Tony, Tony, Tony gives Railers 5-4 OT win over Thunder

The Worcester Railers allowed four first-period goals to the Adirondack Thunder Friday night at the DCU Center but still managed to get the game into extra time where Anthony Repaci completed his hat trick to give Worcester an improbable 5-4 win.

It was a wild opening period that saw the teams combine for 24 shots and seven goals, and unfortunately included a potentially serious injury to Adirondack goaltender Vinnie Purpura.

Things opened up well for the Railers as for the first time in six games they scored the opening goal when the rebound of Anthony Callin’s shot hit Jacob Hayhurst and went in. Referee John Lindner reviewed the goal for about five seconds before confirming the score.

Shawn Weller evened the score at 10:41 with a four-on-three power play goal when he deflected a Shane Harper shot past Worcester netminder Ken Appleby.

Adirondack took a 2-1 lead on a goal that would have likely been reviewed and disallowed in the NHL for a “missed stoppage”. Thunder defender Ryan Orgel cleared the puck out of the Adirondack zone and it hit a player on the Thunder bench and bounced back on the ice. Railers forward Steve Jandric saw it, and assuming the whistle was going to blow to end play skated nonchalantly to the bench. Only no one in striped shirts saw the puck go out of play and back onto the ice. Ryan Smith then converted on a two-on-one to make it a 2-1 score.

Colin Long made it 3-1 at 13:07 with a nice deflection through traffic, and with his team being a mess on the ice Railers head coach Jordan Smotherman called time out to rally his troops. It was Repaci who answered the call.

Repaci’s first of the game was exactly two minutes later, and it was 3-2 Thunder.

Seventy-five seconds later Repaci knotted the game with a power play goal.

With 2:07 left in the opening frame Andrei Bakanov was going for a loose puck to the left of Purpura, accidentally hitting the goaltender in the head as he skated by. Purpura went down right away, and it took a few moments for anyone to realize he was not getting back up. Trainers from both teams, along with EMTs, put Purpura on a backboard and he was stretchered off the ice as both teams gathered around him. The good news is Purpura was moving his arms and legs at different times during his being tended to. There’s been no word since on his condition.

Referee Lindner ended the period early so the teams could regroup.

When the teams returned to complete the first period before moving on to the second Harper scored on the ensuing power play to give the Thunder a 4-3 lead after one frame.

It stayed that way until halfway through the third period when Reece Newkirk scored in a wild scrum out front of Adirondack goaltender Mike Robinson.

The Railers got a power play late in the third when Travis Broughman was called for interference when he took down Brent Beaudoin in the neutral zone. This writer immediately tweeted it wasn’t interference but was in fact a slew foot, which is an automatic match penalty. Hopefully, the Railers will send that video to the ECHL for review as that is a suspendable offense.

Worcester had 41 seconds of four-on-three power play time to start overtime, but Repaci needed just 19 of those to complete his hat trick and give the Railers a much-needed two points.

The two teams will meet again Saturday night.

Scratches for the Railers were Philip Beaulieu (upper body), Christain Evers (IR/unknown), Billy Jerry, Max Johnson (IR/unknown), Connor McCarthy, Chris Ordoobadi (IR/upper body), Jack Quinlivan (IR/unknown), and Quin Ryan (IR/unknown). Henrik Tikkanen was the backup goaltender.

Earlier on Friday the Railers claimed defenseman Ryan DaSilva off waivers from the Wheeling Nailers. He was a player Booster Club President Rich Lundin and this writer urged Worcester to claim once we saw he was available. Turns out our, shall we say “encouragement”, was not needed as Railers General Manager Jordan Smotherman put in a claim almost as soon as he was able to. The ECHL’s waiver process ends at 3pm ET the day following a player’s release, so there’s almost no chance a player will be available the night he is claimed. The team and DaSilva have already been in contact and he will be arriving soon, hopefully for Saturday’s rematch against Adirondack. There’s a small backstory to the claim that perhaps we’ll tell later, but suffice it to say both sides are excited about his joining the team.

This writer thought that Anthony Rapaci’s overtime game-winner could possibly be the first time a Worcester pro player scored his hat trick goal in OT. Turns out it’s not, and I should have known that without needing too much thinking. The first time it happened was twenty years ago last Thursday, and when I type the score longtime Worcester pro hockey fans will know who did it, and how it happened: IceCats 7, Monarchs 6 OT. For those that don’t know, the IceCats scored five unanswered third-period goals against Manchester to get the game from 6-1 to 6-6, where Jeff Panzer scored his hat trick goal at 1:53 of the extra session for the wildest win in Worcester pro hockey history.

The three stars of the game were
1. WOR – 81 Anthony Repaci
2. ADK – 11 Shane Harper
3. WOR – 44 Steve Jandric

The 210Sports Player of the Game was Anthony Callin.

Even Strength Lines
Bakanov / Beaudoin / Repaci
Jandric / Coughlin / Butler
Hayhurst / Callin / Vesey
Goodsir / Newkirk / X

Brandt / McGurty
Victor / Breen
Kulakov / Delmas

Our affiliates last night
Springfield 3, Charlotte 2 OT

In the ECHL’s North Division
Maine 4, Tulsa 3 OT
Norfolk 4, Newfoundland 0
Reading 6, Trois-Rivieres 2

North Division Standings
Team points (points percentage) games in hand vs Worcester
X-Newfoundland 90 (.682) 1
X-Reading 81 (.623) 2
Maine 77 (.602) 3
Worcester 70 (.522)
Adirondack 67 (.515) 2
Trois-Rivieres 53 (.408) 2
Norfolk 43 (.326) 1

Adirondack 4 0 0 0 – 4
Worcester 3 0 1 1 – 5

1st Period-1, Worcester, Hayhurst 8 (Callin, Vesey), 6:41. 2, Adirondack, Weller 12 (Harper, Stief), 10:41 (PP). 3, Adirondack, Smith 15 (Orgel, Fleurent), 11:38. 4, Adirondack, Long 9 (Middendorf, Orgel), 13:07. 5, Worcester, Repaci 22 (Beaudoin, Bakanov), 15:07. 6, Worcester, Repaci 23 (McGurty, Beaudoin), 16:22 (PP). 7, Adirondack, Harper 22 (Orgel, Vidmar), 18:10 (PP). Penalties-Jozefek Adk (roughing), 9:02; Butler Wor (roughing), 9:02; Beaudoin Wor (hooking), 10:31; Fleurent Adk (high-sticking), 15:10; Bakanov Wor (interference on the goalkeeper), 17:53; Fleurent Adk (hooking), 18:22.

2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Butler Wor (hooking), 2:35; Brandt Wor (delay of game), 16:33.

3rd Period-8, Worcester, Newkirk 18 (Callin, McGurty), 10:17. Penalties-Slick Adk (tripping), 8:08; Hayhurst Wor (holding), 14:12; Broughman Adk (interference), 18:41.

1st OT Period-9, Worcester, Repaci 24 (Delmas, Butler), 0:19 (PP). Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal-Adirondack 10-12-7-0-29. Worcester 14-9-19-1-43.
Power Play Opportunities-Adirondack 2 / 5; Worcester 2 / 4.
Goalies-Adirondack, Purpura 2-0-0-1 (11 shots-8 saves); Robinson 2-0-2-0 (32 shots-30 saves). Worcester, Appleby 13-11-1-0 (29 shots-25 saves).
Referees-John Lindner (6).
Linesmen-Stephen Drain (52), Shane Kanaly (74).

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