WORCESTER – The Worcester Railers hosted the Adirondack Thunder for a rare Monday night contest at the DCU Center in game six of their best of seven series hoping for a win to extend the series to a final game in Glens Falls on Wednesday

Things started off on the wrong foot for the Railers early when Paul Rodrigues collected a turnover in the neutral zone and broke in all alone on Worcester goaltender Eamon McAdam. Rodrigues threw a nice deke on McAdam, and then flipped a backhander over the netminder’s glove and in for an unassisted shorthanded goal at 8:27 of the first period.

As that same Railers power play was winding down Matty Gaudreau fired a shot on goal and then headed directly for the Worcester bench to be replaced by a defenseman. The puck deflected over to Barry Almeida, who fired a laser from the right wind circle past Thunder goaltender Olivier Mantha just as the power play expired at 9:09 to knot the game 1-1. Kellen Jones had the secondary assist.

The old hockey adage says a team should never give up a goal in the first and last minute of a period, and unfortunately for Worcester they did just that in the waning seconds of the opening period when Desmond Bergin beat McAdam up high from about 30 feet out. The puck hit the crossbar and bounded almost straight down. Despite the protests of the Railers the goal stood and it was 2-1 after one period.

While the ECHL does not have video replay of goals that didn’t stop Worcester from showing the disputed goal several times on the large Daktronics board. At full speed and in slow motion it was hard to tell if the puck actually crossed the goal line. Many folks from that end of the building and those sitting in the 200 sections all were convinced the puck did indeed cross the line.

Just before the start of the second period many of those assembled on press row watched a super slow motion replay, going frame by frame of the shot and goal. The puck definitely appears to land on its edge beyond the goal line. From this writer’s perspective, it was good goal.

From that point on it was a lot of Adirondack sitting on the lead and the Railers shooting themselves in the foot as they fell into some of the bad habits the team had earlier in the season. Worcester’s last gasp came as time was winding down in the third period, but a bad pass and a bouncing puck ended up on the stick of Mike Szmatula, whose unassisted empty net goal ended the Railers season with a 3-1 loss.

RAILERS NOTES

Scratches for Worcester were Frankie DiChiara, Chris Langkow (lower body), Tommy Panico, Jake Randolph, and T.J. Syner. Mitch Gillam was the back-up goaltender.

It’s shame the Railers couldn’t extend their season into the next round as Chris Langkow, who suffered a knee injury on March 17th, had recently started skating. He likely would not have been available for a game seven, but would probably been good to go at some point in the next series. You can add that to the list of “what could have been”.

Upon further review…Saturday’s win by the Railers included some Worcester pro hockey firsts, starting with the win itself being the first time a city team has won a playoff game after being down by three goals. Nick Saracino’s hat trick was the first playoff hat trick for a city pro team, and Eamon McAdam became the first Worcester pro goaltender to win a playoff game in relief.

The loss drops Worcester pro teams to 4-14 in elimination games, and to 2-6 in game sixes. Hopefully the 2018-19 season will see improvements in those numbers.

The three stars of the game were

1) Desmond Bergin (Adirondack #37), game winning goal

2) Barry Almeida (Railers #19), goal

3) Olivier Mantha (Adirondack #31), win

The TWIW Player of the Game was Matty Gaudreau.

Even strength lines

Jones / Kubiak / Almeida

Saracino / Holmstrom / Lane

Gaudreau / Willick / Hudson

Turcotte

MacKinnon / Cornell

Doherty / Hamonic

Masella / McKenzie

BOX SCORE

Adirondack 2 0 1 – 3

Worcester 1 0 0 – 1

1st Period-1, Adirondack, Rodrigues 2 8:27 (SH). 2, Worcester, Almeida 3 (Jones, Gaudreau), 9:09. 3, Adirondack, Bergin 1 (Szmatula), 19:57. Penalties-Riley Adk (slashing), 7:08.

2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Henry Adk (hooking), 5:01; MacKinnon Wor (slashing), 17:58; Kubiak Wor (cross-checking), 19:49.

3rd Period-4, Adirondack, Szmatula 2 19:15 (EN). Penalties-Almeida Wor (tripping), 3:04; Riley Adk (high-sticking), 5:52; White Adk (slashing), 13:08.

Shots on Goal-Adirondack 8-10-7-25. Worcester 6-12-10-28.

Power Play Opportunities-Adirondack 0 / 3; Worcester 0 / 4.

Goalies-Adirondack, Mantha (28 shots-27 saves). Worcester, McAdam (24 shots-22 saves).

A-2,523

Referees-Alex Garon (9), Jeremy Tufts (6).

Linesmen-Michael Fusani (41), Kyle Richtelle (73).

The Worcester Railers faced the Adirondack Thunder Saturday night at the Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls, New York in game five of their best of seven series trailing three games to one hoping to keep their season alive, and in what many are calling the greatest playoff game a Worcester pro hockey team has ever played the Railers stunned the Thunder 6-5 to send the series back to Worcester for game six on Monday.

It was important for the Railers, who had only scored three goals against Adirondack goaltender MacKenzie Blackwood all series, to get off to a good start against the Thunder and they did just that 35 seconds into the contest when Nick Saracino fired a centering pass to Josh Holmstrom in the slot. Holmstrom’s shot beat Blackwood clean for the 1-0 lead. Matt Lane had the second assists on the play

Just over a minute later there was a scary moment when Railers forward Kellen Jones was tripped up on a rush on the Adirondack goal and slid into Blackwood’s left knee. The netminder went down awkwardly, and could not continue. There was no official word on his condition released, but a source close to the Thunder indicated Blackwood would undergo an MRI Monday to determine the extent of the damage. Olivier Mantha entered the game in relief.

The Thunder could have folded right there, but instead the regular season North Division winners picked up their pace. Adirondack tied the score at 6:52 after Ryan Schmelzer skated through the Worcester defense down low and flipped a high backhander over Mitch Gillam for a power play score, and then they took the lead at 7:55 when Mike Bergin was all alone in front and fired one top shelf.

It got worse for the Railers at 12:14 as the Thunder connected for their second power play marker of the stanza when a Railers defenseman accidentally kicked the puck into his own net. The goal was credited to Shane Conacher. And in what should have probably been the killing blow Tim Harrison scored an unassisted goal at 5:49 of the second period to put Worcester down 4-1.

While that would be all for Gillam that wouldn’t be all for the Railers, who began their improbable comeback at 6:58 when Saracino snatched a loose puck from a scrum in front of the Thunder net and skated a couple strides, firing one over Mantha to cut the deficit to two. Justin Hamonic’s shot into the pile of players that hit Holmstrom earned the both assists on the goal.

