Railers silence Growlers with 3-1 win

The Worcester Railers returned from a six-game, 12 day road trip Friday night with the first of a pair of contests against the ECHL North Division leading Newfoundland Growlers at the DCU Center and used a three-point night from Jacob Hayhurst and a stellar performance in net by goaltender Ken Appleby to defeat Newfoundland 3-1.

It seems like it wouldn’t be a Railers game without them allowing a goal in the first minute of a period, and they got their usual blunder out of the way early as Nolan Walker scored just 37 seconds into the contest when the Growlers converted on an Anthony Repaci turnover and Worcester was slow to transition from offense to defense.

That wouldn’t be the last mistake Worcester made in the game, but it would be the last one that ended up in the net behind Appleby as he stopped the next 24 shots he faced.

The Railers were outshooting Newfoundland at almost a two-to-one margin but weren’t having much luck in beating Growlers netminder Luke Cavallin until captain Bobby Butler threw a floating shot toward the net that seemed to fool Cavallin.

Heading into the second period the next goal would be big in determining momentum, and it was Nick Fea and the Railers with a goal of their own in the opening minute of the frame to make it a 2-1 contest. There was a little luck involved, but they all count the same.

Even with a depleted roster, Newfoundland has an explosive line, and Hayhurst’s highlight-level goal at 8:35 gave Worcester some breathing room.

Thanks to Applyby and Cavallin that would be all the scoring, which unfortunately wasn’t good for Repaci, who saw his 14-game points streak snapped when his desperation 130-foot bid at the Newfoundland empty net went wide.

Scratches for the Railers were Conor Breen, Zack Bross (IR/unknown), Christain Evers (IR/unknown), Chris Ordoobadi, Jack Quinlivan (IR/unknown), Quin Ryan, and Nolan Vesey (IR/unknown). Henrik Tikkanen was the backup goaltender. Earlier this week Collin Adams was activated from injured reserve and was recalled by Bridgeport, and Timothy Faulkner and Paul Boutoussov were released by Worcester. Ryan was originally listed on the line sheet on the top line but was scratched just before warmups, which put defenseman Noah Delmas in the lineup playing as a forward.

The media kit for the game listed both Dominic Cadieux and Casey Terreri as referees, but only Cadieux was on the ice to start the game. A quick look at the AHL box scores shows that Terreri was in Utica for the Comets’ game against the Charlotte Checkers. By the time this writer got home to take another look at the day’s media kits both the AHL and ECHL had taken them offline and had Saturday’s kits ready to roll. A gander at social media didn’t reveal any reason for the switch. Just Cadieux is listed for the Growlers/Railers matchup on Saturday while Terreri is listed as officiating the AHL game in Lehigh Valley.

You don’t see linesmen make too many mistakes, but both Sam Schildkraut and Matthew Heinen had a goof with the Railers killing off a penalty early in the second period. The Railers had been called for too many men, we won’t get into if that was a good call or not, and after a brief invasion of the Newfoundland zone Brent Beaudoin passed the puck back into the defensive zone to Josh Voctor, who lazily fired it back down toward the other end. Linesman Heinen, apparently forgetting Worcester was shorthanded, raised his arm to call icing. Following his lead, linesman Schildkraut blew the whistle. Then they both realized their error. The face-off was then held at center ice, with no harm, no foul.

Railers head coach Jordan Smotherman appears weekly on 100.1 FM The Pike with Mike Hsu, and while we don’t usually mention it this interview was so funny it’s worth noting. The fact that Smotherman has been involved in three ice rink fires is both amazing and humorous.

The three stars of the game were:
1. WOR – 16 Jacob Hayhurst
2. WOR – 8 Bobby Butler
3. WOR – 35 Ken Appleby

The 210Sports Player of the Game was Nick Fea.

Even Strength Lines
Fea / Beaudoin / Repaci
Johnson / Hayhurst / Butler
Bakanov / Coughlin / Jerry
Delmas / X / Pappalardo

Brandt / McGurty
Victor / McCarthy
Beaulieu / Cosgrove

Our affiliates last night
Springfield 1, Hartford 0 (SO)

In the ECHL’s North Division
Greenville 6, Norfolk 4
Adirondack 5, Jacksonville 2
Reading 7, Trois-Rivieres 5

North Division Standings
Team points (points percentage) games in hand vs Worcester
Newfoundland 75 (.694) 1
Maine 63 (.618) 4
Reading 63 (.618) 4
Worcester 59 (.536)
Adirondack 50 (.481) 3
Trois-Rivieres 42 (.396) 2
Norfolk 30 (.273) 0

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

1st Period-1, Newfoundland, Walker 12 (O’Brien, Kruse), 0:37. 2, Worcester, Butler 15 (Hayhurst, Brandt), 17:57. Penalties-Skirving Nfl (slashing), 4:30; Cosgrove Wor (high-sticking), 8:21.

2nd Period-3, Worcester, Fea 6 (Hayhurst), 0:49. 4, Worcester, Hayhurst 5 (Butler), 8:35. Penalties-served by Butler Wor (bench – too many men), 1:50.

3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Brandt Wor (hooking), 8:28; Walker Nfl (tripping), 12:17.

Shots on Goal-Newfoundland 7-10-8-25. Worcester 14-14-7-35.
Power Play Opportunities-Newfoundland 0 / 3; Worcester 0 / 2.
Goalies-Newfoundland, Cavallin 19-8-0-0 (35 shots-32 saves). Worcester, Appleby 10-7-1-0 (25 shots-24 saves).
Referees-Dominic Cadieux (3).
Linesmen-Sam Schildkraut (46), Matthew Heinen (93).

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