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.
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
Doherty / Hamonic
McKenzie / McArdle
Panico / Masella
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).
Referees-Chris Pontes (12).
Linesmen-JP Waleski (51), Stephen Drain (77).