The Worcester Railers opened their second of back to back games against the Quad City Mallards Saturday night at the DCU Center exactly as they ended their Friday night tilt, controlling the play from the opening whistle of the first period. Unlike Friday night Mallards goaltender Ivan Kublakov was making the big saves on the Railers high quality bids.
Worcester finally got one past him with a power play goal by Matty Gaudreau. With Mallards forward Triston King in the penalty box for interference Kublakov made a diving save on a Chris Langkow bid. As the play continued Brock Beukeboom passed the puck along the blue line to Gaudreau, who skated to the left wing circle and beat Kublakov far side at 16:39. Barry Almeida had the secondary assist.
Just when it looked like the Railers would have the lead after 20 minutes Quad City tied it with 19.8 seconds remaining in the period when a loose puck slowly rolled over the goal line just out of reach of Worcester netminder Eamon McAdam. Grant was given credit for the goal.
The Railers didn’t let that hiccup get to them, and while the play was more even in the middle stanza it was Worcester that scored twice to take a two goal lead.
The first one the period came at 6:21 when Langkow threw a slow pass diagonally from deep in the left wing corner to the right point. Beukeboom, who had skated away from the point anticipating a Mallards breakout, returned to the offensive zone to retrieve the puck and fired a slow slap pass to Nick Saracino in the slot. He deflected it past Kublakov for the 2-1 lead.
As the period was winding down Worcester made it 3-1 when Beukeboom fired a shot through a screen and after a deflection off a Quad City defenseman rolled into the net at 18:58. Gaudreau and Almeida had the assists on the goal.
It was more of the same in the third period as the Railers continued to press their advantage, and their hard work paid off with a fourth goal when Gaudreau stole a clearing attempt right off the stick of a Quad City defender. Gaudreau found Langkow right in front, and Langkow stick handled around Kublakov and pushed it in at 3:48.
The Mallards would get one back to make it 4-2 when Willie Raskob blasted a shot from the point that pinballed around, eventually hitting teammate Brayden Low and somehow finding its way past McAdam at 11:15.
Matt Lane would kill any thoughts of a miracle comeback for Quad City with a highlight spin-o-rama style goal at 12:01 for the eventual 5-2 margin of victory. Saracino had the only assist on the play. It got very chippy after that, but when Grant got a double minor putting the Railers on the power play for the game calmer heads prevailed.
The Railers continue their 11 game home stand Sunday at 3pm against the Florida Everblades.
Worcester went with the same line-up as Friday, with the scratches being Sean Gammage, Tommy Kelley, Josh Monk (21-day IR/upper body), Aston Rome (upper body), and T.J. Syner. Mitch Gillam was the back-up goaltender. Rome has been out of action since January 10th, the date he could be retroactively added to the injured reserve list, although his injury dates well before that point.
While the Railers are generally quiet about specific injuries it’s not exactly a national secret that Rome has a jaw injury from a high stick. Monk’s injury, however, is continually referred to as “upper body” by the team. Neither Rome nor Monk appear close to returning to action.
The Mallards hit the ice after the Railers introductions to “Disco Duck” by Rick Dees. Most of the younger crowd didn’t get the joke. It’s not the first time the game-day DJ has used a song introduction to poke fun at an opponent. In the Sharks era Matt Jacobs was known to pick songs that contained a dig at the opposing team, most famously playing “Magic Bus” when Bridgeport was in town after a postponed game against the WorSharks due to a Sound Tigers travel issue.
Upon further review…during Friday night offensive barrage Worcester streak without leading in a game was ended at 344:45 when Matt Gaudreau scored at 16:39 of the opening period. Gaudreau’s second goal of the game at 3:14 of the middle period set the Railers franchise mark for fastest two goals by a single player at 6:25. The Railers also set a team mark, such as it is, for fastest five goals in a game at 34:56.
While Quad City has two former Worcester players on their roster, Kyle Bigos and Willie Raskob, a look at the last names of a few of their players reads like a Who’s Who of Worcester hockey history. The Mallards have a Low (Brayden) while the IceCats had Reed Low, who sits fifth all-time in Worcester penalty minutes (577); a Nagy (Gergo) while Worcester had Ladislav Nagy, who played parts of three seasons for the IceCats and will represents Slovakia in this years Winter Olympics; and an Armstrong (Travis), while the WorSharks had Riley Armstrong, who was an “Honorable Mention” in a fan vote for the 20th Anniversary All-Time team for Worcester and sits on many Worcester hockey statistical leader boards.
There are also a few others with each having a Grant (Triston for Quad City, Tommy for the Sharks), a King (Tristan for the Mallards, D.J. For the IceCats), and Tardif (Jamie for Quad City, and Marc and Patrice for the IceCats.). The Mallards also had Josh MacDonald earlier this season, and the WorSharks had David MacDonald on an ATO in 2008. Both also had a Sakellaropoulos, but perhaps not so shockingly it was the same player, Alex.
The big talk on press row after the second period was how any team could trade away Brock Beukeboom. And yet, that’s exactly what Greenville did in their trade with Worcester when Curt Gogol failed his exit physical with the Swamp Rabbits. There’s little doubt that AHL teams, and maybe some NHL teams, are going to notice him shortly. Beukeboom was a third round pick (63rd overall) of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2010, but was never signed to a contract.
The three stars of the game were
1) Brock Beukeboom (Railers #41), goal, 2 assists
2) Matty Gaudreau (Railers #8), goal, 2 assists
3) Nick Saracino (Railers #18) goal, assist
The TWIW Player of the Game was Eamon McAdam.
Even Strength Lines
Quad City 1 0 1 – 2
Worcester 1 2 2 – 5
1st Period-1, Worcester, Gaudreau 8 (Beukeboom, Almeida), 17:56 (PP). 2, Quad City, Grant 5 (Pohlkamp, Globke), 19:40. Penalties-Bolton Qc (fighting – major), 0:34; Doherty Wor (fighting – major), 0:34; Turcotte Wor (boarding), 6:59; Grant Qc (interference), 16:33.
2nd Period-3, Worcester, Saracino 4 (Beukeboom, Langkow), 6:21. 4, Worcester, Beukeboom 1 (Gaudreau, Almeida), 18:58 (PP). Penalties-Kubiak Wor (delay of game), 1:20; Globke Qc (interference), 18:04.
3rd Period-5, Worcester, Langkow 10 (Gaudreau), 3:48. 6, Quad City, Low 8 (Raskob, Follmer), 11:15 (PP). 7, Worcester, Lane 5 (Saracino), 12:01. Penalties-Armstrong Qc (fighting – major), 4:08; Turcotte Wor (fighting – major), 4:08; Masella Wor (slashing), 7:46; Hamonic Wor (cross-checking), 9:44; Grant Qc (double – roughing, misconduct), 16:04.
Shots on Goal-Quad City 8-11-9-28. Worcester 12-11-13-36.
Power Play Opportunities-Quad City 1 / 4; Worcester 2 / 4.
Goalies-Quad City, Kulbakov 8-8-0-0 (36 shots-31 saves). Worcester, McAdam 10-9-3-2 (28 shots-26 saves).
Referees-Sean Fernandez (21).
Linesmen-William Kingdon (58), Nathan Frechette (30).