Matty Gaudreau got Worcester within one when he hit the top corner over Mantha for a power tally at at 11:55, with helpers from Jones and Ryan MacKinnon, and Lane would stun the Adirondack crowd to silence exactly a minute later after Woody Hudson forced a turnover at the Thunder blue line that Lane carried into the zone on an odd man rush and fired over Mantha to make it 4-4.

Unfortunately the Railers needed to make another comeback as just 19 seconds into the third period Brian Ward tipped a high shot past Eamon McAdam to give the Thunder a 5-4 lead.

It didn’t take too long for Worcester to get back to even as Saracino once again came through for his team when he skated down the left wing side and outwaited Mantha, firing the puck short side at 3:22 to make the game 5-5. Barry Almeida had the assist on the goal.

Saracino would then register the first hat trick in Railers history with a power play score at 14:02 when he fired a high shot over Mantha that lit the lamp. Tommy Panico and Holmstrom earned the assists on the goal.

McAdam stood tall the rest of the way, weathering everything the Thunder threw at him to give the Railers the unlikely 6-5 win. Game six s at the DCU Center Monday night, with a 7:05pm scheduled puck drop.

RAILERS NOTES

Scratches for Worcester were Mike Cornell (unknown injury), Frankie DiChiara, Chris Langkow (lower body), Jake Randolph, and T.J. Syner. Eamon McAdam began the game as the back-up goaltender.

If you consider yourself a hockey fan and you haven’t seen a game at the Cool Insuring Arena, formerly known as the Glens Falls Civic Center, you’re really missing out. Opened in 1979 in has some of the best sight lines in hockey, with it’s very step seating sections allowing for great views. It has the “old hockey barn” feel, with a lot of standing room along the promenade at the top of the seating section.

At points in the game it was hard to tell which squad was the home team. While the 75 or so Railers fans in attendance were vastly outnumbered there were times, especially after Lane’s tying goal and both of Saracino’s third period tallies, that it seemed like there was 7,500 Worcester fans in the building. And, according to many players post game, the team noticed.

With the win Saturday the record for Worcester pro hockey teams in games where they can be eliminated improved to games 4-13, and their record in game fives went to 7-4.

The three stars of the game were

1) Nick Saracino (Railers #18), hat trick, assist

2) Josh Holmstrom (Railers #11), goal, two assists

3) Brian Ward (Adirondack #22) goal

The TWIW Player of the Game was Matt Lane.

Even strength lines

Jones / Kubiak / Almeida

Saracino / Holmstrom / Lane

Gaudreau / Willick / Hudson

Turcotte

MacKinnon / McKenzie

Doherty / Hamonic

Masella / Panico

BOX SCORE

Worcester 1 3 2 – 6

Adirondack 3 1 1 – 5

1st Period-1, Worcester, Holmstrom 1 (Saracino, Lane), 0:35. 2, Adirondack, Schmelzer 3 (Bergin, Henry), 6:52 (PP). 3, Adirondack, Bergin 1 (Rodrigues, Riley), 7:55. 4, Adirondack, Conacher 1 (Henry, White), 12:14 (PP). Penalties-Jones Wor (delay of game), 5:41; Schmelzer Adk (holding), 8:17; Turcotte Wor (boarding), 11:04; MacKinnon Wor (slashing), 19:23.

2nd Period-5, Adirondack, Harrison 2   5:49. 6, Worcester, Saracino 1 (Hamonic, Holmstrom), 6:58. 7, Worcester, Gaudreau 1 (Jones, MacKinnon), 11:55 (PP). 8, Worcester, Lane 1 (Hudson), 12:55. Penalties-Bergin Adk (hooking), 10:31; Bergin Adk (roughing), 17:46.

3rd Period-9, Adirondack, Ward 4 (Brodeur, Wallin), 0:19. 10, Worcester, Saracino 2 (Almeida), 3:32. 11, Worcester, Saracino 3 (Panico, Holmstrom), 14:02 (PP). Penalties-Turcotte Wor (charging), 6:31; Bergin Adk (holding), 12:31.

Shots on Goal-Worcester 7-13-6-26. Adirondack 10-8-15-33.

Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 2 / 4; Adirondack 2 / 4.

Goalies-Worcester, Gillam (14 shots-10 saves); McAdam (19 shots-18 saves). Adirondack, Blackwood (1 shots-0 saves); Mantha (25 shots-20 saves).

A-3,609

Referees-Jesse Gour (24), Matt Menniti (10).

Linesmen-JP Waleski (51), Kyle Richtelle (73).

 

The Worcester Railers headed to Glens Falls, New York to take on the Adirondack Thunder at the Cool Insuring Arena Wednesday night in game four of their best of seven series trailing two games to one and looking for the equalizer.

The Railers started off strong, but a brain cramp too many men on the ice penalty on Worcester gave the Thunder an opportunity to compose themselves. The Railers killed that off and began to rebuild the momentum, but a bad bounce put them down a goal when Ryan Schmelzer fired the puck toward the Worcester net from the left sidewall, and the shot deflected off Matty Gaudreau’s skate and through the five-hole of Eamon McAdam at 8:07 of the first. Paul Rodrigues and Mike Bergin were credited with the assists.

The goal seemed to take the wind out of the Railers sails, but by the end of period Worcester looked to back on track. The Thunder outshot the Railers 10-8 in the opening twenty minutes.

The start of the second period was once again all Adirondack, and McAdam made several key stops to keep Worcester within one. Near the midpoint of the period the Thunder took a bad penalty, and Barry Almeida made them pay when he banged home a Gaudreau shot at 11:12 to knot the score 1-1. Kellen Jones had the second assist.

It was the first time in the series a team that was trailing rallied back to tie the score.

That tie didn’t last long as just over a minute and a half later Bergin fired fired a shot on goal that Brian Ward tipped, deflecting the puck over McAdam’s shoulder and just under the crossbar at 12:44 for the 2-1 Thunder lead. Mathieu Brodeur had the second helper. Adirondack outshot Worcester again in period number two, 13-9.

In the third period the Railers threw everything they had at Thunder netminder Mackenzie Blackwood, but couldn’t get another past him to tie the game for a second time as Worcester lost 2-1 and now trails Adirondack three games to one.

The two teams will square on in game five on Saturday in Glens Falls. It’s do or die for the Railers, as another loss in this series sends them home for the summer.

RAILERS NOTES

Scratches for Worcester were Mike Cornell (unknown injury/day to day), Frankie DiChiara, Chris Langkow (21-day IR/lower body), Jake Randolph and T.J. Syner. Mitch Gillam was the back-up goaltender. With the Sound Tigers season over on Monday Bridgeport loaned forwards Kellen Jones and Josh Holmstrom to the Railers. Defenseman Patrick Cullity was also eligible to be assigned to Worcester, but was not.

