Liam, Liam, Liam leads Railers to 4-3 win over Maine

The Worcester Railers and Maine Mariners played the second of four games in a row between the two clubs in an alternating venue series, and Friday night at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland Maine Liam Coughlin celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with a hat trick to help the Railers to a 4-3 win over their ECHL North Division rivals.

It was a game where Worcester made a lot of mistakes and was outplayed for huge stretches, only to have an individual effort turn the tide and result in a great scoring chance for the Railers. The first period was pretty much all Maine though, as they outshot Worcester 14-5 and led 2-0 after twenty minutes.

Maine’s first goal was by Alex-Olivier Voyer at 16:35 when Bobby Butler played some bullfighter defense in the neutral zone and neither of his linemates decided to do any backchecking. Railers netminder Ken Appleby made the initial save on Alex Kile’s bid, but Voyer was there for the putback. Cameron Askew made it the two-goal lead 1:01 later with an absolute laser over the right shoulder of Appleby.

Worcester’s best bid in the frame came on newcomer Adam Goodsir’s power play bid, and as good as the attempt was Mariners goaltender François Brassard was better.

Despite the frame being less wide open than the first-period things didn’t start off that well in the middle stanza for the Railers as halfway through the frame they were on the wrong side of the 17-7 shot totals and looked very out of sorts. It took a power play to get their offense going, and Goodsir and Coughlin hooked up to cut the Maine lead in half.

Later in the frame, Goodsir got called for the automatic delay of game minor, and while killing the man-down situation Max Johnson took a very borderline tripping penalty to put Worcester down two skaters. Goodsir came out of the box, and while it was obvious he hadn’t gotten a lot of practice with the team in penalty killing he did an awesome job of following the directions yelled to him by his teammates on the ice and just got into passing and shooting lanes.

That all worked out when Breant Beaudoin deflected a Mariners pass toward the benches and out of the zone, and Goodsir raced for the loose puck.

Currently, Beaudoin isn’t listed as getting an assist, but he absolutely deserves one, and we’ll end up with one of those scoring oddities where a player gets an assist but not a “plus” as Coughlin replaced Beaudoin on the ice before the goal was scored.

To the third period they went tied, and once again the Railers took a dumb penalty and found themselves shorthanded. In what might be the greatest individual penalty-killing effort in Worcester pro hockey history, and that is no exaggeration, Billy Jerry killed 44 seconds of that Mariners power play by keeping the puck pinned against the boards in front of the Railers bench. Much to the dismay of the Maine players and fans, referee Rocco Stachowiak continued to prompt the Mariners players on the ice to dig the puck free. And they couldn’t.

With under five minutes to go in the game Johnson took another penalty, this one well-deserved, and Worcester fans were hoping the seemingly improved penalty kill wouldn’t falter. They didn’t, and in fact, gave the Railers a 3-2 lead with their second shorthanded tally of the night.

Maine pulled Brassard for an extra attacker, but Coughlin completed his hat trick and gave Worcester an important insurance goal.

That turned out to be a big goal as the Mariners once again pulled Brassard for the extra attacker, and Worcester got a little careless looking for another empty-net goal and Chase Zieky made it 4-3 at 18:28. But that was as close as Maine would get as Worcester made it two wins in a row against the Mariners.

The two teams will meet again Saturday night at the DCU Center before returning to Portland for a Sunday matinee.

Scratches for the Railers were Phil Beaulieu, Zack Bross (IR/unknown), Christain Evers (IR/unknown), Nick Fea, Jack Quinlivan (IR/unknown), Anthony Repaci (bereavement), and Quin Ryan (IR/unknown). Henrik Tikkanen was the backup goaltender.

Earlier this week Railers General Manager Jordan Smotherman dug into the college ranks and made a couple of signings, bringing in forwards Adam Goodsir and Anthony Callin. Goodsir spent four seasons at Michigan State University before playing a graduate year at Long Island University, placing second in goals (15) and points (34) on the Sharks. Goodsir played on the Railers’ top line Friday night and for the most part, looked like he’d been there all season. Callin is the younger brother of former Worcester and current Springfield Thunderbirds forward Drew Callin and comes to the Railers after five seasons at Clarkson University.

