Sellout crowd watches Railers lose again in 3-1 loss to Maine

The Worcester Railers downward spiral continued Saturday night at the DCU Center as the team finds new ways to lose games in a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Maine Mariners in front of a sellout crowd of 6,045.

Earlier this season it was always the Railers coming out of the gates hot and getting on the board first, but lately, it seems it’s the opponent that’s setting the tone early, and Saturday was no exception.

You could see Maine’s opening goal happening more than 20 seconds before it did as Worcester got caught with four forwards on the ice after another failed power play. It appeared to be Collin Adams that was the extra forward on the ice, and he twice failed to switch off for a defenseman.

With the Mariners gaining possession in the Worcester end, and as teams seem to do against Worcester, Maine waited for the eventual mistake that would give them an opening, and it was Alex Kile flipping the puck over Ken Appleby that made it 1-0 Maine.

Late in the first frame, Christain Evers took a brainless crosschecking penalty, giving Maine a power play that sandwiched the first intermission. Forty-nine seconds into the middle frame, Zack Bross made his team two men down when he tripped an oncoming Mariners player at the Worcester blue line.

To make matters worse, 31 seconds later and just moments after Myles McGurty hit referee Yannick Jobin-Manseau with a clearing bid Jobin-Manseau called McGurty for tripping. The video is pretty clear that all McGurty did was outmuscle Eduards Tralmaks and forcefully lift the Maine forward’s stick, something which is not against the rules.

Worcester survived all of that five on three time, but just two seconds after McGurty stepped back on the ice to make the teams even strength Nate Kallen made it 2-0 Maine when a rebounded ended up right on the tape of his stick.

The Mariners third goal was another you could see coming a mile away as Worcester was running around their own zone with Appleby being forced to play without a stick as his twig ended up behind him lodged inside the net. It turns out it wasn’t really a specific error by the Railers that resulted in the goal, just a great shot by Grant Gabriele.

Reece Newkirk avoided the shutout for his teammates when he converted on the powerplay late in the third, and then some shenanigans took place after the goal.

Watching the video Maine’s Tim Doherty should be suspended for leaving the penalty box and joining an altercation. It won’t happen, of course, but by the rules, it should.

The Railers peppered Mariners netminder Michael DiPietro with 23 shots in the final frame, but Newkirk was the only one who could light the lamp.

There were more shenanigans after the final horn, and it’s a shame Worcester didn’t show that much aggression during the game, they might have actually won playing like that.

Scratches for the Railers were Phil Beaulieu (IR/unknown), Billy Jerry, Connor McCarthy, Brent Moran, and Jack Quinlivan (IR/unknown). Henrik Tikkanen was the backup goaltender. Word from Bridgeport is goaltender Cory Schneider didn’t come out for the third period Saturday night and was replaced by Jakub Skarek with no explanation given. We might see Ken Appleby heading back to the AHL Islanders soon.

As he has done on occasion, Worcester State University Men’s ice hockey head coach Bob Deraney was behind the Railers bench with head coach Jordan Smotherman and assistant Jimmy Sharrow. Neither this writer nor Bill Ballou keeps track of the team’s record with Deraney behind the bench, but if one were to guess it wouldn’t be hard to believe it falls in line with all the coaches of the team so far: not that good.

There was a lot of confusion from fans when the Railers announced the DCU Center was sold out Saturday and only standing-room tickets were available, especially considering that everyone’s mind jumps to the 12,135 number that is listed in many places as the building’s hockey capacity. The Railers’ official seating number with the ECHL is 5,600, and it’s been that number since the franchise’s inception. Like the WorSharks did in their later years, the Railers have gotten into the habit of just raising the curtains to sell an extra handful of tickets as a convenience for fans. As it turns out, Railers COO Mike Myers says that often times costs the Railers more money than they make in ticket sales as they have to pay for the extra staffing in the building that’s required by raising the curtains. Director of Ticket Sales Connor Haynes said the decision to hold to the ECHL number was made some time ago, but Saturday night was the first time since that they really got close to the 5,600 number. Hayes also noted the building is significantly louder with all the curtains down, adding to the fan experience. The addition of standing-room seats is new, but in past discussions with Hayes, it had been talked about previously as the two bars at the ends of the arena provide great views of the ice surface. He also noted that Saturday’s sellout has increased ticket sales for Sunday’s game and for others coming up. Hayes added that should the need happen because of large groups attending the curtains can still be raised, but it still hasn’t been decided if the general public would then be allowed to buy tickets in those sections. In the long run capping at 5,600 reduces costs for the Railers and increases sales for future games, two things that will help the franchise’s bottom line.

Saturday was the eighth anniversary of one of the great happenings in Worcester hockey history: enforcer Jimmy Bonneau donning the goalie gear to be the backup netminder. Bonneau was going to be a healthy scratch that night, and as a veteran, he didn’t have to take the bus ride up to Portland. But he took the bus ride to Portland anyway, just as he always did. On the way the scheduled starter, Troy Grosenick, got sick and couldn’t go. That put lefty backup J.P. Anderson between the pipes, and after no emergency backup could be found, Bonneau put on Grosenick’s gear and sat on the stool next to the goal judge.

The three stars of the game were:
1. MNE – 23 Alex Kile
2. MNE – 40 Michael DiPietro
3. WOR – 8 Bobby Butler

The 210Sports Player of the Game was Reece Newkirk.

Even Strength Lines
Repaci / Newkirk / Butler
Fea / Adams / Ryan
Christensen / Beaudoin / Bross
Vesey / X / Coughlin

Evers / McGurty
Cosgrove / Delmas
Trechiyev / Brandt

Our affiliates last night
Carolina 5, NY Islanders 2
Chicago 5, St. Louis 3
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 3, Bridgeport 2
Springfield 3, Grand Rapids 2

In the ECHL’s North Division
Adirondack 5, Newfoundland 0
Reading 5, Norfolk 1

Maine 1 1 1 – 3
Worcester 0 0 1 – 1

1st Period-1, Maine, Kile 8 (Duquette, Shea), 15:54. Penalties-Chicoine Mne (high-sticking), 13:24; Evers Wor (cross-checking), 19:36.

2nd Period-2, Maine, Kallen 4 (Santos, Kile), 3:34. Penalties-Bross Wor (holding), 0:49; McGurty Wor (tripping), 1:20; Kallen Mne (holding), 11:09; Butler Wor (delay of game), 19:50.

3rd Period-3, Maine, Gabriele 3 (Kile, Hinam), 3:20. 4, Worcester, Newkirk 13 (Butler, Cosgrove), 10:06. Penalties-Chicoine Mne (cross-checking), 6:08; Doherty Mne (tripping), 9:49; Hinam Mne (cross-checking, roughing), 10:06; Newkirk Wor (roughing), 10:06; Santos Mne (delay of game), 14:29; Doherty Mne (double – roughing), 20:00; Newkirk Wor (double – roughing), 20:00.

Shots on Goal-Maine 15-23-7-45. Worcester 8-5-23-36.
Power Play Opportunities-Maine 0 / 4; Worcester 0 / 6.
Goalies-Maine, DiPietro 8-1-0-0 (36 shots-35 saves). Worcester, Appleby 9-5-1-0 (45 shots-42 saves).
Referees-Yannick Jobin-Manseau (30).
Linesmen-Ryan Robinson (96), Nathan Frechette (49).

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