The Worcester Railers hosted the Reading Royals Saturday night in their annual “Pink in the Rink” game to benefit The Cup Crusaders and to raise funds to support breast cancer research, and were down multiple goals before some fans had even taken their seats and after that were only really in the game for ten seconds in a 4-2 loss.
For the second game in a row, the Railers gave up a goal to Reading in the opening minute when Worcester just stood around in their own zone, something that happens far too frequently no matter who is in the lineup, when Devon Paliani beat Railers’ netminder Henrik Tikkanen with a long wrist shot through traffic 34 seconds into the game. Even if Tikkanen had made the save any rebound he couldn’t control would have likely ended up in the net anyway Noah Delmas was outnumbered in front of the net two-on-one and was covering neither Royals player.
A special shoutout to defenseman Conor Breen on the play, who somehow ended up about 35 feet away from the net with five players between him and Tikkanen, and yet still managed to not cover anyone.
Reading took a 2-0 lead at 3:31 when another defensive blunder resulted in the puck ending up in the Worcester net. Evan Barratt cleared the puck nearly the full length of the ice on Tikkanen, with Charlie Gerard skating into the Worcester zone to pressure the netminder. Myles McGurty neither chased Gerard nor made himself available to be passed to, so Tikkanen was forced to just throw the puck over to the halfboards. Gerard gathered it and with Timothy Faulkner and Brent Beaudoin both facing the wrong way Gerard centered the puck to an uncovered Barratt, who beat Tikkanen high to the stick side.
Max Newton, who Worcester lost in a “player to be named later” trade after the end of last season, made it 3-0 Royals at 14:56 of the first period on a play that is a perfect example of many things that the Railers do wrong night in and night out. After the Royals dumped the puck into the Worcester zone it was picked up by McGurty, who skated behind the net with it. He then passed it to Faulkner near the dot to the left of Tikkanen, and so far, so good. But then all four other Railers players transitioned to offense, leaving Faulkner alone in the defensive zone with the puck, and with two Reading players forechecking he had no passing lane to get rid of it.
Faulkner, known more for his defense than his offense, eventually turned the puck over. In the video when it happened the only three skaters visible in the frame are Faulkner, Newton, and Barratt. You can finally see McGurty in the frame as Newton backhands the puck past Tikkaken.
It stayed the 3-0 score into the third period when Anthony Repaci broke the ice with a goal five seconds after a Railers power play had started.
But another trend reared its ugly head again Saturday when just ten seconds after Repaci’s goal the Royals connected to regain their three goal lead. Reading won the center ice draw after the goal and dumped the puck into the Worcester zone. Tikkanen went behind the net to corral the puck and got tangled up as the puck slid into the slot in front of the yawning Worcester net. Alec Butcher was there and flipped it in to make it 4-1.
Later in the frame, Breen absolutely jacked up Yvan Mongo right in front of public address announcer Adam Webster and was then jumped by Paliani. When the dust settled referee Trevor Wohlford called a match penalty for checking the head on Breen. The video is unclear if it really was as the camera is panning as the hit was thrown and it takes place along the near boards. An ECHL review of the play is automatic, and they will have access to cameras not shown in the DCU Center.
While killing that major power play Beaudoin made it 4-2 with a shorthanded goal.
But that was as close as the warm bodies wearing Railers jerseys would get.
Scratches for the Railers were Collin Adams (IR/upper body), Ken Appleby (IR/unknown), Phil Beaulieu (IR/unknown), Jared Brandt (IR/lower), Zack Bross (IR/unknown), Bobby Butler, Liam Coughlin (IR/unknown), Christain Evers (IR/unknown), Jack Quinlivan (IR/unknown), Artur Terchiyev, and Nolan Vesey (IR/unknown). Brent Moran was the backup goaltender. Prior to the game Worcester signed former Holy Cross standout Jake Pappalardo.