The ECHL’s trade deadline was Thursday, and as they’ve done pretty much all season the Railers chose to stand pat on their roster and not make any exchanges. One of the obvious gaping holes in the Worcester lineup is the lack of a shutdown defenseman, and apparently, the cost of bringing one in was too high, or perhaps none were available. The third option, thinking they didn’t need one, opens a whole host of different problems, so we shall give them the benefit of the doubt for now.

One player that could be giving the Railers lineup a boost is Steve Jandric, who was signed to a PTO by Springfield earlier this season and then had that contract upgraded to an SPC in February. Jandric has been a scratch, presumably healthy, for the last nine Thunderbirds games and has sat 14 of their last 17 games. Another would be defenseman Ryan MacKinnon, who has sat for Bridgeport for their last eight games and has only played in four of the AHL Islanders’ last 26 games.

On Wednesday the Railers and DCU Center announced a five-year lease extension. That news had previously been announced at an earlier Worcester Railers Booster Club meeting, and pretty much all the info you need to know was included in their press release and in an article on MassLive so we’ll leave it at that.

The three stars of the game were
1. WOR – 7 Liam Coughlin
2. WOR – 18 Adam Goodsir
3. WOR – 16 Jacob Hayhurst

The 210Sports Player of the Game was Billy Jerry.

Even Strength Lines
Goodsir / Beaudoin / Bakanov
Hayhurst / Johnson / Butler
Vesey / Coughlin / Callin
Jerry / X / Ordoobadi

Brandt / McGurty
Cosgrove / Delmas
Victor / McCarthy

Our affiliates last night
St. Louis 5, Washington 2
Bridgeport 5, Syracuse 2
Springfield 4, Hartford 2

In the ECHL’s North Division
Wheeling 4, Norfolk 3 (OT)
Florida 7, Trois-Rivieres 5
Reading 8, Atlanta 2
Adirondack 6, Newfoundland 2

North Division Standings
Team points (points percentage) games in hand vs Worcester
Newfoundland 82 (.683) 0
Reading 72 (.621) 2
Maine 67 (.588) 3
Worcester 65 (.542)
Adirondack 57 (.483) 1
Trois-Rivieres 46 (.390) 1
Norfolk 35 (.292) 0

Worcester 0 2 2 – 4
Maine 2 0 1 – 3

1st Period-1, Maine, Voyer 16 (Kile, Duquette), 16:35. 2, Maine, Askew 12 (Wilson, Hinam), 17:36. Penalties-Master Mne (boarding), 8:19; Ordoobadi Wor (roughing), 18:51; Doherty Mne (roughing), 18:51.

2nd Period-3, Worcester, Coughlin 6 (Goodsir, Cosgrove), 12:27 (PP). 4, Worcester, Coughlin 7 (Goodsir), 18:16 (SH). Penalties-Vesey Wor (tripping), 4:46; Butler Wor (roughing), 9:46; Jerry Wor (roughing), 9:46; Ordoobadi Wor (roughing), 9:46; Askew Mne (roughing), 9:46; Chicoine Mne (tripping), 9:46; Shea Mne (slashing), 12:08; Goodsir Wor (delay of game), 15:19; Johnson Wor (tripping), 16:38.

3rd Period-5, Worcester, Hayhurst 6 16:50 (SH). 6, Worcester, Coughlin 8 17:26 (EN). 7, Maine, Zieky 13 (Chicoine), 18:28. Penalties-Vesey Wor (holding), 10:11; Johnson Wor (tripping), 15:12.

Shots on Goal-Worcester 5-6-10-21. Maine 14-8-13-35.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 1 / 2; Maine 0 / 6.
Goalies-Worcester, Appleby 12-8-1-0 (35 shots-32 saves). Maine, Brassard 13-11-1-0 (20 shots-17 saves).
Referees-Rocco Stachowiak (28).
Linesmen-Noah Merrow (57), Shane Kanaly (74).

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