Railers skid continues with 4-3 loss to Thunder

The Worcester Railers went north to Glens Falls, New York Friday night for the last road game of 2022 and dug a hole too deep to climb out of after falling behind 3-0 to the Adirondack Thunder. Despite a furious comeback, the Railers couldn’t get back to even and left the Cool Insuring Arena 4-2 losers.

It would be frustrating enough to say that Worcester keeps finding new ways to lose games, but the Railers’ poor play of late has just one cause: they aren’t playing smart hockey.

Earlier in the season when Worcester made mistakes their talent helped them overcome the errors, usually pretty quickly. That’s not the case lately as many of their top players have been promoted to the AHL, leaving players who were supposed to play bit roles getting prime-time action and others who might not have been on the roster at all. While they’re still decent players they can’t recover from mistakes as easily, and that’s what led to the team being 2-8 over its last ten games.

Despite all that, it wasn’t a mistake that lead to the Thunder’s first goal, it was a bad bounce. While Adirondack did have the Railers hemmed in their zone Worcester was doing a decent job of avoiding giving up a decent scoring chance. That was until an errant pass hit the skates of defender Jeff Solow. It deflected right to Xavier Parent, who fired a laser low stick side on Railers netminder Brent Moran at 9:48 of the first frame.

A Blake Christensen turnover led to Parent’s second goal at 14:42. Christensen’s attempted pass from the defensive half-boards through two Thunder players to Andrei Bakanov never made it even close to Bakanov as Adirondack quickly pounced on the loose puck. The Railers looked like the Keystone Kops trying to scamper back into the play, but after what was a two-on-none bid on Moran Parent had all 24-square feet to shoot at.

It stayed 2-0 for nearly twenty minutes of action when Solow took the automatic delay of game minor for firing the puck out of play. To be blunt, there was no reason for him to even be attempting to clear the puck out as there wasn’t an Adirondack player within 20 feet of him. Be that as it may, to the penalty kill Worcester went. Over the next 49 seconds two more penalties would be whistled, giving the Thunder the rare four-on-three power play. Ryan Smith scored at 14:00, and it looked like it was going to be another long night for Worcester.

But the Railers had other ideas.

Twenty-two seconds after the Smith strike Worcester captain Bobby Butter unleashed his NHL-level skills with a laser over the shoulder of Jake Theut.

Butler’s goal ended a 115:32 scoreless streak by the Worcester against the Thunder.

With time winding down in the middle stanza the Railers found themselves on another power play, and after having some pretty poor ones earlier in the game their latest one didn’t look all that good either. That was until Christensen’s bid snuck through traffic and rolled over the goal line by a couple inches.

Both goalies made impressive saves in the third period as the Railers threw everything they had at the Thunder net, often leaving Moran to fend for himself in the Worcester end as the Railers allowed odd-man rushes back toward their goal. Head Coach Jordan Smotherman pulled Moran for an extra attacker with just under two minutes to go, but a turnover in the Thunder zone ended up with the red light going on to make it 4-2.

With one last gasp, the Railers headed to another power play needing to score quickly to give themselves a chance, and Anthony Repaci took care of that with 33.4 seconds remaining. Skating six on four Reece Newkirk fed Butler in the bumper position. Butler fired, with Theut making the save. The puck went right back to Butler, who faked a returning shot but instead fed Repaci on the other side. Repaci’s one-timer flew past Theut to make it 4-3.

Unfortunately, that was as close as Worcester could get it as Adirondack didn’t allow the Railer a zone entry the rest of the way.

Scratches for the Railers were Phil Beaulieu, Myles McGurty (upper body), and Jack Quinlivan (IR/unknown). Henrik Tikkanen was the backup goaltender. Prior to the start of the game, Worcester signed defenseman Jake Schultz from the FPHL’s Binghamton Black Bears. This would seem to indicate that Beaulieu is unavailable. McGurty was boarded by Maine forward Nick Isaacson Wednesday night. Despite getting a major and it looking like a suspendable hit Isaacson did not face any supplementary discipline.

There’s nothing worse than causing a stir because of a small paperwork error, but that’s what the Adirondack Thunder’s scorers did Friday night by accidentally leaving Henrik Tikkanen’s name off the scoresheet. It wasn’t a total surprise that Brent Moran got the start in goal as head coach Jordan Smotherman looked to make a change after the last two games, but when the game started Tikkanen’s #39 was not listed anywhere. Luckily at the Cool Insuring Arena the visiting team’s backup can usually be seen if there’s any action along the near boards, and within a minute or two of play Tikkanen was spotted sitting in the correct spot.

Earlier this week Worcester Railers Booster Club president Rich Lundin issued a statement over Twitter, which we’ve collected in a blog post, about lack of coverage of the Bravehearts and Mass Pirates in the Worcester Telegram and how the paper seems fixated on the WooSox. The Indoor Football League’s Pirates were quick to reply joining in, while soon after the Futures Collegiate Baseball League’s Bravehearts chimed in. Within a couple hours an obviously cobbled-together story on the Railers popped up on the Telegram’s website, which not shockingly also focused on the WooSox. That pretty much proved Lundin’s points.

The three stars of the game were:
1. ADK – 24 Xavier Parent
2. ADK – 43 Grant Jozefek
3. WOR – 8 Bobby Butler

The 210Sports Player of the Game was Brent Moran.

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

Trechiyev / Brandt
Evers / Delmas
Solow / Schultz

Our affiliates last night
Springfield 6, Bridgeport 3

In the ECHL’s North Divison
Maine 5, Trois-Rivieres 2
Reading 4, Wheeling 2
Newfoundland 4, Kalamazoo 3 (OT)
Atlants 4, Norfolk 3

Worcester 0 2 1 – 3
Adirondack 2 1 1 – 4

1st Period-1, Adirondack, Parent 9 (Orgel, Jozefek), 9:48. 2, Adirondack, Parent 10 (Jozefek, Broughman), 14:42. Penalties-No Penalties

2nd Period-3, Adirondack, Smith 5 (Taylor, Long), 14:00 (PP). 4, Worcester, Butler 11 (Evers, Delmas), 14:22. 5, Worcester, Christensen 5 (Repaci, Terchiyev), 19:04 (PP). Penalties-Broughman Adk (hooking), 9:36; Solow Wor (delay of game), 12:54; Da Silva Adk (interference), 13:08; Newkirk Wor (hooking), 13:43; Schultz Adk (tripping), 17:19.

3rd Period-6, Adirondack, Da Silva 2 (Taylor), 18:22 (EN). 7, Worcester, Repaci 7 (Butler, Newkirk), 19:26 (PP). Penalties-Parent Adk (cross-checking), 7:36; Taylor Adk (delay of game), 19:09.

Shots on Goal-Worcester 14-13-11-38. Adirondack 15-16-7-38.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 2 / 5; Adirondack 1 / 2.
Goalies-Worcester, Moran 0-1-0-0 (37 shots-34 saves). Adirondack, Theut 6-8-1-1 (38 shots-35 saves).
Referees-Alex Normandin (26), Riley Brace (4).
Linesmen-Vincent Bigras (95), Steven Herbs (55).

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