Railers are playing terrible hockey, but you wouldn’t know it reading the Worcester Telegram

The Worcester Railers began their post-Christmas schedule Wednesday afternoon in Portland, Maine and it looked a lot like their pre-holiday games went: playing a few minutes of decent hockey and the rest was like they’d never played the game before in their lives. At least this time they put the puck into the net a few times in a head-shaking 9-3 loss to the Mariners.

Worcester would open the scoring just 2:25 into the contest when Reece Newkirk picked up a loose puck and beat Maine netminder Francois Brassard.

Three minutes later Maine would tie it when Henrik Tikkanen couldn’t stop Cameron Askew’s bid, and that’s how the first period ended.

Early in the second frame, the Railers got a power play and Anthony Repaci gave the boys in blue a 2-1 lead.

Then it got ugly. In as few words as possible:
Maine scored on the power play.
And then they scored again.
And again.
And another.
And one more, and that was it for Tikkanen.
And that didn’t work, Maine scored again.
Then the second intermission.
And another goal.
And an eighth.

Quin Ryan would stop the bleeding with a five-on-three power play goal at 5:43 of the third to make it 8-3 Maine.

Since the final was 9-3, you guess it, Maine scored one more time.

Alex-Olivier Voyer and Tim Doherty both finished the game with hat tricks. We’re entering Bill Ballou territory here, but this writer’s educated guess is an opponent has never had two hat tricks in the same game before. How many Mariners had multiple-point games? Well, enough that Cameron Askew’s two goals didn’t make him one of the stars of the game.

As the “submit” button is mashed Ryan is listed as minus-five, which would tie for the worst single game in Worcester pro hockey history. He’s the ninth Worcester pro player to finish a game at minus-5, and the sixth Railers player to do it.

Head coach Jordan Smotherman has two days to figure out what’s wrong with his team as Worcester next plays Friday night in Adirondack.

I hope you can pardon this writer a moment while he steps up onto this soapbox, but it’s absolutely inexcusable that the Worcester Telegram doesn’t cover the Railers anymore. I don’t care what they claim, there simply aren’t any reasons why there isn’t any coverage of one of the best teams in the ECHL in our local newspaper.

I understand that the games now often end after the print deadline, but they have a subscription-based website that’s just begging for content. And on top of that, they have a multiple award-winning hockey writer in Bill Ballou available to write. Instead, Ballou writes recaps for the Railers website that cover the home games; recaps that are picked up by MassLive but not the Telegram. They also have Joe McDonald available to write game stories, but the people in charge of the Telegram apparently don’t want them.

It’s also not like the Telegram doesn’t already add things to their website after the print deadline either. Late Tuesday night Rich Garven had two high school basketball stories posted after 11pm. Both were about the Laska Yuletide Invitational at Assumption University. The first was a story on the St. John’s/Wachusett game posted at 11:37pm. The second was Doherty/Shrewsbury, posted at 11:57.

Last Friday two stories on the WooSox appeared on the Telegram’s website, both of them to see print appearances afterward. On Christmas Eve, a third WooSox story appeared. On Boxing Day, a fourth. The last story involving the Telegram about the Railers was posted on November 15th. One of those two teams is playing now, and one is in the middle of its off-season. If you don’t know which is which, stand outside for a few minutes and you’ll figure it out.

This is game 29 of 210Sports’ coverage of the Railers this season. The Telegram has articles mentioning the previous game’s scores three times over that span. Knowing how many unique page views I get after each game there’s no way the Telegram wouldn’t get ten times that number, which should be more than enough to justify having stories on the Telegram’s website. And if they don’t get ten times my number, someone over there needs to be fired.

In fact, maybe they should be fired anyway.

Scratches for the Railers were Phil Beaulieu and Jack Quinlivan (IR/unknown). Brent Moran began the game as the backup goaltender, replacing Henrik Tikkanen just over halfway through the middle period.

