Railers ain’t ‘fraid of no ghost in 3-2 win over Savannah

The Worcester Railers ended their six-game southern swing Sunday with a matinee against the expansion Savannah Ghost Pirates at Enmarket Arena where Brent Beaudoin’s second-period goal gave Worcester a one-goal lead that they held the rest of the way in a 3-2 win. Despite playing some poor hockey on the trip Worcester managed to finish strong, earning six of a possible 12 points.

The Railers may have found a way to protect themselves from their poor penalty killing, and that’s by not taking any penalties. For the third time in franchise history, Worcester went 60 minutes without an infraction called against them. In what is not a surprising stat, the Railers are a perfect 3-0 in those games.

Worcester didn’t exactly start off Sunday’s contest perfectly as Savannah scored the opening goal of the contest at 5:15 when Max Johnson turned the puck over and then took Henrik Tikkanen out of the play, leaving the Railers net wide open.

There was just a single penalty called in the game by referee Dominic Cadieux, and Jake Pappalardo took advantage of that one opportunity and tied the score.

Nick Fea gave Worcester its first lead of the contest at 18:03 when Anthony Repaci sent him into the Ghost Pirates zone on a breakaway.

Savannah tied the game at 5:23 of the middle frame when none of the five Railers on the ice thought that covering defenseman Brandon Estes was something they should do.

At 11:50, Beaudoin would connect on what was the eventual game-winner.

That would be all the scoring as Worcester held on for the 3-2 final. They now return to the DCU Center for a pair against Newfoundland this weekend.

Scratches for the Railers were Collin Adams (IR/upper body), Zack Bross (IR/lower), Liam Coughlin (IR/unknown), Christain Evers (IR/unknown), Timothy Faulkner, Chris Ordoobadi, Jack Quinlivan (IR/unknown), Quin Ryan, and Nolan Vesey (IR/unknown). Ken Appleby was the backup netminder. Worcester dressed eight defensemen, with Noah Demlas moving up front and playing as a forward. He was pointless with one shot.

The two assists in the contest give Anthony Repaci points in 14 straight games, a new Railers franchise record. The previous record was, for the math-challenged, 13 games in a row set by Tyler Barnes in 2018-19. The next up is the Worcester pro mark at 17 games in a row, owned by the WorSharks Ryan Vesce set in the 2008-09 campaign. Just to complete the record, the IceCats mark is 15 in a set by Chris Kenady in 1996-97. Repaci has gone 10-10-20 in those 14 games, and Barnes went 11-6-17 in his 13-game streak.

As mentioned above, it was the third time in the Railers franchise history that they weren’t called for a penalty in a game. The first was on February 7, 2018, when neither they nor the Reading Royals were sent to the box in a 3-2 overtime Worcester win. In the second the Manchester Monarchs took the game’s only penalty on March 15, 2019. The Railers won that game 5-2.

With it being the first time this season that the Ghost Pirates and Railers have met we’ll take a look at some roster and area connections between the two clubs, with former Worcester Railers forward Connor Graham playing for Savannah. Graham’s tenure with Worcester was an odd one, with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers asking the Railers to sign him for no reason anyone can fathom after he was cut from the AHL team’s training camp in the fall of 2018. Then Railers general manager Jamie Russell signed him, played him one game, and released him. Fellow forward Max Kaufman played two seasons at Boston University, and Logan Drevitch was born in Middleboro, MA. While not really a roster connection, winger Nick Tuzzolino had two pointless games for the Portland Pirates against the WorSharks in 2010-11. For Worcester, defenseman Josh Victor played 16 games for Savannah earlier this season, with two assists and 59 penalty minutes in his stint, and Jake Pappalardo played two games without a point for the Ghost Pirates.

Saturday night was part of this writer’s “hockey free weekend” where there weren’t many notes posted, and since it was also the first time Jacksonville and Worcester played this season we’ll take a look at some roster and area connections between the two clubs too. Icemen defenseman Garret Cockerill spent four seasons at Northeastern, and fellow blueliner Brandon Fortunato spent two years at Boston University while Sean Leonard did the same at UMass-Dartmouth. Forward Christopher Brown spent four seasons at Boston College and Ryan Lohin had three at UMass-Lowell. Neil Robinson played his college hockey not far from the DCU Center with four seasons at Holy Cross. Ara Nazarian was born in Boxford, MA, and finally, former WorSharks forward Brandon Mashinter is an assistant coach for Jacksonville. For Worcester, goaltender Ken Appleby played one season for the Icemen, going 7-7-1 in 2018-19, and Jake Pappalardo played two games without a point for Jacksonville. No, that’s not an error, he played for both.

We’ve mentioned this a few times before, but the Worcester Fire Department’s hockey team is selling hockey jerseys to raise funds for their charitable activities. You can check out their selection right here. This writer has a black jersey, and the quality is amazingly good. The red and green can have a name added to the back, but not on the black as it has a flag in place of a nameplate. You can order jerseys through March 6th.

The three stars of the game were:
1. WOR – 12 Brent Beaudoin
2. WOR – 81 Anthony Repaci
3. SAV – 12 Pat Guay

The 210Sports Player of the Game was Henrik Tikkanen.

Even Strength Lines (Courtesy of WooHockey)
Repaci / Beaudoin / Fea
Bakanov / Johnson / Butler
Pappalardo / Jerry / Delmas

Brandt / McGurty
Cosgrove / Beaulieu
Breen / McCarthy

Our affiliates last night
NY Islanders 4, Winnipeg 0
Lehigh Valley 4, Bridgeport 3
Springfield 5, Charlotte 2

In the ECHL’s North Division
Norfolk 6, Wheeling 5

North Division Standings
Team points (points percentage) games in hand vs Worcester
Newfoundland 75 (.721) 2
Maine 61 (.610) 4
Reading 61 (.610) 4
Worcester 57 (.528)
Adirondack 46 (.460) 4
Trois-Rivieres 42 (.404) 2
Norfolk 30 (.278) 0

Worcester 2 1 0 – 3
Savannah 1 1 0 – 2

1st Period-1, Savannah, D’Amato 10 (Guay, Swetlikoff), 5:16. 2, Worcester, Pappalardo 2 (Johnson, Butler), 15:37 (PP). 3, Worcester, Fea 5 (Repaci), 18:03. Penalties-Corcoran Sav (high-sticking), 14:28.

2nd Period-4, Savannah, Estes 6 (Guay, Swetlikoff), 5:23. 5, Worcester, Beaudoin 15 (Repaci, McCarthy), 11:50. Penalties-No Penalties

3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal-Worcester 9-12-9-30. Savannah 11-8-9-28.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 1 / 1; Savannah 0 / 0.
Goalies-Worcester, Tikkanen 15-13-2-0 (28 shots-26 saves). Savannah, Bullion 4-12-1-1 (30 shots-27 saves).
Referees-Dominic Cadieux (3).
Linesmen-Shane Gustafson (87), Tannum Wyonzek (74).

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