The Worcester Railers and Manchester Monarchs began a home-and-home series Saturday night at the DCU Center, with Worcester hoping to end their five game home stand on an up note.
Like last Sunday afternoon against Reading where an early major penalty caused the Railers some problems, Worcester ran into the same issue in the first period Saturday night against Manchester when Woody Hudson was given a major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct. But unlike last game it was a terrible call that sent Hudson to the showers, and the Railers found themselves down a couple goals because of it.
Manchester would get on the board at 9:29 of the opening period when Tony Cameranesi fired a shot from the top of the right circle that hit Kevin Morris in front of the net and past Railers goaltender Mitch Gillam. Less than two minutes later Manchester would grab their second when Cameranesi skated in and flipped a shot over Gillam’s right shoulder.
It didn’t get much better for Worcester early in the second period when the Railers gave up a two on zero break. After a Railers turnover Morris and Matt Schmalz skated into the zone passing the puck between each other, with Morris finally putting the puck in the net at 4:25.
At 6:31 the deficit became 4-0 when Rob Hamilton flipped the puck toward the Railers net, where it was knocked in by Michael Doherty with what looked to be a distinct kicking motion. The officials disagreed, and counted the goal.
Worcester finally solved Manchester goalie Charles Williams at 16:23 when Barry Almeida grabbed a loose puck in front after a wild scramble and fired it into a yawning net, with assists going to Ashton Rome and Patrick McNally.
Under a minute later the Railers got within two on the franchise’s first ever shorthanded goal. Kellen Jones broke into the Monarchs zone and was stoned in his breakaway bid. Jones never gave up on the play and fired the rebound in for the unassisted tally at 17:12.
Manchester would grab the momentum back with a late goal in the period by Morris to get their lead back to three. The goal gave Morris a hat trick for the game.
Early in the third period Worcester seized back the momentum when Kyle McKenzie’s shot through traffic hit a stick and bounded into the Monarchs net at 2:07. The assists are listed as Jeff Kubiak and Almeida, but this writer thinks the stick the puck hit was Kubiak’s, so that scoring may change.
Unfortunately for the Railers that was as close as they’d get, and an empty net goal by Jordan LaVallee-Smotherman gave the Monarchs a 6-3 victory.
Scratches for the Railers were Matt Lane, Ryan Lannon, T.J. Syner, Yanick Turcotte, and Connor Doherty. Of the scratches only Doherty is listed as injured, and he’s on the 21-day injured reserve list. Eamon McAdam was the back-up goaltender.
On Monday the Railers released defenseman Chris Saracino, the older brother of forward Nick Saracino, from his contract. The move was expected as the elder Saracino was brought in due to a shortage of healthy defensemen. He played very well considering he hadn’t played in a pro game since the 2013-14 season.
Saturday saw two Boston Bruins legends dropping the ceremonial first puck, as Bobby Orr and Derek Sanderson had the honors. Orr is the president of Orr Hockey Group, which represents several of the top NHL players. Sanderson has recently worked as a financial adviser to pro athletes, helping them avoid the financial troubles he had after he retired.
The ECHL did not discipline Worcester defenseman Mike Cornell for his actions Sunday against Reading that resulted in his game misconduct. Most thought a suspension would be unlikely. In the ECHL any player receiving a game misconduct penalty is automatically fined $40 in addition to any other penalty assessed by the league.
In a scheduling oddity Saturday saw the third time Worcester and Manchester played each other, and it was the second time the Railers had the previous night off while the Monarchs had to play a game. It happens again next weekend when the two clubs square off on Sunday and Worcester has Saturday night open while Manchester hosts Adirondack, and two more times later this season. Only once does Manchester gain the advantage of a night off before a Worcester game when the Railers have to play.
Hockey is one of those games that even when you’re on the bench you have to pay attention. Early in the first period while both teams were fighting for the puck at the blue line Ashton Rome’s stick got raised by a Manchester player and struck Monarchs forward Kevin Morris in the face. The bad thing for Morris was he was on the bench and wasn’t paying attention. The next stoppage of play he went off to the dressing room for repairs.
The three stars of the game were:
1) Kevin Morris (Manchester #9), hat trick
2) Tony Cameranesi (Manchester #12), goal, 2 assists
3) Barry Almeida (Railers #19) Goal, assist
The TWIW Player of the Game was Kellen Jones.
Even strength lines
Manchester 2 3 1 – 6
Worcester 0 2 1 – 3
1st Period-1, Manchester, Morris 4 (Cameranesi, Racine), 9:59 (PP). 2, Manchester, Cameranesi 4 (Marcinew, Saucerman), 11:47 (PP). Penalties-served by LaVallee-Smotherman Man (bench – too many men), 3:31; Hamilton Man (slashing), 6:38; Hudson Wor (boarding – major, game misconduct – boarding), 6:57; Racine Man (roughing), 10:08; served by Saracino Wor (bench – too many men), 11:12; Almeida Wor (tripping), 13:38.
2nd Period-3, Manchester, Morris 5 (Schmalz), 4:25. 4, Manchester, Doherty 3 (Hamilton, Schmalz), 6:31. 5, Worcester, Almeida 3 (Rome, McNally), 16:23 (PP). 6, Worcester, Jones 3 17:12 (SH). 7, Manchester, Morris 6 (Cameranesi, Marcinew), 18:54 (PP). Penalties-Rome Wor (roughing), 10:25; Nemcik Man (hooking), 15:43; Cornell Wor (tripping), 17:03.
3rd Period-8, Worcester, McKenzie 1 (Kubiak, Almeida), 2:07. 9, Manchester, LaVallee-Smotherman 6 (Saucerman), 19:09 (EN). Penalties-Saucerman Man (cross-checking), 10:01; Rome Wor (roughing), 10:01; Ward Man (slashing), 12:08.
Shots on Goal-Manchester 10-10-7-27. Worcester 15-13-12-40.
Power Play Opportunities-Manchester 3 / 5; Worcester 1 / 5.
Goalies-Manchester, Williams 5-1-1-0 (40 shots-37 saves). Worcester, Gillam 3-3-0-0 (26 shots-21 saves).
Referees-Andrea Barone (15).
Linesmen-Kyle Richtelle (73), William Kingdon (58).