The Railers got a hat trick from captain Bobby Butler and three-point nights from newly returned forwards Collin Adams and Blade Jenkins to defeat the Newfoundland Growlers 8-3 at the DCU Center Saturday night to end Worcester’s five-game losing streak. Newfoundland’s loss ended their five-game winning streak.
It’s amazing what a little rest and some key additions to the lineup can do for a team. After playing seven games in ten days with a short roster Worcester finally had a few days off to regain their legs, and for the first time in almost three weeks finally were able to play 60 minutes of Railers hockey. Well, almost 60 minutes. But more on that later.
Things did not start off so well for Worcester when netminder Ken Appleby made a rare goof and got caught behind his own net. He pushed the puck out front to Brent Beaudoin but didn’t see Newfoundland forward Keenan Suthers lurking just beyond Beaudoin. When the Railers forward momentarily lost control of the puck Suthers was there to collect it and fire it into the empty net at 3:51.
And while in the last couple of weeks that kind of break might have been enough to make the Railers roll over, it wasn’t Saturday night. In fact, the opposite happened. They seemed to get mad.
It took exactly five minutes, but Worcester climbed back to even after Liam Coughlin converted as the Railers played some good transitional hockey.
Butler grabbed his first of the game at 17:28 of the frame after a Growlers defender “accidentally” tried to pick him off. Butler retaliated the best way possible: he put the red light on.
A late first-period penalty gave Worcester a power play heading to the second frame, and 47 seconds into the stanza Jenkins made it 3-1.
Just under six minutes later Lambert made it 4-1 off a nice feed from Quin Ryan.
Less than a minute later Butler notched his second of the game, and Growlers’ head coach Eric Wellwood called his timeout to put the brakes on Worcester’s momentum.
It didn’t work, and with 85 seconds left in the period, Reece Newkirk was awarded a penalty shot. Two words: five hole.
The third period would see Wellwood replace starting goaltender Keith Petruzzelli with Dryden McKay. The Railers seemed content with the 6-1 score and fell asleep a little bit, but Newfoundland is a team that doesn’t give up and plays all 60 minutes. Pavel Gogolev and Todd Skirving both scored in the opening five minutes of the third period to make it 6-3, and that was enough to wake Worcester up.
With some pep in their step again the Railers went back at the Growlers, and it was Butler lighting the lamp at 11:36 for the hat trick.
It wasn’t just the team that had some pep, within seconds of the red light going on the ice crew was already headed to the ice to clean up the flying hats.
The short break didn’t hurt Worcester as they’d grab an eighth tally 63 seconds later when Adams converted on the power play.
The two teams will meet again Sunday afternoon with a 3pm puck drop.
Scratches for the Railers were Zack Bross, Billy Jerry, Jack Quinlivan (IR/unknown), and Jeff Solow. Henrik Tikkanen was the backup goaltender. As was expected, Austin Osmanski was recalled to Springfield after last Sunday’s game, and Derek Osik was once again signed by the Railers. He didn’t make the full week as he was rereleased when Bridgeport sent Collin Adams and Jimmy Lambert back to Worcester.
Newfoundland started the game with 16 skaters, one under the maximum, and lost another in the first period when Nathan Noel went down during play in the Growlers’ end and while play was going on slowly made it over to the Newfoundland bench. He almost couldn’t make it to the door and was helped by linesman Stephen Drain as Noel nearly collapsed trying to get off the ice. When play stopped Noel went off to the dressing room, obviously favoring one of his legs.
It was bound to happen sooner or later, but over in LFG Railers, the Railers Fan’s Facebook group, we had our first close battle in a long while for Railers Player of the Week, with Nolan Vesey edging out Reece Newkirk for the honor by just two votes. Quin Ryan and Liam Coughlin were the other two finalists, and they also each received 15% or more of the votes. Odd that after one of the worst weeks in franchise history there’d be such a close battle for, well, the best of the worst.
If you’re a longtime reader or know this writer personally, you know the number 35 has a special meaning to me, being used by my all-time favorite non-Bruins player Tony Esposito. I collect hockey jerseys with #35 on them and used that number on every sports team I played on if it was available. Oftentimes we get a #35 vs #35 match-up, which we had Saturday night when Worcester’s Ken Appleby and Newfoundland’s Keith Petruzzelli began the contest between the pipes. It went one step further, with the referee also wearing #35. His name? Bobby Esposito. I looked him up to see if he was related. He’s not, but even at a young age his story is still a good one.
As we approach Christmas, the Railers and Worcester Railers Booster Club’s donations to Friendly House and other local charities have been delivered. Monday’s Booster Club holiday party raised just over $2000 in toys and gift card donations for Friendly House, and as is custom with the group it was rounded up to $2500. The stuffed animals from the Teddy Bear toss game were dispersed to Friendly House and The Boys and Girls Club of Worcester, and by the time all the numbers are calculated Railers COO Mike Myers and Booster Club president Rich Lundiun both estimate it will be well over $5000 donated.
If you read this posting before the second intermission of Sunday’s game head on over to the Booster Club table behind section 109 to take part in the Club’s annual Christmas Ornament raffle, which are hand-made ornaments signed by Railers players. Proceeds from the raffle will benefit the Nick Pennucci Scholarship Fund.
The three stars of the game were:
1. WOR – 8 Bobby Butler
2. WOR – 17 Blade Jenkins
3. WOR – 21 Collin Adams
The 210Sports Player of the Game was Liam Coughlin.
Even Strength Lines
Newkirk / Lambert / Ryan
Christensen / Beaudoin / Repaci
Adams / Jenkins / Butler
Vesey / Coughlin / x
Brandt / McGurty
Beaulieu / Delmas
Evers / McCarthy
Newfoundland 1 0 2 – 3
Worcester 2 4 2 – 8
1st Period-1, Newfoundland, Suthers 3 3:51. 2, Worcester, Coughlin 3 (Evers, Vesey), 8:51. 3, Worcester, Butler 8 (Jenkins, Adams), 17:26. Penalties-O’Brien Nfl (high-sticking), 14:32; Noel Nfl (charging), 19:59.
2nd Period-4, Worcester, Jenkins 8 (Beaulieu, Christensen), 0:47 (PP). 5, Worcester, Lambert 8 (Ryan), 6:36. 6, Worcester, Butler 9 (McGurty, Adams), 7:20. 7, Worcester, Newkirk 11 18:35 (PS). Penalties-Evers Wor (hooking), 14:29; Suthers Nfl (hooking), 16:07.
3rd Period-8, Newfoundland, Gogolev 6 (Egan, Martenet), 4:12. 9, Newfoundland, Skirving 11 (O’Brien), 5:02. 10, Worcester, Butler 10 (Jenkins), 11:36. 11, Worcester, Adams 9 (Coughlin, Christensen), 12:39 (PP). Penalties-Sredl Nfl (fighting – major), 10:00; Newkirk Wor (fighting – major), 10:00; Kapcheck Nfl (holding), 12:29; McCarthy Wor (slashing), 15:36.
Shots on Goal-Newfoundland 11-9-11-31. Worcester 12-10-7-29.
Power Play Opportunities-Newfoundland 0 / 2; Worcester 2 / 4.
Goalies-Newfoundland, Petruzzelli 1-1-0-0 (22 shots-16 saves); McKay 6-3-1-0 (7 shots-5 saves). Worcester, Appleby 9-3-1-0 (31 shots-28 saves).
Referees-Bobby Esposito (35).
Linesmen-Stephen Drain (52), Nathan Frechette (49).
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