Tikkanen stands tall in Railers 4-1 win over Newfoundland

The Worcester Railers and Newfoundland Growlers met at the DCU Center Sunday for the second time in 20 hours, and while Saturday’s matchup was all about goal scoring on Sunday it was about the goaltenders, where Railers netminder Henrik Tikkanen and Growlers goaltender Luke Cavallin put on quite the show, with Tikkanen coming out on top in the 4-1 victory.

Despite both teams having some great chances, it was scoreless after 20 minutes. Nolan Walker then gave Newfoundland the lead at 1:06 of the second when the Railers’ defense fell asleep and allowed Walker to skate in almost uncontested, beating Tikkanen with a backhander low to the stick side.

After a couple of breakaway chances were stopped by Cavallin Nolan Vesey had an opportunity, and he did not miss.

It stayed 1-1 into the third period, where both squads knew the next goal would be big. Luckily for Worcester fans, that goal came off the stick of Anthony Repaci.

Both teams would have great chances to light the lamp as the period went on, but each time the goaltenders kept the score 2-1. As Newfoundland threw everything they had at Tikkanen he continued to make save after save.

Worcester got a late power play, and Collin Adams gave his team a little breathing room.

The Growlers would get a power play of their own late, and they pulled Cavallin for the extra skater to play six on four. Several blocked shots later, and what might have been the best shift of defenseman Connor McCarthy’s career, the Railers iced the game with an empty-net goal with 2.1 seconds remaining.

The Railers hit the road this week with two games before Christmas, taking on the Trois-Rivieres Lions Wednesday night and the Adirondack Thunder on Friday.

Scratches for the Railers were Zack Bross, Christain Evers, Billy Jerry, and Jack Quinlivan (IR/unknown). Ken Appleby was the backup goaltender. Joshua Linsenberg of NYI Hockey Now tweeted that Bross was injured, which if he is makes me wonder why Bross wouldn’t have been put on IR to free up a roster spot as opposed to releasing Derek Osik.

Newfoundland once again began the game with 16 skaters, with the Toronto Marlies loaning Nolan Walker to the Growlers Sunday morning. The Railers had no information on last night’s injury to Newfoundland forward Nathan Noel, which isn’t a shock considering they don’t often talk about the injuries to their own club, but if the rumors circulating the DCU Center Sunday afternoon are true this is a season-ending injury for Noel. The Growlers didn’t have a PR person available this weekend, but I’m pretty sure they would be just as silent about their injuries as Worcester is about theirs. Hopefully, the rumors are not true and this is a short-term issue for Noel.

With it being Sunday everyone was expecting the Railers to come out in their fifth-anniversary orange jerseys against the Growlers’ black road jersey, so it was a bit of a surprise when Worcester came out in their home whites. It was the first time since March 6, 2022, a 5-3 loss to Maine, that the Railers didn’t wear orange at home on a Sunday. There didn’t appear to be any reason why Worcester didn’t wear orange that day, just as there appears to be no reason why they didn’t wear them Sunday. This writer asked Railers COO Mike Myers about it, and he was just as surprised as the fans were that they were in white, guessing that maybe it was because of their victory wearing them on Saturday.

Every so often you see something multiple times without realizing how odd it is, and you never notice it until someone else brings it up. That happened today when Railers Booster Club president and fellow perch-mate Rich Lundin remarked that when he came into the DCU Center the driver for the Growlers team bus was hosing it down in the parking area between the arena and convention center. He then noted it’s a lettered Newfoundland Growlers bus, which I’ve seen tons of times, but mentioned how that could be possible since the Growlers fly off the island. It suddenly hit me that they don’t drive, so having a lettered bus made no sense. Enter Myzie again, who says the Growlers house the bus in Toronto, where they fly into from St. John’s. They then bus from there to all of their road games.

The three stars of the game were:
1. WOR – 39 Henrik Tikkanen
2. WOR – 81 Anthony Repaci
3. WOR – 11 Nolan Vesey

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
Solow / McCarthy

Our affiliates last night
No games scheduled

In the ECHL’s North Divison
Maine 5, Adirondack 2

Newfoundland 0 1 0 – 1
Worcester 0 1 3 – 4

1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Solow Nfl (slashing), 7:18; Brandt Wor (slashing), 15:24; Martenet Nfl (high-sticking), 18:17.

2nd Period-1, Newfoundland, Walker 6 (Gogolev, Joyaux), 1:06. 2, Worcester, Vesey 7 (Coughlin, Ryan), 14:32. Penalties-Sredl Nfl (tripping), 14:41; Coughlin Wor (tripping), 15:06.

3rd Period-3, Worcester, Repaci 5 (Christensen, Beaudoin), 2:17. 4, Worcester, Adams 10 (Ryan), 16:38 (PP). 5, Worcester, Beaudoin 8 (Coughlin, Solow), 19:57 (EN). Penalties-Newkirk Wor (hooking), 5:16; Kapcheck Nfl (tripping), 15:29; McGurty Wor (interference), 17:36.

Shots on Goal-Newfoundland 14-6-14-34. Worcester 9-15-10-34.
Power Play Opportunities-Newfoundland 0 / 4; Worcester 1 / 4.
Goalies-Newfoundland, Cavallin 10-3-0-0 (33 shots-30 saves). Worcester, Tikkanen 9-4-0-0 (34 shots-33 saves).
Referees-Rocco Stachowiak (28).
Linesmen-Matthew Heinen (93), Sam Schildkraut (46).

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