The Railers are now at their playoff roster maximum of 23, and will not be allowed to add any more players unless they have less than two healthy goaltenders and/or 16 healthy skaters of any position. Should that happen the Railers could sign players to amateur try out contracts (ATOs) to fill in the roster.

Upon further review…a couple of missed factoids from earlier in the series. First off, Mitch Gillam’s shutout in game two was just the fourth in Worcester pro hockey history in the playoffs. Brent Johnson and Dwayne Roloson both have one, while Thomas Greiss has two. Secondly, Barry Almeida’s empty net goal in the same game was the 250th in Worcester pro hockey playoff history.

The three stars of the game were

1) Brain Ward (Adirondack #22), goal

2) Dylan Olsen (Adirondack #5), no idea why

3) Mike Bergin (Adirondack #2), two assists

The TWIW Player of the Game is Eamon McAdam.

Even strength lines

Jones / Kubiak / Almeida

Saracino / Holmstrom / Lane

Gaudreau / Willick / Hudson

Turcotte

MacKinnon / McKenzie

Doherty / Hamonic

Masella / Panico

BOX SCORE

Worcester 0 1 0 – 1

Adirondack 1 1 0 – 2

1st Period-1, Adirondack, Schmelzer 2 (Rodrigues, Bergin), 8:07. Penalties-served by Saracino Wor (bench – too many men), 3:35.

2nd Period-2, Worcester, Almeida 2 (Gaudreau, Jones), 11:12 (PP). 3, Adirondack, Ward 3 (Bergin, Brodeur), 12:44. Penalties-Ward Adk (high-sticking), 2:54; Bergin Adk (high-sticking), 10:16; Doherty Wor (roughing), 17:38.

3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Ward Adk (slashing), 6:49; Gaudreau Wor (holding), 8:38; Holmstrom Wor (holding), 8:56.

Shots on Goal-Worcester 8-9-12-29. Adirondack 10-13-5-28.

Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 1 / 3; Adirondack 0 / 4.

Goalies-Worcester, McAdam (28 shots-26 saves). Adirondack, Blackwood (29 shots-28 saves).

A-2,718

Referees-Andrea Barone (15), Chris Pontes (12).

Linesmen-Michael Fusani (41), Kyle Richtelle (73).

WORCESTER – The Worcester Railers took on the Adirondack Thunder late Sunday afternoon at the DCU Center in game three of their best of seven series looking to keep their home ice advantage intact and grab a one game lead in the series.

Railers head coach Jamie Russell began the game with a curveball, starting Eamon McAdam in goal as opposed to going with Saturday night’s shutout winner Mitch Gillam. Since neither was likely to score a goal in the long run the change likely didn’t matter.

Adirondack did get one past McAdam early, but thanks to a quick whistle that goal didn’t count. Unfortunately for Railers fans the next time the red lights went on it did count. McAdam made a couple saves in the flurry but in such close quarters couldn’t control any of the rebounds. The third rebound skipped away from the pile and Brian Ward had an essentially empty net to hit at 10:51. Kenton Miller and Dylan Olson had the assists on the goal.

Adirondack would eventually have 18 shots in that first period, four more than the 14 they had all game on Saturday.

In the second period Woody Hudson was called for about as questionable a tripping penalty that you can see, and after Worcester made the kill and looked like they were ready to break out of their zone a turnover ended up in the back of their net. Ward collected a bad pass by the Railers defense and slid it over to Mike Szmatula, whose shot beat McAdam clean from about fifteen feet out at 2:48 for a 2-0 Thunder lead.

Jeff Kubiak got Worcester back to within one on a nice individual rush down the left wing side. As Kubiak skated across the zone heading for the net Thunder netminder Mackenzie Blackwood came off the post just a touch, and Kubiak found the opening at 6:23 to make it 2-1. T.J. Syner and Connor Doherty had the helpers.

The Railers thought they had tied the game at 10:14 when Syner put one in while the net was falling forward after an Adirondack player leaned on the net from behind the goal line. After conferring the officials ruled the net was off the pegs and waved the goal off. The video replay, shown on the Daktronics board but not usable for official review purposes in the ECHL, seems to contradict the ruling. Even so, had they been correct they should have given the Thunder a delay of game minor.

The officials then compounded their errors by moving the face-off outside the Adirondack zone.

The game would continue with the 2-1 score until late in to the third period when Worcester pulled McAdam for the extra attacker, and after several good opportunities for the Railers, the Thunder put the game away with an empty net goal by Ryan Schmelzer for the 3-1 final.

Games four and five will be in Glens Falls, New York on Wednesday and Saturday. Should game six be necessary it will be Monday at the DCU Center.

RAILERS NOTES

Scratches for the Railers were Mike Cornell (unknown injury), Frankie DiChiara, and Chris Langkow (21-day IR/lower body). Mitch Gillam was the back-up goaltender.

The DJs at the Railers games have been known to take some creative license in the songs being played as the opponents enter the ice, and for the first time during the Railers era their sense of humor was on full display as the Chicken Dance was played for Adirondack in celebration of Yanick Turcotte’s gesture to the Thunder bench on Saturday’s game.

Speaking of music, guitarist Jon Berman played an interesting folk version of the national anthem before the game. This writer is one that prefers the song to be sung in the correct key and tempo, but Berman’s take on the anthem was very nice, and was well received by the crowd.

Worcester Railers Booster Club President Rich Lundin says the club is still looking for the person with the winning ticket to their 50/50 raffle on April 8th that benefited the Humboldt Broncos and their families. Lundin said that if the winning ticket holder wanted to donate the winner’s share of the pot, $1210, to the cause they still need to claim the prize to do so. Under Massachusetts law the Booster Club can’t donate an unclaimed winner’s share to charity until one full year passes. The winning ticket was a blue ticket, #538451.

The three stars of the game were

1) Brain Ward (Adirondack #22), goal, assist

2) Jeff Kubiak (Railers #16), goal

3) Mackenzie Blackwood (Adirondack #29), 28 save win

The TWIW Player of the Game was Kyle McKenzie

Even strength lines

Saracino / Kubiak / Almeida

Randolph / Lane / Gaudreau

Turcotte / Willick / Hudson

Syner

MacKinnon / McKenzie

Doherty / Hamonic

Panico / Masella

BOX SCORE

Adirondack 1 1 1 – 3

Worcester 0 1 0 – 1

1st Period-1, Adirondack, Ward 2 (Miller, Olsen), 10:51 (PP). Penalties-Doherty Wor (roughing), 9:10; Bergin Adk (cross-checking), 11:10.

2nd Period-2, Adirondack, Szmatula 1 (Ward), 2:48. 3, Worcester, Kubiak 1 (Syner, Doherty), 6:23. Penalties-Hudson Wor (tripping), 0:42; Rodrigues Adk (tripping), 7:30; Miller Adk (holding), 19:26.