The loss in the pink jerseys drops the Railers’ record to 2-2-1 in those specialty jerseys. The coaching staff joined in the theme night by wearing pink Railers pullovers behind the bench. The training and equipment staff also wore pink sweaters.
By being named the number-3 star of the game Anthony Repaci now has the Railers’ career record for three-star points with 63, passing Mitch Gillam’s 62 that Repaci tied after Friday night’s number-1 star. The remaining top five in Railers franchise history are Evan Buitenhuis (49), Ken Appleby (47), and Barry Almeida (45). After Repaci and Appleby, the next highest active player is Henrik Tikkanen, who is eighth all-time with 37 points.
There was a Women’s college game on the pink ice before the Railers/Royals contest that saw Anna Maria and Worcester State hook up. The Lancers outshot the AMCATS 38-15, but Anna Maria’s Sam Dahill stopped all 38 Worcester State shots for the shutout. This writer watched most of that game, and Dahill looked amazing out there. As noted yesterday, Worcester State University Men’s coach Bob Deraney wasn’t available to join the Railers staff behind the bench as his Lancers faced off against #12 ranked Plymouth State, losing 5-1 to the Panthers.
The three stars of the game were:
1. REA – 30 Kaden Fulcher
2. REA – 9 Charlie Gerard
3. WOR – 81 Anthony Repaci
The 210Sports Player of the Game was Brent Beaudoin.
Even Strength Lines
Repaci / Beaudoin / Lambert
Bakanov / Newkirk / Hayhurst
Fea / Jerry / Ryan
Boutoussov / X / Pappalardo
Cosgrove / McCarthy
Faulkner / McGurty
Breen / Delmas
Our affiliates last night
Monteal 4, NY Islanders 3 OT
St. Louis 6, Arizona 5 OT
Lehigh Valley 3, Bridgeport 0
In the ECHL’s North Division
Wheeling 10, Norfolk 2
Maine 4, Trois-Rivieres 0
Newfoundland 5, Adirondack 2
North Division Standings
Team points (points percentage) games in hand over Worcester
Newfoundland 69 (.734) 1
Reading 57 (.633) 3
Maine 56 (.651) 5
Worcester 51 (.531)
Adirondack 38 (.432) 4
Trois-Rivieres 36 (.391) 2
Norfolk 23 (.245) 1
Reading 3 0 1 – 4
Worcester 0 0 2 – 2
1st Period-1, Reading, Paliani 8 (Hoffmann, Mongo), 0:34. 2, Reading, Barratt 5 (Gerard, Paliani), 3:31. 3, Reading, Newton 22 (Gerard), 14:56. Penalties-Chen Rea (roughing), 4:15; Fea Wor (roughing), 4:15; Faulkner Wor (holding), 7:10; Chen Rea (interference), 16:51.
2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Lambert Wor (hooking), 2:48; Felix Rea (holding), 6:21; Cosgrove Wor (slashing), 7:17; Gaucher Rea (slashing), 17:54.
3rd Period-4, Worcester, Repaci 13 (Cosgrove, Hayhurst), 3:27 (PP). 5, Reading, Butcher 10 (Timmons, Gaucher), 3:37. 6, Worcester, Beaudoin 13 (Cosgrove), 17:07 (SH). Penalties-Fulcher Rea (delay of game), 3:22; Felix Rea (interference), 3:54; Paliani Rea (fighting – major), 12:47; Breen Wor (match – illegal check to head, fighting – major), 12:47; Newton Rea (roughing), 13:41; Faulkner Wor (roughing), 13:41.
Shots on Goal-Reading 10-12-15-37. Worcester 11-13-14-38.
Power Play Opportunities-Reading 0 / 4; Worcester 1 / 5.
Goalies-Reading, Fulcher 3-3-0-0 (38 shots-36 saves). Worcester, Tikkanen 13-13-2-0 (37 shots-33 saves).
Referees-Trevor Wohlford (38).
Linesmen-Matthew Heinen (93), Shane Kanaly (74).
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