Teams that are struggling often find ways to lose in games they could have won, and it was no different for the Worcester Railers Saturday night at the DCU Center when they extended their losing streak to four games after a 4-1 loss to the Idaho Steelheads on “Teddy Bear Toss Night”.
For the first time since last weekend in Newfoundland, the Railers played like a team that had things going in the right direction. They controlled the play for huge sections of the game, kept their mistakes to a minimum, and for the most part kept the high-flying Steelheads in check. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do about poor officiating, and ECHL referee Dominic Cadieux had one of the worst games in recent memory, and his errors resulted in three goals for Idaho.
Quinn Ryan, who looks to be the best signing Railers general manager Jordan Smotherman made in the off-season, gave Worcester the early lead on a nice one-timer goal to send the stuffed animals flying.
It stayed 1-0 well into the second period when referee Cadieux suddenly felt it was time to call a penalty on Worcester as he sent Zack Bross off on a slashing minor where Bross barely touched Idaho defender Casey Johnson with his stick. Johnson sold it, and Cadieux bought it, and less than 30 seconds later it was 1-1.
About three minutes later Cadieux was fooled again, this time by Steelheads forward Willie Knierim when Knierim trapped Jeff Solow’s stick and arm against his body making it seem like he was being held. A minute later it was 2-1.
The Idaho goal that really took the wind out of the Railers’ sails came at 18:22 after a totally missed call by Cadieux. After a faceoff in the Steelheads zone, Reece Newkirk attempted to chase the puck behind the net, where he was clearly tripped by goaltender Rémi Poirier. Idaho was able to get the puck and break out on an odd-man rush, and suddenly it was 3-1.
Worcester still had its chances in the third period, where they outshot Idaho 14-1, but like the New England Patriots whose jerseys the Railers were wearing, the offense has not been firing on all cylinders.
It was a total brain-cramp play by Worcester while on the power play that lead to Idaho’s fourth goal. While trying to keep the puck in the offensive zone somehow defenseman Noah Delmas lost his stick. The puck ended up heading into the Railers’ zone, and despite skating by the bench Delmas neither grabbed a stick on the way by nor went off on a change. Two Idaho players gave chase, and despite regaining the puck Worcester was out of sorts in their own end and turned the puck over again. The Steelheads’ lone shot of the period then went it for the shorthanded goal and the 4-1 loss.
Scratches for the Railers were Billy Jerry, Derek Osik, and Jack Quinlivan. Ken Appleby was the backup goaltender. Jeff Solow played forward for the second time in his pro career, and once again looked pretty solid out there.
In the Worcester Sharks era the WorSharks got called for “too many men on the ice” so many times that this writer now calls the infraction a “Roy Sommer line change”. For the first time this season the Railers were called for the minor penalty–we’ll ignore the fact it was a “hero-call” by linesman Philippe Pilon, one that is routinely let go many times during a single game–and the first time since March 18, 2022 that Worcester was penalized for that. The connection? The player serving the minor both times was Reece Newkirk.
An oddity worth mentioning, only because it happens so infrequently. Friday night in the Allen at Reading contest Royals forward Adrien Beraldo had to change jersey numbers as his original #79 was torn in a fight with Amerks Zach Pochiro. Beraldo had to switch to #3 for the remainder of the game. There’s a video below of the fight.
A number switch has happened in Railers history, with Yanick Turcotte having to switch from #20 to #42 for part of the first period on November 25, 2017, after his fight with Jeremy Beirnes got so much blood on his jersey that it had to be washed midgame.
The three stars of the game were:
1. IDH – 15 Ryan Dmowski
2. IDH – 31 Rémi Poirier
3. WOR – 19 Quin Ryan
The 210Sports Player of the Game was Myles McGurty.
Even Strength Lines
Newkirk / Jenkins / Butler
Christensen / Beaudoin / Ryan
Vesey / Coughlin / Repaci
Solow / x / Bross
Brandt / McGurty
Beaulieu / Delmas
Evers / McCarthy
Idaho 0 3 1 – 4
Worcester 1 0 0 – 1
1st Period-1, Worcester, Ryan 9 (Coughlin, Butler), 7:34 (PP). Penalties-Newkirk Wor (bench – too many men), 3:48; Kehler Idh (hooking), 6:51.
2nd Period-2, Idaho, Headrick 6 (Dmowski, Kudla), 12:13 (PP). 3, Idaho, Kudla 5 (Dmowski, Headrick), 15:58 (PP). 4, Idaho, Dmowski 13 (Miller, Walker), 18:22. Penalties-Franklin Idh (kneeing), 2:32; Bross Wor (slashing), 11:45; Solow Wor (hooking), 14:55.
3rd Period-5, Idaho, Pelton-Byce 9 (Becker), 8:50 (SH). Penalties-Murphy Idh (slashing), 7:24; Franklin Idh (cross-checking), 12:22.
Shots on Goal-Idaho 8-10-1-19. Worcester 9-13-14-36.
Power Play Opportunities-Idaho 2 / 3; Worcester 1 / 4.
Goalies-Idaho, Poirier 5-1-0-1 (36 shots-35 saves). Worcester, Tikkanen 8-4-0-0 (19 shots-15 saves).
Referees-Dominic Cadieux (3).
Linesmen-Philippe Pilon (68), Sam Schildkraut (46).
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