3rd Period-4, Adirondack, Schmelzer 1 19:47 (EN). Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal-Adirondack 18-10-8-36. Worcester 10-10-9-29.

Power Play Opportunities-Adirondack 1 / 2; Worcester 0 / 3.

Goalies-Adirondack, Blackwood (29 shots-28 saves). Worcester, McAdam (35 shots-33 saves).

A-4,216

Referees-Sean Fernandez (21), Sean MacFarlane (4).

Linesmen-Jarred Mitrano (86), Kyle Richtelle (73).

 

WORCESTER – The Worcester Railers continued their best of seven Kelly Cup playoff series Saturday night against the Adirondack Thunder trailing 1-0, hoping that the home ice of the DCU Center would help them to even the series.

Worcester began the game not having scored a goal in 124:17 of game play going back into the regular season, and after a scoreless opening twenty minutes it was starting to look like the Railers would need a lucky bounce to get things rolling.

It wasn’t like they didn’t have chances in the first period, they actually had the best opportunity of the stanza just 3:30 into the contest when Matt Lane broke in all alone on Thunder goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood. Lane made a great move but Blackwood was able to flash the right pad out at the last season to spoil the bid.

In the second period the Railers did in fact get that lucky bounce they were looking for when Dylan Willick and Woody Hudson crashed the side of the Adirondack net fighting for control of a loose puck. Blackwood thought he had the near post covered, but Hudson was able to jam the puck home at 7:40 to give Worcester its first lead of the series. Yanick Turcotte had the second assist on the play.

A little later things started to get chippy, and after a couple minutes of both teams pushing and shoving things seemed to calm down until Turcotte stepped off the bench. The altercation flared up a bit, and Turcotte challenged the Thunder bench to join him on the ice to settle the matter. There were no takers, and while the linesmen were escorting Turcotte to the penalty box Turcotte began flapping his arms like a chicken toward the Adirondack players, much to the delight of the home fans in attendance.

It stayed a one goal game, mostly thanks to Railers netminder Mitch Gillam, until late in the third period when Hudson took an ill-advised roughing minor, giving Adirondack a power play with 2:33 left in regulation. They would eventually pull Blackwood to skate with a six on four advantage, but Barry Almeida eliminated all the suspense when he collected a loose puck and skated in alone on the empty net, scoring with 46 seconds remaining for the 2-0 Worcester win to even the series at a game a piece..

Game three of the series is Sunday at 5pm at the DCU Center.

RAILERS NOTES

Scratches for the Railers were Frankie DiChiara, Chris Langkow (21-day IR/lower body), and Kyle McKenzie (unknown injury). Eamon McAdam was the back-up goaltender. Captain Mike Cornell was not on the Worcester bench for the third period, which could be an issue for Sunday.

Despite the now 21 year pro hockey history in Worcester playoff success has been essentially unheard of in these parts. Between the IceCats and WorSharks they reached the second round only six times, and neither franchise made it to round three. In fact, it has been almost eight years since since a Worcester team has led in a playoff series, that being the WorSharks 1-0 lead over the Manchester Monarchs in the 2010 AHL Calder Cup Divisional Finals when they won 4-3 on April 25th. Before tonight that was also the last time a Worcester pro team won a playoff game at the DCU Center.

With the win Worcester pro hockey teams are now 10-10 in game twos in playoff series. While that record isn’t good the city pro hockey teams have had much worse game threes, going 7-12 in those contests.

Taking a look at some of the Worcester pro career playoff records, the IceCats’ Jame Pollock leads the way with 23 career points. Bob Lachance and Dan DaSilva tie for second at 18, with DaSilva holding the WorSharks career mark. Pollock also holds the goals record of nine, the assists record of 14, and the games played record of 33. Frazer McLaren has the penalty minute mark at 87. For goaltender wins Brent Johnson leads the way at eight.

The three stars of the game were

1) Mitch Gillam (Railers #35), 14 save shutout win

2) Woody Hudson (Railers #23), goal

3) Yanick Turcotte (Railers #20), assist

The TWIW Player of the Game was Connor Doherty.

Even strength lines

Saracino / Kubiak / Almeida

Randolph / Lane / Gaudreau

Syner / Willick / Hudson

Turcotte

MacKinnon / Cornell

Doherty / Hamonic

Panico / Masella

BOX SCORE

Adirondack 0 0 0 – 0

Worcester 0 1 1 – 2

1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-No Penalties

2nd Period-1, Worcester, Hudson 1 (Willick, Turcotte), 7:40. Penalties-Rodrigues Adk (cross-checking), 8:37; Hudson Wor (high-sticking), 10:23; Riley Adk (roughing), 12:27; Doherty Wor (roughing), 12:27; Turcotte Wor (roughing), 12:27; Riley Adk (holding), 18:17.

3rd Period-2, Worcester, Almeida 1 19:14 (SH EN). Penalties-Masella Wor (boarding), 9:28; Hudson Wor (roughing), 17:23.

Shots on Goal-Adirondack 4-6-4-14. Worcester 10-11-6-27.

Power Play Opportunities-Adirondack 0 / 4; Worcester 0 / 2.

Goalies-Adirondack, Blackwood (26 shots-25 saves). Worcester, Gillam (14 shots-14 saves).

A-4,108

Referees-Matt Menniti (10), Peter Schlittenhardt (23).

Linesmen-AJ Potvin (78), Nathan Frechette (30).

The Worcester Railers kicked off their chase for the ECHL’s Kelly Cup Friday night at the Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls, New York with game one of their best of seven series against the Adirondack Thunder looking to keep the momentum of their playoff clinching run going.

Early on it was fairly even as both squads looked to set the tone, and unfortunately for the Railers it was the Thunder that struck first when defenseman Dylan Olsen wristed a knuckleball of a shot from the left point. The puck deflected off of Yanick Turcotte, and as it continued towards the net it changed direction once again when it banked off Adirondack forward Tim Harrison and past Worcester goaltender Mitch Gillam at 8:58. Austin Orszulak had the second helper.

Despite being outshot 8-5 the Thunder territoriality controlled much of the rest of the period but the Railers were able to escape the period down just a single goal.

It didn’t get much better for Worcester in the second period as Adirondack took advantage of a borderline call and a big non-call to take a two goal lead. The Thunder got a power play chance when after a large scrum Barry Almeida inexplicably was the only player penalized, and Paul Rodrigues followed with a goal as Gillam was clearly interfered with. Despite there being two referees in the ECHL playoffs neither saw Gillam being bumped and the goal stood at 7:54. Ryan Schmelzer and Desmond Bergin had the assists.

The third period brought more of the same for Worcester as Adirondack took a three goal lead when Brian Ward fired a rebound from the corner off a still down Gillam and into the net at 5:50. James Henry and Olsen had the helpers. That was more than enough for Thunder goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood as the Railers dropped game one 3-0.

