WORCESTER – The Worcester Railers lost their first exhibition game against the Manchester Monarchs, 4-3, at the Worcester Ice Center.
The excitement of hockey’s return still echoes from Bridgeport’s 7-1 victory over the Hartford Wolf Pack last week. For the past several months, the Railers have been using the “Hockey Is Coming” marketing campaign. While proven to be successful, it’s finally time to say that hockey is here.
Notable scratches for Friday’s game included forward Ashton Rome and Defenseman Patrick McNally, who were likely scratched because their roster spots are already finalized, but will like play in Saturday’s game. The Railers still have a handful of players who are still signed to try-out contracts and still have to prove themselves in order to be offered a Standard Player Contract (SPC).
Friday night’s lineup consisted of the following lines, with bold indicating starters:
Jones – Langkow – Saracino
Almeida – Syner – Murphy
DiChiara – Kubiak – Lane
Turcotte – MacDonald – Hudson
Doherty – Masella
Lannon – Raskob
McKenzie – Monk
With the defense starting off rough, the Railers gave up a goal to Manchester’s Tommy Kelley in just under 2 minutes in. This was followed up by the Railers’ first ever goal – scored by rookie defenseman Josh Monk seconds after the Railers’ first power play of the night. Towards the end of the period the defense got on top of things, which led to both teams being tied in goals and shots with one goal and nine shots a piece.
The second period was perhaps the best period of the night for the Railers. Forward Kellen Jones scored the the only power play goal of the night, which was assisted by Ryan Lannon and Chris Langkow, just under four minutes into the period. This was followed up by TJ Syner’s goal with 4:15 remaining in the period, which was assisted by rookie Wade Murphy and was also Ryan Lannon’s second assist of the evening.
Overall, the second period was the Railers’ best period of the night, with the offense not being afraid to take a fast approach to net and the defense not being afraid to block shots and play aggressively.
The Railers started the third period with a minute and thirty-one seconds remaining on a power play, which they failed to counter on. Worcester allowed three goals in the third period from Manchester’s Cory Ward, Zach Lynch, and Gasper Kopitar, all of which were even strength goals. With a little under a minute remaining, it appeared that Railers’ Chris Langkow scored but was immediately called of and the Railers went on to lose game one, with a score of 4-3.
In more uplifting news, Josh Monk was named the first star of Friday’s game, scoring the Railers first-ever pre-season goal in addition to two shots on goal. Former Worcester Shark was also named to the third star with assists on two goals. The Railers also outshot the Monarchs 29-23. Some of the outcomes from this game showed that the Railers are capable of a good penalty kill and are capable of capitalizing on the power play.
The second and final game of the Railers exhibition series starts at 6 PM on Saturday at the Rinks at Exeter in Exeter, NH.