Tikkanen stars in Railers 4-3 OT loss; phantom penalty leads to extra time game winner for Newfoundland

Friday night was game two of the three-game series between the Worcester Railers and Newfoundland Growlers at the Mary Brown’s Centre in St. John’s and it was the Henrik Tikkanen show as the Railers netminder made highlight save after highlight save to keep his team in the contest before the boys in blue ended up on the wrong end of the 4-3 overtime score.

We will not talk about ECHL referee Brendan Schreider completely missing penalty calls on Newfoundland, and then calling the ticky-tackiest of infractions against Worcester. We will also not talk about Reece Newkirk twice being called for slashing penalties in obvious even-up calls when Newkirk was clearly fouled both times and in neither case slashed his opponent. Referee Schreider’s second-period quick whistle costing Quin Ryan a goal will also get just this briefest of mentions.

Despite all of that it could be argued that Worcester was lucky to get the game into overtime after being outshot 37-19 in regulation, and out-chanced by an even wider margin. And, perhaps, they were. But hockey is strange like that, and sometimes a team can control 95% of the game and still lose. It’s happened over and over again in Worcester hockey history. And it might have happened Friday night.

But referee Schreider’s phantom elbowing call on Myles McGurty took away Worcester’s chance.

To set the scene, the Railers won an overtime faceoff to the left of Tikkanen, where McGurty got control of the puck. The Growlers Orrin Centazzo was forechecking and forced McGurty and the puck to the halfboards to the right of Tikkanen. McGurty put his hands and stick out to prevent crashing into the boards while muscling Centazzo off the puck. Referee Schreider, who was further up the ice, immediately raised his arm to call a penalty as Centazzo dove to the ice. Pavel Gogolev converted on the four-on-three power play for the game-winner.

Post-game Railers head coach Jordan Smotherman waited on the bench to talk to referee Schreider, who cowardly wouldn’t talk to him or Worcester alternate captain Nolan Vesey.

In some not-so-great news for the Railers and their fans, Schreider will be the referee for Saturday night’s contest too.

Things started off great Friday night for the Railers, with newcomer Jake Schultz scoring his second in as many games.

It was another newcomer with goal number two for Worcester when Jordan Kaplan connected on the power play.

But you can’t rest against the high-flying Growlers, and unfortunately, the Railers did just that and allowed two goals over the final 2:12 of the first period to end the frame tied 2-2.

Keeping with the trend, it was a third newcomer with Worcester’s third goal when Nick Fea scored on a breakaway at 2:10 of the middle frame.

But Newfoundland would soon tie it, and then it was all Tikkanen until referee Schreider’s overtime antics proved too much to overcome.

Scratches for the Railers were Phil Beaulieu (IR/unknown), Bobby Butler, Blake Christensen (IR/unknown), Liam Coughlin, Jack Quinlivan (IR/unknown), and Anthony Repaci. Bret Moran was the backup goaltender. It seems that the grippe is running through the roster while the team is in Newfoundland, which is leading to some odd lineups on the ice.

Seldom would a waiver transaction warrant its own little notes section, but the Railers claiming Jordan Kaplan from Newfoundland is one of those times. Worcester is Kaplan’s fourth team this season, having had stints in Jacksonville, Reading, and with the Growlers, all before the ECHL’s All-Star break. An interesting factoid, but not in itself worthy of a section. What is worth noting is it was the second time in franchise history the Railers acquired a player from the opposing team in the city they were visiting. The first was Devon Paliani from Maine on December 29, 2021, in a trade for the ever-popular “future considerations”. Paliani scored two goals in his first Worcester game, that wild 9-7 loss where netminder Jason Pawloski couldn’t stop a beachball. It’s happened once in reverse when the Railers waived Phil Johansson in February of 2020 and he was claimed by Atlanta, who was visiting the DCU Center the next day. Unlike Paliani and Kaplan, Johannson didn’t hit the scoresheet, which was kind of the reason Worcester waived him in the first place.

Going back to something talked about earlier, we can scratch the former Cumberland County Civic Center off the list of places that might have had the radio booth and primary camera positions on the opposite sides of the ice. Former Maine Hockey Journal owner Chris Roy confirmed that with this writer earlier this week over Facebook Messenger, and also couldn’t recall any AHL building that had that feature. It’s still in my notebook so we might revisit this later, but it seems like it might be a building the WorSharks didn’t visit often, which makes figuring it out a tad difficult.

In some non-Worcester news, I’ve always been interested in the whole situation about the 2016 NHL All-Star game where Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek and Yahoo’s Greg Wyshynski plotted to get fans to vote for tough guy John Scott. And it worked. You can read about it in Sport’s Illustrated if you have no idea what that was all about. I mention it because Scott was a guest on ESPN’s The Drop this week, where for the first time he and Wyshynski talk about what happened. Like many high-level hockey enforcers, Scott is very smart and well-spoken, which makes this interview well worth the listen. The video is queued up to the start of the interview.

The three stars of the game were:
1. NFL – 46 Pavel Gogolev
2. WOR – 39 Henrik Tikkanen
3. NFL – 20 Isaac Johnson

The 210Sports Player of the Game was Nick Fea.

Even Strength Lines
Newkirk / Adams / Ryan
Vesey / Beaudoin / Kaplan
Schultz / Jerry / Bross
Osik / x / Fea

Brandt / McGurty
Evers / Delmas
Trechiyev / McCarthy

Our affiliates last night
Bridgeport 4, Lehigh Valley 3 (OT)
Hershey 5, Springfield 3

In the ECHL’s North Division
Maine 3, Norfolk 2
Orlando 4, Trois-Rivieres 1
Reading 5, Adirondack 1

Worcester 2 1 0 0 – 3
Newfoundland 2 1 0 1 – 4

1st Period-1, Worcester, Schultz 2 (Terchiyev, Jerry), 7:30. 2, Worcester, Kaplan 1 (Vesey, McGurty), 11:19 (PP). 3, Newfoundland, Solow 12 (Johnson, Sredl), 17:48. 4, Newfoundland, Badini 3 (Kapcheck, Budgell), 19:30. Penalties-Delmas Wor (hooking), 2:33; Gogolev Nfl (hooking), 10:20; Bross Wor (interference), 13:09.

2nd Period-5, Worcester, Fea 1 (Ryan), 2:10. 6, Newfoundland, Johnson 8 (Kapcheck, Suthers), 5:24. Penalties-Terchiyev Wor (tripping), 3:09; Melindy Nfl (tripping), 10:14.

3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Newkirk Wor (slashing), 8:07; Melindy Nfl (slashing), 8:07; Ryan Wor (hooking), 8:51; Kaplan Wor (cross-checking), 12:40; Gogolev Nfl (cross-checking), 17:05; Newkirk Wor (slashing), 18:05; Kubicek Nfl (holding), 18:05.

1st OT Period-7, Newfoundland, Gogolev 12 (Johnson, O’Brien), 2:12 (PP). Penalties-McGurty Wor (elbowing), 0:27.

Shots on Goal-Worcester 7-6-6-0-19. Newfoundland 18-12-7-4-41.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 1 / 3; Newfoundland 1 / 6.
Goalies-Worcester, Tikkanen 10-10-2-0 (41 shots-37 saves). Newfoundland, Petruzzelli 3-1-0-0 (19 shots-16 saves).
Referees-Brendan Schreider (12).
Linesmen-Brian Lambert (57), Mark Day (93).

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