The two teams play game two Saturday night at the DCU Center at 7pm.

RAILERS NOTES

Scratches for the Railers were Connor Doherty, Chris Langkow (21-day IR/lower body), and Jake Randolph. There was a wave of Worcester transactions prior to the Monday deadline for ECHL teams to have their playoff rosters in to the league offices. The Railers released defenseman Josh McArdle, forwards Maurizio Colella and Dwyer Tschantz, and goaltender Will King. Bridgeport then assigned Jeff Kubiak and Ryan MacKinnon to Worcester, and the New York Islanders assigned Eamon McAdam to the Railers. McAdam was the back-up goaltender.

Worcester’s playoff roster doesn’t include Tommy Kelley and Josh Monk so we’ll no longer be listing them as injury scratches. The roster did include Kellen Jones, Patrick Cullity, and Josh Holmstrom, and those players are available to be assigned to Worcester and play in the Kelly Cup playoffs when the Sound Tigers season is over. It also included Chris Langkow, which essentially dispels the rumor of his injury being a torn ACL. Word is Langkow will likely not be available for the first round.

Woody Hudson became the tenth player in Worcester pro hockey history since the IceCats era to fall just short of the 20 goal plateau with his 19 regular season tallies. That actually bodes well for Hudson as eight of those ten saw time in the NHL. Some of the other 19 goal finishers for Worcester include Jamal Mayers (97-98), Riley Armstrong (06-07), Tom Cavanagh (07-08), and Andrew Desjardins (09-10).

Despite both Adirondack and Worcester having long hockey histories this is the first time the two cities have faced off in the playoffs. With the AHL generally using a divisional playoff system Worcester pro teams haven’t had to face playoff opponents outside New England very often, and when they have the results were not good. In 2003 the IceCats were swept by the Binghamton Senators 3-0, and in 2015 the WorSharks lost a 4-1 series to the Hershey Bears. The IceCats also lost 2-1 in the 2002 preliminary round to the Manitoba Moose, but all three of those game were in Worcester.

The three stars of the game were

1) Mackenzie Blackwood (Adirondack #29), 27 save shutout

2) Tim Harrison (Adirondack #19), goal

3) Paul Rodrigues (Adirondack #17), goal

The TWIW Player of the Game was Jeff Kubiak.

Even strength lines

Saracino / Kubiak / Almeida

Gaudreau / Willick / Hudson

DiChiara / Lane / Syner

Turcotte

 

MacKinnon / Cornell

Panico / Hamonic

Masella / McKenzie

BOX SCORE

Worcester 0 0 0 – 0

Adirondack 1 1 1 – 3

1st Period-1, Adirondack, Harrison 1 (Olsen, Orszulak), 8:58. Penalties-Harrison Adk (slashing), 13:41.

2nd Period-2, Adirondack, Rodrigues 1 (Schmelzer, Bergin), 7:54 (PP). Penalties-Bergin Adk (tripping), 0:29; Almeida Wor (roughing), 7:03; Henry Adk (roughing), 7:54; Saracino Wor (tripping), 12:12; Wallin Adk (boarding), 14:58; Lane Wor (tripping), 16:41; served by Orszulak Adk (bench – too many men), 18:12.

3rd Period-3, Adirondack, Ward 1 (Henry, Olsen), 5:50. Penalties-Bergin Adk (high-sticking), 1:52; served by Panico Wor (bench – too many men), 7:16; Cornell Wor (cross-checking), 13:11; Wallin Adk (interference on the goalkeeper), 13:22; Panico Wor (roughing), 15:21; Cornell Wor (misconduct), 18:50; Turcotte Wor (roughing, fighting – major), 18:50; Ward Adk (fighting – major), 18:50.

Shots on Goal-Worcester 8-11-8-27. Adirondack 5-9-7-21.

Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 0 / 7; Adirondack 1 / 7.

Goalies-Worcester, Gillam (21 shots-18 saves). Adirondack, Blackwood (27 shots-27 saves).

A-3,540

Referees-Andrea Barone (15), Jesse Gour (24).

Linesmen-Kyle Richtelle (73), JP Waleski (51).

 

WORCESTER – The Worcester Railers took on the Manchester Monarchs Sunday afternoon at the DCU Center in the back half of a home-and-home series playing for nothing but pride, and with Railers Head Coach Jamie Russell once again resting some of the team’s top players they still acquitted themselves quite well despite the Monarchs playing hard for a potential shot at the top seed in the ECHL’s North Division.

After a scoreless first period the Monarchs jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Sam Kurker, returned just this morning from a loan to the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds, ripped a laser from 25 feet out past Railers goaltender Will King at 16:08 of the middle period. Zac Lynch got the only assist on the goal on a nice feed from the right wing half-wall.

Worcester thought they’d tied the game at 7:57 of the third period after a wild goalmouth scramble saw the red light go on and all the Railers players celebrating. Referee Matt Menniti, who appeared to be out of position, waved the goal off. After a brief conversation with the goal judge Menniti again signaled “no goal”. The ECHL does not use video review, but the replay shown on the Daktronics board appears to show the puck rolling out of the net to the left of Manchester netminder Evan Cowley.

Post game several fans that sit at that end of the ice, including one in a Monarchs jersey, say the puck was clearly in the net.

The Railers continued to pressure but couldn’t get another past Cowley, and with King off for an extra attacker Michael Doherty fired one into the empty Worcester net from 175’ feet away for the eventual 2-0 final.

Worcester ends the regular season in fourth place in the North Division with a 37-27-4-4 mark, for 82 points, and they begin their first ever post season against the Adirondack Thunder on Friday in Glens Falls. Manchester finishes second in the division, and will take on the Reading Royals.

RAILERS NOTES
Scratches for Worcester were Barry Almeida, Mike Cornell, Matty Gaudreau, Tommy Kelley (21-day IR/upper body), Chris Langkow (21-day IR/lower body), and Josh Monk (21-day IR/upper body). For the second game in a row Mitch Gillam was the back-up goaltender.

With the Adirondack Thunder defeating the Brampton Beast 6-2 the Thunder claim the top spot in the ECHL’s North Division, and will play the Railers in a best of seven series starting Friday in Glens Falls, New York. Games two and three of the series will move to the DCU Center with Saturday’s game starting at 7pm, and Sunday’s contest has a 5pm start time.

The full schedule is:
Game 1: Worcester @ Adirondack – Friday, April 13, 7:00 p.m.
Game 2: Adirondack @ Worcester – Saturday, April 14, 7:05 p.m.
Game 3: Adirondack @ Worcester – Sunday, April 15, 5:05 p.m.
Game 4: Worcester @ Adirondack – Wednesday, April 18, 7:00 p.m.
*Game 5: Worcester @ Adirondack – Saturday, April 21, 7:00 p.m.
*Game 6: Adirondack @ Worcester – Monday, April 23, 7:05 p.m.
*Game 7: Worcester @ Adirondack – Wednesday, April 25, 7:00 p.m.

