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.
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
MacKinnon / McKenzie
Doherty / Hamonic
Panico / Masella
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).
Referees-Sean Fernandez (21), Sean MacFarlane (4).
Linesmen-Jarred Mitrano (86), Kyle Richtelle (73).