The Worcester Railers closed out 2022 with a late afternoon matchup Saturday against the Maine Mariners at the DCU Center, and their downward spiral continued as their defense couldn’t contain Maine at all as Worcester dropped their New Year’s Eve contest 6-2.
Since starting the season 9-0 the Railers have gotten just 19 points in their last 22 games, for a woeful points percentage of .413. That number would rank them 23rd out of the ECHL’s 28 teams. They are 2-8 over their last ten, essentially throwing away their record-breaking fast start.
Maine would get on the board first, at 6:43 of the opening period just ten seconds after Anthony Repaci was sent to the box for slashing. From the top of the circle to the right of Henrick Tikkanen and with no one challenging him, Mathew Santos skated in a bit and fired a wrist shot past the netminder.
The Mariners made it 2-0 at 14:22 after Noah Delmas turned the puck over at the offensive blue line. Maine transitioned to offense with Delmas giving chase. Instead of picking up a trailer, Demas went right toward puck carrier Patrick Shea, leaving Cameron Askew all alone in the slot behind him. Askew’s wrist shot through a screen beat Tikkanen.
With time running down on the opening frame Bobby Butler cut the lead in half converting of a nice feed by Trevor Cosgrove.
Things were looking up with a bit of momentum on Worcester’s side. Well, they were before another turnover, this one by Brent Beaudoin, which resulted in an odd-man rush back into the Railers zone. Maine used some nice passing to make Christian Evers and Jared Brandt look like peewees, and it was 3-1 1:53 into the middle period.
Once again Butler tried to drag his team back into the game, and he made it 3-2 with his second of the contest.
But 26 seconds later Worcester had multiple miscues in the neutral zone allowing the Mariners to break in two on one. Brandt didn’t commit to blocking the pass or the shot, and Shea simply outwaited him and beat Tikkanen.
The Mariners would grab another goal on a defensive error at 3:34 of the third when both Evers and Brandt went to take Santos, leaving Reid Stefanson all alone to skate in on Tikkanen. Marc-Olivier Duquette would get Maine’s sixth goal on a long shot into the empty net as the Railers skated on a six-on-four power play.
Scratches for the Railers were Phil Beaulieu (unknown injury), Billy Jerry, Jack Quinlivan (IR/unknown), and Myles McGurty (upper body). Bret Moran was the backup goaltender. Saturday afternoon forward Blade Jenkins was reassigned from Bridgeport to Worcester, and defenseman Trevor Cosgrove was been returned on loan to Worcester. To make room on the roster the Railers released defenseman Jake Schultz.
Saturday was the return of linesperson Laura Schmidlein to the DCU Center. It was Schmidlein’s first game at the DCU Center since breaking her leg in an awkward fall off a faceoff over a year ago, on December 11, 2022, in a matchup between Worcester and Maine. On another note about the officials, Saturday was the first time the Railers had two referees in a home game this season. Each team will see two referees in nine home and nine road games this season. Worcester has already seen two refs in multiple road games this season.
Railers head coach Jordan Smotherman and assistant coach Jimmy Sharrow were joined by Worcester State University Men’s hockey head coach Bob Deraney behind the bench. Deraney was a volunteer assistant for Dave Cunniff after Cunniff took over for Jamie Russell.
Looking back at some happening from Friday night that didn’t make the posting for yesterday’s game, while looking at the box scores for the night I saw that former Maine Mariners forward and current Allen Americans player Mikael Robidoux was up to his old tricks, earning a match penalty for “Attempt/Deliberate injury, (21.1)”. The video didn’t show the transgression, so over to Twitter we went to see if anyone is talking about the incident. And they weren’t. But what we did see was interesting, as we missed that former Railers goaltender Colten Ellis got a match penalty for kicking on December 23rd in a game against these same Americans. The video there shows essentially nothing happened, which is likely what the ECHL saw as Ellis did not receive a suspension. And, as it turned out, neither did Robidoux.
The three stars of the game were:
1. MNE – 16 Mathew Santos
2. MNE – 27 Patrick Shea
3. WOR – 8 Bobby Butler
The 210Sports Player of the Game was nobody, and there won’t be one chosen until the Railers win a game.
Even Strength Lines
Repaci / Coughlin / Vesey
Newkirk / Jenkins / Butler
Bakanov / Ryan / Beaudoin
Christensen / x / Bross
Evers / Brandt
Cosgrove / Delmas
Solow / Trechiyev
Our affiliates last night
Minnesota 5, St. Louis 2
Springfield 2, Hartford 1 (SO)
In the ECHL’s North Divison
Wheeling 6, Reading 5
Newfoundland 2, Kalamazoo 1
Adirondack 5, Trois-Rivieres 2
Atlanta 3, Norfolk 2
Maine 2 2 2 – 6
Worcester 1 1 0 – 2
1st Period-1, Maine, Santos 11 (Kallen, Master), 6:43 (PP). 2, Maine, Askew 6 (Shea), 14:22. 3, Worcester, Butler 12 (Cosgrove, Delmas), 19:55. Penalties-Repaci Wor (high-sticking), 6:33; Doherty Mne (roughing), 19:42; Christensen Wor (roughing), 19:42.
2nd Period-4, Maine, Voyer 9 (Doherty, Fossier), 1:53. 5, Worcester, Butler 13 (Jenkins, Newkirk), 14:51. 6, Maine, Shea 13 15:17. Penalties-No Penalties
3rd Period-7, Maine, Stefanson 6 (Santos, Kile), 3:34. 8, Maine, Duquette 1 (Gordeev, Stefanson), 14:10 (SH EN). Penalties-Chicoine Mne (cross-checking), 9:13; Kallen Mne (tripping), 14:04.
Shots on Goal-Maine 18-8-7-33. Worcester 8-14-6-28.
Power Play Opportunities-Maine 1 / 1; Worcester 0 / 2.
Goalies-Maine, Brassard 7-6-0-0 (28 shots-26 saves). Worcester, Tikkanen 9-8-0-0 (32 shots-27 saves).
Referees-Sam Heidemann (22), Casey Terreri (14).
Linesmen-Laura Schmidlein (82), Stephen Drain (52).
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