Prior to the start of the Worcester/Manchester game the Why Me All-Stars took on the Boston Bruins Alumni team, with the Bruins defeating Why Me 10-5. Former Worcester IceCats captain Terry Virtue suited up for the Bruins, and had three assists. From their website, Why Me is a Worcester Based non-profit organization created to help Central New England families cope with childhood cancer. Why Me was started in 1985 by 13-year-old Sherry Shepherd during her four year battle with cancer. In the last months of her life, Sherry became determined to do something that would have a lasting value in the community to help children with cancer. With the help of her dad, she founded the non-profit organization WHY ME, which stands for Worcester Help for Youth, Memories Everlasting.

Proceeds from Sunday’s Booster Club 50/50 were originally slated to go to Why Me, but were instead donated to the Humboldt Broncos and their families after the tragic bus crash that took the lives of 15 of their players and staff. The Booster Club raised a “regular season” record $1210 for the Broncos, which was rounded up to $1250 by the club. Booster Club President Rich Lundin indicated that the club would write a check for $500 to Why Me.

With Bridgeport being eliminated from the AHL’s Calder Cup playoff chase it’s expected that many players that played for the Railers this season that are currently with the Sound Tigers will be assigned to Worcester prior to the playoff roster deadline on Monday at 3pm. Under ECHL Kelly Cup playoff rules, any non-veteran player on a two-way AHL/ECHL contract must play in at least five AHL games to qualify for the ECHL playoffs. Veteran players on those contracts need 10 AHL games played. But the rule also allows teams to exempt two players from that rule. After Saturday’s Bridgeport game only two Sound Tigers contracted players do not have five AHL games played: Matt Lane and Ryan MacKinnon. So they would likely be listed as exempt. Players on NHL contracts and one-way AHL deals are also automatically exempt.

The three stars were
1) Yanick Turcotte (Railers #20)
2) Frankie DiChiara (Railers #17)
3) Will king (Railers #29)

Those picks are obviously the Railers thumbing their noses at Manchester for their choices in Saturday’s game

Instead of awarding the standard “TWIW Player of the Game”, we’ll give an additional shout out to the Worcester Railers Booster Club for their charitable donations today.

Even strength lines
Saracino / Syner / Hudson
Colella / Willick / Randolph
Tschantz / Lane / Turcotte
DiChiara

Doherty / Hamonic
McKenzie / McArdle
Panico / Masella

BOX SCORE
Manchester 0 1 1 – 2
Worcester 0 0 0 – 0

1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Lane Wor (hooking), 7:17; Wood Man (fighting – major), 10:14; DiChiara Wor (instigating, fighting – major), 10:14.

2nd Period-1, Manchester, Kurker 12 (Lynch), 16:08. Penalties-Turgeon Man (fighting – major), 17:19; Turcotte Wor (fighting – major), 17:19.

3rd Period-2, Manchester, Doherty 20 (Nemcik), 18:39 (EN). Penalties-served by Colella Wor (bench – too many men), 19:50.

Shots on Goal-Manchester 7-13-7-27. Worcester 4-12-8-24.
Power Play Opportunities-Manchester 0 / 3; Worcester 0 / 0.
Goalies-Manchester, Cowley 9-9-0-1 (24 shots-24 saves). Worcester, King 7-10-1-0 (26 shots-25 saves).
A-7,191
Referees-Matt Menniti (10).
Linesmen-Kyle Richtelle (73), JP Waleski (51).

The Worcester Railers traveled to the Granite State to take on the Monarchs at the SNHU Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire for their final road game of the regular season. While Worcester has already clinched their playoff spot and didn’t have anything to play for the Monarchs are still fighting for the top spot in the ECHL’s North Division.

Worcester would strike first at 2:51 of the opening period when Dylan Willick deflected Ben Masella’s shot past Manchester goaltender Charles Williams for the 1-0 lead. Tommy Panico had the second assist on the goal for his first professional point.

The Railers jumped out to a 2-0 advantage at 15:00 after Dwyer Tschantz tipped Justin Hamonic’s blast past Williams for his first professional goal. Matt Lane had the second assist. Manchester didn’t roll over and give up down a couple goals, and in the waning moments of the second period scored two goals in 25 seconds to escape the period tied 2-2.

The first of Manchester’s goals came on the power play when Kevin Morris tipped David Kolomatis’ shot past Worcester netminder Will King at 18:40 for a power play goal. Michael Doherty had the second helper on the play. The second goal came at 19:05 when Matt Schmalz beat King high just under the crossbar after an odd-man rush.

The second period was scoreless, but it was played almost entirely in the Railers end of the ice. The third started out that way, but Worcester slowly picked up the pace, and that lead to their game winning goal. With the Railers swarming the zone T.J. Syner tipped Josh McArdle’s shot over Williams to light the lamp, with the second assist going to Woody Hudson, at 15:43 for what would be the game winner.

The two teams finish off the regular season with a match up Sunday at the DCU Center, with a 3pm puck drop.

RAILERS NOTES
Scratches for the Railers were Barry Almeida, Mike Cornell, Matty Gaudreau, Tommy Kelley (21-day IR/upper body), Chris Langkow (21-day IR/lower body), and Josh Monk (21-day IR/upper body). Mitch Gillam was the back-up goaltender after making 13 consecutive starts for Worcester. On Thursday a couple trips of the Magic Bus were made, with Patrick Cullity and Josh Holmstrom being recalled to the Sound Tigers while Yanick Turcotte was reassigned to the Railers by Bridgeport.

With Wheeling’s loss on Friday Worcester has clinched a spot in the 2018 Kelly Cup playoffs. Reading also won on Friday, meaning the Railers can’t move up a spot to third place in the North Division. The Railers’ first couple home playoff games at the DCU Center will be on Saturday April 14th at 7pm and Sunday, April 15th at 5pm. It’s been a long time since Worcester has seen a home playoff win, with the last time being April 25, 2010 when the WorSharks needed three third period goals to defeat the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs 4-3.

There was a large contingent of Railers fans at the game in Manchester, so many that when Worcester scored the cheering was quite loud. One of the staff members behind Manchester ticket table estimated there was upwards of 500 Worcester fans in the crowd. That number might be a high estimate considering the box score says there was 7,316 at the game, but the number of unclaimed white t-shirts draped over the seats for their “white out” seemed to show a much smaller number attended.

A couple random factoids: the six game winning streak is the Railers longest for the season, and their 16 shots on a goal were a season low for Worcester.

