieu over to Adams at the other point? The official scorers didn’t.

In the third Danny Katic, who is starting to become a thorn in Worcester’s side, scored on the power play at 5:53 to tie the game 3-3.

To overtime the teams went, and at 1:21 of the extra session, Norfolk put the puck into the yawning Worcester net with Appleby down and out. But as he fell Appleby hit that far post, pushing the net off the goal line. Referee JR Stragar quickly waved the potential goal off, much to the chagrin of the Admirals coaching staff and their fans.

The next time the puck crossed the goal line it almost happened accidentally, but it still counts the same as Reece Newkirk ended the marathon game with a good goal.

Worcester gets very little time to celebrate as they’re off to St John’s to take on the Newfoundland Growlers next weekend in their first three in three of the season.

Scratches for the Railers were Bobby Butler, Jared Brandt (unknown injury), and Anthony Repaci (IR/Lower Body). Henrik Tikkanen was the backup goaltender. Brandt was a scratch again Saturday as head coach Jordan Smotherman went with the same lineup as Friday, so it seems Brandt is not available after leaving last Saturday’s game against Greenville early. With the team on the road for the next four games, we might not get confirmation on any injury until December 9 when they return to the DCU Center to face Idaho.

With all the delays the game officially took three hours and 58 minutes to play, and we’ll avoid any pats on the back as that number matched what this math-challenged writer came up with on the fly as the unofficial number. It’s by far the longest regular season game in Worcester pro hockey history, and it appears to be the third-longest Worcester pro game ever. The longest was 4:33 on April 22, 2004, when the IceCats beat the Manchester Monarchs 3-2 in triple overtime in game five of their Atlantic Division semi-final matchup. Brendan Brooks scored the game-winner, from Peter Sejna and Blake Evans, at 46:00 of OT. The second longest game time-wise is the longest game clock-wise in Worcester hockey history when Hartford beat the IceCats 4-3 in another triple OT contest on May 05, 2004. That game took 4:12 of real-time, and when Ken Gernander scored unassisted at 47:49 of OT it became the longest Worcester game ever on the game clock.

One thing that seems to have become a trend in Railers road games this season is the official scorers are missing a lot of easy stuff. Now we can’t expect every staff to be as good as what we have at the DCU Center, but for there to be so many errors on easy stuff in road buildings is inexcusable for a pro league. There were two scoring changes from Friday night’s game made Saturday morning, with Myles McGurty picking up helpers on goals by Jimmy Lambert and Blake Christensen, but they still haven’t added an assist for Jeff Solow on Quinn Ryan’s opening goal on Friday. Now add Noah Delmas not yet getting an assist on Jimmy Lambert’s goal Saturday night, a primary assist no less, Solow not getting a point on Vesey’s tally, and Phil Beaulieu needing a helper on Christensen’s late second-period goal, and that’s far too many errors in a two-game span for any stat crew.

We’ll mention again The Worcester Railers Booster Club is 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 info@railersbc.com.

The three stars of the game were:
1. WOR – 37 Reece Newkirk
2. WOR – 21 Collin Adams
3. NOR – 27 Ryan Foss

The 210Sports Player of the Game was Brent Beaudoin.

Even Strength Lines
Newkirk / Lambert / Ryan
Christensen / Beaudoin / Adams
Coughlin / Vesey / Bross
Quinlivan / x / Osik

Evers / McGurty
Beaulieu / Delmas
Solow / McCarthy

Our affiliates last night
NY Islanders 5, Philadelphia 2
St. Louis 5, Florida 4 (OT)
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 3, Springfield 2 (SO)

In the ECHL’s North Division
Utah 5, Trois-Rivieres 4
Reading 3, Adirondack 2 (OT)
Newfoundland 9, Maine 6

Worcester 1 2 0 1 – 4
Norfolk 1 1 1 0 – 3

1st Period-1, Norfolk, MacDougall 1 (Lunn, Musser), 0:42. 2, Worcester, Lambert 7 (Beaudoin), 6:45 (PP). Penalties-Smirnov Nor (boarding), 4:49.

2nd Period-3, Norfolk, Bertuzzi 5 (Foss), 11:44. 4, Worcester, Vesey 4 (Adams), 14:26. 5, Worcester, Christensen 4 (Adams), 19:58 (PP). Penalties-Bross Wor (roughing), 12:30; King Nor (roughing), 12:30; Newkirk Wor (cross-checking), 14:58; Musser Nor (interference on the goalkeeper), 19:52.

3rd Period-6, Norfolk, Katic 3 (Foss, Hausinger), 5:53 (PP). Penalties-Adams Wor (tripping), 1:50; Evers Wor (holding), 4:47; Lunn Nor (hooking), 7:18.

1st OT Period-7, Worcester, Newkirk 6 (Beaudoin, Beaulieu), 2:57. Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal-Worcester 10-7-10-8-35. Norfolk 12-11-8-1-32.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 2 / 3; Norfolk 1 / 3.
Goalies-Worcester, Appleby 7-1-1-0 (32 shots-29 saves). Norfolk, Bullion 1-3-1-0 (35 shots-31 saves).
Referees-JR Stragar (2).
Linesmen-Colin Gates (52), Evan Knox (83).

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