Despite the ECHL roster freeze Worcester has several transactions, with Jimmy Lambert, Collin Adams, and Connor McCarthy all being sent up to Bridgeport as the Islanders organization deals with injuries and a couple cases of COVID. The Railers did get some help from Springfield as the Thunderbirds loaned forward Andrei Bakanov to Worcester, and Railers GM Jordan Smotherman brought in Artur Terchiyev from the SPHL’s Birmingham Bulls. Former GM Dave Cunniff signed Terchiyev in mid-March last season but didn’t he appear in any games before being released a few days later.

During Wednesday’s game the ECHL announced their All-Star teams, and Collin Adams was the choice for the Railers. If he’s recalled during the All-Star weekend it’s likely another Worcester player will be chosen to replace him. Former Railers forward Max Newton was also chosen for the Eastern Conference squad. Former Worcester players Lincoln Griffin and Eddie Matsushima were chosen for the Western Conference team.

It’s December 28 and somehow this is the first time this regular season that these two division rivals have met each other, so as we do we’ll take a look at some roster connections between the two clubs. The obvious connection is Holden, Mass native for former Railers defenseman Connor Doherty, who is now the captain of the Mariners. Fans here still love Dots, except of course when the two teams play each other. Mariners forwards Nick Master and Reid Stefanson both played four seasons for UMass-Lowell. For the Railers, injured forward Jack Quinlivan played five seasons for the University of Maine, captaining the last two. Nolan Vesey spent four seasons at the University of Maine.

The three stars of the game were:
1. MNE – 42 Alex-Olivier Voyer
2. MNE – 17 Tim Doherty
3. MNE – 11 Mitchell Fossier

The 210Sports Player of the Game was Zack Bross.

Even Strength Lines
Newkirk / Ryan / Butler
Repaci / Coughlin / Vesey
Christensen / Beaudoin / Bakanov
X / Jerry / Bross

Brandt / McGurty
Evers / Delmas
Solow / Terchiyev

Our affiliates last night
NY Islanders 5, Pittsburgh 1
Toronto 5, St. Louis 4 (OT)
Hartford 7, Bridgeport 3

In the ECHL’s North Division
Adirondack 3, Trois-Rivieres 2
Toldeo 6, Newfoundland 4

Worcester 1 1 1 – 3
Maine 1 5 3 – 9

1st Period-1, Worcester, Newkirk 12 (Bross, Jerry), 2:25. 2, Maine, Askew 4 (Weller, Master), 5:30. Penalties-served by Fossier Mne (bench – too many men), 9:30; served by Butler Wor (bench – too many men), 11:25; Gordeev Mne (tripping), 18:15.

2nd Period-3, Worcester, Repaci 6 (Christensen, Terchiyev), 3:24 (PP). 4, Maine, Askew 5 (Voyer, Master), 7:07 (PP). 5, Maine, Voyer 5 (Kallen, Gordeev), 10:44. 6, Maine, Voyer 6 (Gabriele, Shea), 11:23. 7, Maine, Doherty 10 (Hinam, Fossier), 13:14. 8, Maine, Doherty 11 (Weller, Chicoine), 16:51. Penalties-Isaacson Mne (tripping), 2:22; Newkirk Wor (diving/embellishment), 3:17; Kallen Mne (tripping), 3:17; Butler Wor (delay of game), 6:55; Weller Mne (cross-checking), 14:44.

3rd Period-9, Maine, Voyer 7 (Shea, Fossier), 0:48. 10, Maine, Doherty 12 2:27. 11, Worcester, Ryan 10 (Terchiyev, Vesey), 5:43 (PP). 12, Maine, Fossier 2 (Doherty, Hinam), 14:23. Penalties-Isaacson Mne (boarding – major), 3:41; Gabriele Mne (delay of game), 4:24.

Shots on Goal-Worcester 10-9-17-36. Maine 17-18-14-49.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 2 / 6; Maine 1 / 2.
Goalies-Worcester, Tikkanen 9-7-0-0 (35 shots-29 saves); Moran 0-0-0-0 (14 shots-11 saves). Maine, Brassard 5-6-0-0 (36 shots-33 saves).
Referees-Alex Normandin (26).
Linesmen-Noah Merrow (57), Nathan Frechette (49).

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