The three stars of the game were
1) Josh McArdle (Railers #24) assist
2) Matt Schmalz (Manchester #11) goal
3) Kevin Morris (Manchester #9) goal.

It’s well known these three stars are a bit subjective, but what game were the Manchester Monarchs watching to make those choices?

The TWIW Player of the Game was Dylan Willick

Even Strength Lines
Saracino / Syner / Hudson
Colella / Willick / Randolph
Tschantz / Lane / Turcotte
DiChiara

Doherty / Hamonic
McKenzie / McArdle
Panico / Masella

BOX SCORE
Worcester 2 0 1 – 3
Manchester 2 0 0 – 2

1st Period-1, Worcester, Willick 2 (Masella, Panico), 2:51. 2, Worcester, Tschantz 1 (Hamonic, Lane), 15:00. 3, Manchester, Morris 12 (Kolomatis, Doherty), 18:40 (PP). 4, Manchester, Schmalz 23 (Privitera), 19:05. Penalties-Lane Wor (slashing), 18:31; Turcotte Wor (roughing), 20:00.

2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Tschantz Wor (delay of game), 4:30; Masella Wor (high-sticking), 16:42; Doherty Wor (fighting – major), 19:17; Wyszomirski Man (fighting – major), 19:17.

3rd Period-5, Worcester, Syner 10 (McArdle, Hudson), 15:43. Penalties-Schmalz Man (tripping), 9:59.

Shots on Goal-Worcester 6-7-3-16. Manchester 5-17-5-27.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 0 / 1; Manchester 1 / 4.
Goalies-Worcester, King 7-9-1-0 (27 shots-25 saves). Manchester, Williams 22-12-3-2 (16 shots-13 saves).
A-7,316
Referees-Chris Pontes (12).
Linesmen-JP Waleski (51), Stephen Drain (77).

WORCESTER – The Worcester Railers and Reading Royals faced off for the14th and final time in the regular season with the Railers looking to solidify their fourth place standing in the ECHL’s North Division while Reading was looking to get in position to make a run at the division lead.

The Railers needed a good start at Santander Arena, a place where they have not had a lot of luck so far this season. They did just that, but couldn’t put one past Royals netminder Branden Komm despite having several golden chances with loose pucks in the crease. Worcester would outshoot Reading 15-10 in the opening twenty minutes.

At the start of the second period the Railers continued to apply pressure to the Royals and their efforts finally paid off when Worcester broke into the Reading zone and Matty Gaudreau followed his own shot and banged the rebound past Komm at 3:44. Barry Almeida and Dylan Willick had the assists on the goal.

It was a bad bounce that got Reading to even when former WorSharks and Holy Cross College forward Adam Schmidt threw the puck toward the crease from behind the goal line. The puck bounced off the skate of Royals forward Steven Swavely and into the Worcester net before Mitch Gillam could react to the puck at 13:04. Ryan Penny had the secondary assist.

The two teams would play a scoreless third period, but there was a scare for Worcester when former WorSharks forward Matt Willows intentionally crashed into Gillam. Frankie DiChiara came to his netminder’s defense, earning his first fighting major of his career. In the end Gillam was no worse for wear.

To overtime the teams went, and 90 seconds into the three-on-three session Almeida lit the lamp with a backhander over the left shoulder of Komm, assisted by Kyle McKenzie and T.J. Syner for the 2-1 overtime win. The win drops Worcester’s magic number to two.

RAILERS NOTES
Scratches for Worcester were Maurizio Colella, Connor Doherty, Tommy Kelley (21-day IR/upper body), Chris Langkow (21-day IR/lower body), Josh McArdle, Josh Monk (21-day IR/upper body), and Dwyer Tschantz. Will King was the back-up goaltender. Kelley recently has shoulder surgery and is out for the remainder of the season. Langkow’s injury has not been specified, but it appears he too has been ruled out for the remainder of the season. There has been no official update by the Railers on Monk in quite some time.

It’s been mentioned before that the scorers at the Santander Arena are, to be polite, slightly less than perfect. They didn’t get off to a good start by forgetting to list a Reading forward, making it appear the Royals had only dressed 15 skaters. It took until there was four minutes remaining in the first period for the error to be corrected.

On Tuesday the ECHL announced that Railers goaltender Mitch Gillam won both the “Rookie of the Month” and “Goaltender of the Week” awards for the league. He is the first player in Worcester pro hockey history to win those awards, although to be fair the AHL doesn’t have a “Goaltender of the Week award”, and he’s the first Worcester pro to hold two league awards simultaneously. The last Worcester pro to win a league award was Bryan Lerg, who was named AHL “Player of the Week” on March 22nd, 2015.

And you can now add the ECHL’s 2017-18 All-Rookie team to Gillam’s résumé. He joins former Worcester IceCats defenseman Barret Jackman (2001-02) and WorSharks Logan Couture and Alex Stalock (both 2009-10) as the only Worcester pros to be named to a league-wide All-Rookie team. The previous three were all named in the AHL.

After being officially signed to an AHL contract with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and recalled two weeks ago defenseman Ryan MacKinnon finally made his AHL debut Tuesday in a matinee game against the Providence Bruins. The long layoff and a higher level league didn’t slow MacKinnon down as he registered a point with an assist on Kellen Jones’ third period power play goal. MacKinnon finished the game with three shots and a +1 rating. Former Railers netminder Eamon McAdam picked up the win for Bridgeport.

Playoff update: With the Railers win and Wheeling idle Worcester’s magic number drops to 2. Worcester leads the Nailers by three points in the standings. The Railers will pick up a game in hand on Friday when Wheeling visits Brampton. Both teams play Saturday, with Worcester visiting Manchester and the Nailers on the road in Fort Wayne. The Railers then host the Monarchs on Sunday to close out the regular season. According to Sports Club Stats, the chance the Railers make the ECHL playoffs is now approximately 92.5%.

The three stars of the game were
1) Barry Almeida (Railers #19), game winner, assist
2) Branden Komm (Reading #29), 32 saves
3) Mitch Gillam (Railers #17), win, 30 saves

The TWIW Player of the Game was Matty Gaudreau.

Even strength lines
Saracino / Syner / Almeida
Randolph / Willick / Gaudreau
DiChiara / Holmstrom / Hudson
Lane

McKenzie / Cornell
Cullity / Masella
Panico / Hamonic

BOX SCORE
Worcester 0 1 0 1 – 2
Reading 0 1 0 0 – 1

1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-McKenzie Wor (slashing), 18:05.

2nd Period-1, Worcester, Gaudreau 12 (Almeida, Willick), 3:44. 2, Reading, Swavely 12 (Schmidt, Penny), 13:04. Penalties-No Penalties

3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-DiChiara Wor (fighting – major), 9:08; Willows Rea (interference on the goalkeeper, fighting – major), 9:08.

