Railers 6-2 win over Thunder keeps playoff chances alive

Saturday night at the DCU Center the Worcester Railers once again faced off against the Adirondack Thunder, and with their previous recent encounters not producing any wins for the Railers a regulation victory by Worcester against the Thunder was a must for the Railers to still control their own fate in the playoff race, and that’s when they got when five different Worcester players had multiple point nights in a 6-2 win.

It was “Fan Appreciation Night” for the Railers, and all the fans were really looking for was to celebrate a win, and Steve Jandric got the party started early with a goal 1:09 into the contest.

Late in the first period Jacob Hayhurst made it a 2-0 lead, with goaltender Henrik Tikkanen picking up his first point of the season with the secondary assist.

Broadcaster Tim Foley and this writer both thought it was Butler with the goal, but it was Hayhurst’s stick in front of the captain’s twig that scored the goal. You can see from the video Butler knew right away.

Myles McGurty had the only goal of the middle period, and while it wasn’t quite the rocket the highlight tweet calls it, no matter what it looked like it lit the lamp to make it 3-0.

Hayhurst’s second of the night made it 4-0. Not shown on the video is Tikkanen casually skating to the bench for an extra attacker on the delayed penalty call. That nonchalance made the Thunder forget about the skater coming off the bench. Brent Beaudoin sure didn’t.

Check out linesman Matthew Heinen’s hustle on the play. Linesmen never get enough credit when it’s due.

The Thunder grabbed the next two goals, and just seconds after this writer told perch mate Rich Lundin that the Railers should call time out, head coach Jordan Smotherman did just that. And it worked as it stalled Adirondack’s momentum.

About three minutes later, Anthony Repaci got the train back on the tracks.

With the clock winding down, Nick Fea got the fans on their feet one final time.

Worcester is now off until next Saturday when they play the first of two in Glens Falls against Adirondack to close out the regular season.

Scratches for the Railers were Philip Beaulieu (IR/upper body), Adam Goodsir, Billy Jerry, Max Johnson (IR/unknown), Connor McCarthy, Chris Ordoobadi (IR/upper body), Jack Quinlivan (IR/unknown), and Quin Ryan (IR/unknown). Ken Appleby was the backup goaltender. Christain Evers was activated off the injured reserve list, and in a move that riled up many Worcester fans general manager Jordan Smotherman released defender Josh Victor. Assuming Connor McCarthy is injured, he could have been placed on the IR list to open a spot, and if it was done with an effective date of March 30th, he would have been eligible to play next weekend.

With the win Worcester’s playoff road stays the same: two regulation wins at Adirondack next weekend. Adirondack plays twice before those contests, Easter Sunday at Maine and next Friday visiting Trois-Rivieres. The Railers can gain some leeway with Thunder losses in those games, but no matter what else happens two Worcester regulation wins and they’re in.

With the three points in the game, Anthony Repaci becomes just the second Railers player with consecutive 50-point seasons. Barry Almeida was the first. With Brent Beaudoin also over the 50-point mark that makes the third time in franchise history two Railers players were over the half-century mark in the same season. In an odd bit of kismet, Almeida was one of two former Worcester players for the Railers’ “Saturday signings” in the Fallon Health Pavilion. He was joined by former IceCats forward Shawn Heaphy, who oddly enough had 51 points in his one season in Worcester.

This writer had a long section here posting about how terrible referee Tatu Kunto was in the game, but no matter how many times it was edited it read like the rantings of a crazed lunatic. So we’ll just say Kunto was terrible and leave it at that. Had Worcester not won everything in the post would have likely sounded that way, so it probably would have been included.

In AHL action last night, the Bridgeport Islanders were eliminated from Calder Cup contention. That should make guys like Collin Adams, Blade Jenkins, Jimmy Lambert, Ryan MacKinnon, and Reece Newkirk available for next weekend’s must-win games in Adirondack. If Bridgeport doesn’t make some of those players available the Railers need to re-examine their partnership with the Islanders for next season. If general manager Jordan Smotherman can’t find a way to get those guys on to the roster if they’re made available, then they need to rethink that relationship too.

With the Railers wearing their orange jerseys this season for the final time, that means this post is the last occasion the orange fifth-anniversary graphic will be used in a game post. Some people didn’t notice the color of the graphic used in posts matches the jersey Worcester wears, and many only found out yesterday about it. It doesn’t seem like that should have been difficult to figure out, especially when you look at what specialty jerseys the team wears and what the game graphic looks like. But in any case, it will be blue or white the rest of the way.

The three stars of the game were
1. WOR – 16 Jacob Hayhurst
2. WOR – 44 Steve Jandric
3. WOR – 27 Myles McGurty

The 210Sports Player of the Game was Anthony Repaci.

Even Strength Lines
Bakanov / Beaudoin / Repaci
Jandric / Hayhurst / Butler
Vesey / Callin / Fea
Delmas / Coughlin / X

Brandt / McGurty
Cosgrove / DaSilva
Kulakov / Evers
Delmas was listed on the line sheet as the seventh defenseman, but he took all his shifts at forward.

Our affiliates last night
NY Islanders 4, Philadelphia 0
Minnesota 5, St. Louis 3
Lehigh Valley 4, Springfield 3
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 8, Bridgeport 2

In the ECHL’s North Division
Norfolk 5, Reading 1
Newfoundland 4, Trois-Rivieres 1

North Division Standings
Team points (points percentage) games in hand vs Worcester
X-Newfoundland 96 (.696) 1
X-Reading 84 (.609) 1
X-Maine 81 (.596) 2
Worcester 72 (.515)
Adirondack 71 (.522) 2
Trois-Rivieres 57 (.413) 1
Norfolk 45 (.326) 1

Adirondack 0 0 2 – 2
Worcester 2 1 3 – 6

1st Period-1, Worcester, Jandric 8 (Cosgrove, Da Silva), 1:09. 2, Worcester, Hayhurst 9 (Jandric, Tikkanen), 18:24. Penalties-Repaci Wor (kneeing), 19:04.

2nd Period-3, Worcester, McGurty 2 (Repaci, Kulakov), 16:06. Penalties-Da Silva Wor (tripping), 3:14; Grasso Adk (slashing), 19:20; McGurty Wor (elbowing), 19:20.

3rd Period-4, Worcester, Hayhurst 10 (Beaudoin, Repaci), 0:38. 5, Adirondack, Stief 3 (Weller, Harper), 3:13 (PP). 6, Adirondack, Smith 16 (Chukarov, Weller), 6:42. 7, Worcester, Repaci 26 (Beaudoin, McGurty), 9:41. 8, Worcester, Fea 7 (Vesey), 17:39. Penalties-Evers Wor (interference), 1:43; Repaci Wor (holding the stick), 2:18; Jozefek Adk (roughing), 8:49; Jandric Wor (roughing), 8:49; Da Silva Wor (interference), 10:04.

Shots on Goal-Adirondack 10-9-14-33. Worcester 12-8-10-30.
Power Play Opportunities-Adirondack 1 / 5; Worcester 0 / 0.
Goalies-Adirondack, Robinson 2-1-2-0 (30 shots-24 saves). Worcester, Tikkanen 18-16-3-0 (33 shots-31 saves).
Referees-Tatu Kunto (17).
Linesmen-Sam Schildkraut (46), Matthew Heinen (93).

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