OT Period-3, Worcester, Almeida 22 (McKenzie, Syner), 1:30. Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal-Worcester 15-13-5-1-34. Reading 10-10-11-0-31.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 0 / 1; Reading 0 / 1.
Goalies-Worcester, Gillam 23-14-0-2 (31 shots-30 saves). Reading, Komm 14-9-4-0 (34 shots-32 saves).
A-2,524
Referees-Chris Pontes (12).
Linesmen-JP Waleski (51), Patrick Richardson (82).

WORCESTER – The Worcester Railers visited the Adirondack Thunder at the Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls, New York in the first of three in a row on the road with Worcester still chasing the final playoff spot in the ECHL’s North Division.

Playing their fourth game in five days it was important for the Railers to get off to a strong start, and they did just that when Frankie DiChiara ripped a feed from Mike Cornell high over Thunder goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood and in for a power play goal at 10:55 of the first. Barry Almeida had the secondary assist on the goal. Worcester outshot Adirondack 10-5 in the opening 20 minutes.

The Thunder carried the play for most of the second period, and got the equalizer when Troy Burke beat Railers netminder Mitch Gillam with a power play tally at 6:17. Shane Conacher and Ryan Schmelzer had the assists on the goal. Gillam was interfered with by Schmelzer on the shot, but no call was made by referee Olivier Gouin.

Referee Gouin also didn’t make a call when Adirondack defenseman Mathieu Brodeur boarded Matty Gaudreau at 7:29 of the middle stanza. Ben Masella took on Brodeur to avenge his downed teammate, and Brodeur, thinking he was going to get a major for his hit on Gaudreau. decided to not fight back hoping to even out the call. In the end both went off for fighting and no boarding penalty was assessed. Gaudreau went off the ice under his own power and missed a couple shifts.

After going almost 10 minutes without a shot on goal Worcester would get two in about a second, with T.J. Syner putting his own rebound into the Thunder net for a 2-1 Railers lead. Nick Saracino and Gaudreau had the helpers on the power play goal.

In the third period the Railers were looking for an insurance goal while at the same time making sure to give Gillam all the help they could. DiChiara would give Worcester the two goal lead they were looking for when he beat Blackwood at 13:04, with assists going to Josh Holmstrom and Matt Lane. The goal also gave the Railers goals in 11 consecutive periods, a new franchise mark.

Cornell put the icing on the cake with an empty net goal with nine seconds remaining for the 4-1 final. The Railers now are in the fourth and final playoff spot in the ECHL’s North Division, and hold a one point lead over the Wheeling Nailers and still have a game in hand.

RAILERS NOTES
Scratches for Worcester were Maurizio Colella, Connor Doherty, Tommy Kelley (21-day IR/upper body), Chris Langkow (21-day IR/lower body), Josh McArdle, Josh Monk (21-day IR/upper body), and Dwyer Tschantz. Will King was the back-up goaltender. Both Justin Hamonic and Tschantz were released by the Utica Comets (AHL) Sunday morning and they met the Railers in Adirondack.

Instead of making a “mad dash” to Adirondack Saturday night the Railers decided to spend the night in Worcester and bus to Glens Falls Sunday morning. They returned to Worcester after Sunday’s game and will head to Reading on Tuesday for a game against the Royals on Wednesday.

It’s amazing that Worcester, who entered Sunday’s game with the 25th ranked offense in the ECHL at just 2.72 goals per game, still controls their own playoff destiny. It’s because of their defense, ranked fifth in the league at 2.75 goals against, and some incredible goaltending by Mitch Gillam. He leads the ECHL with five shutouts entering the game vs the Thunder, and has allowed just a single goal in nine other games.

Sunday was the 12th meeting between the Railers and Adirondack, and in those games Worcester faced seven different goaltenders. In addition to Sunday’s starter Mackenzie Blackwood the Railers also faced Ken Appleby, Drew Fielding, Olivier Mantha, Chris Nell, Nick Riopel, and Tomas Sholl.

Sunday was just the third time in Worcester pro hockey history where a team from the city played on Easter Sunday. It was the second time in the regular season, with the IceCats beating the Monarchs in Manchester 3-2 on April 11, 2004 being the first. The IceCats also had a playoff game on Easter, a 4-0 loss at Lowell on April 15, 2001. Worcester did go on to win that series three games to one.

Playoff update: With the Railers win and Wheeling idle Sunday Worcester’s magic number drops to 4, and they lead the Nailers by a point in the standings. Worcester has three games to play, with their game Wednesday in Reading being another game in hand over Wheeling. The Nailers last two games are at Brampton Friday and at Fort Wayne on Saturday, while Worcester closes out their regular season with a home-and-home with the Monarchs on Saturday in Manchester and at the DCU Center on Sunday.

According to Sports Club Stats, the chance the Railers make the ECHL playoffs is now approximately 76%.

The three stars of the game were
1) Frankie DiChiara (Railers #17), two goals
2) Troy Burke (Adirondack #70), goal
3) Mitch Gillam (Railers #35), 27 save win

The TWIW Player of the Game was Mike Cornell.

Even strength lines
Saracino / Syner / Almeida
Willick / Holmstrom / Gaudreau
DiChiara / Lane / Hudson
Randolph

McKenzie / Cornell
Masella / Hamonic
Panico / Cullity

BOX SCORE
Worcester 1 1 2 – 4
Adirondack 0 1 0 – 1

1st Period-1, Worcester, DiChiara 8 (Cornell, Almeida), 10:55 (PP). Penalties-Bourke Adk (slashing), 9:21; Bergin Adk (cross-checking), 14:24; Syner Wor (hooking), 16:47; Wallin Adk (holding the stick), 19:57.

2nd Period-2, Adirondack, Bourke 10 (Conacher, Schmelzer), 6:17 (PP). 3, Worcester, Syner 9 (Saracino, Gaudreau), 15:55 (PP). Penalties-Hudson Wor (cross-checking), 4:35; Masella Wor (fighting – major), 7:29; Brodeur Adk (fighting – major), 7:29; McKenzie Wor (delay of game), 12:27; Harrison Adk (high-sticking), 15:30.

3rd Period-4, Worcester, DiChiara 9 (Holmstrom, Lane), 13:04. 5, Worcester, Cornell 5 19:50 (EN). Penalties-Hudson Wor (tripping), 4:49.

Shots on Goal-Worcester 10-4-11-25. Adirondack 5-14-9-28.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 2 / 4; Adirondack 1 / 4.
Goalies-Worcester, Gillam 22-14-0-2 (28 shots-27 saves). Adirondack, Blackwood 1-1-0-1 (24 shots-21 saves).
A-2,660
Referees-Olivier Gouin (7).
Linesmen-Michael Fusani (41), Kyle Richtelle (73).