WORCESTER – The Worcester Railers took on the Brampton Beast Friday night in the first of a pair of games against their North Division rivals at the DCU Center as the Railers continue their march toward the ECHL’s Kelly Cup playoffs.
Worcester got on the board first when T.J. Syner fired a shot from the high slot that fooled Brampton goaltender Chris Driedger, with the puck hitting off his glove and in at 3:03 of the opening period. Ben Masella and Barry Almeida had the assist on the play.
The Railers then had to kill off three consecutive minors called by referee Andy Howard, two of which were of the questionable variety. Worcester was able to escape the period with a one goal lead despite being outshot 8-5
In the second period the borderline calls started going the Railers way, but they were more successful with their man advantages than the Beast were. Mike Cornell had the power play score for Worcester when he took a feed from Masella at the top of the left wing circle and one-timed a blast past Driedger at 1:39 for the 2-0 lead. Nick Saracino had the second helper.
Frankie DiChiara would make it 3-0 Railers when he poked a rebound of Dylan Willick’s shot under Driedger and in at 2:05 of the third period. The assist was Willick’s first pro point.
Jordan Henry would end Mitch Gillam’s shutout streak at 122:16 when he skated across the goalmouth and tucked the puck between Gillam’s pad and the far post at 7:52. Willie Corrin and Luc-Olivier Blain had the assists.
Brampton would pull within one when Alex Foster banged home a loose puck at 11:49, but that was all the scoring the Beast could muster despite carrying the play for large portions of the remainder of the third period as Worcester would earn the 3-2 win.
The two clubs play again Saturday night at 7pm.
Scratches for Worcester were Maurizio Collela, Connor Doherty, Matty Gaudreau (personal/family issue), Tommy Kelley (21-day IR/upper body), Chris Langkow (21-day IR/lower body), Josh McArdle, Josh Monk (21-day IR/upper body). Will King was the back-up goaltender. Gaudreau is expected to rejoin the team for tomorrow’s game.
On Thursday Worcester signed forwards Dylan Willick and Maurizio Colella to contracts. Willick has spent the last five seasons with the University of New Brunswick (USPorts), and the previous four with the Kamloops Blazers (WHL). He was the captain of both squads. Colella comes to the Railers by way of the Flint Firebirds (OHL), where he had 61 points in 67 games this season. Willick saw his fair share of even strength shifts in his pro debut Friday night and was on the penalty kill, including taking what proved to be the last face-off of the game deep in the Railers zone while they were killing a high sticking call on Barry Almeida.
And speaking of that high sticking call, it was an oddity as Almeida was the puck carrier at the time. It was absolutely a good call though, unlike many of the others that were at best “borderline” calls.
Playoff update: With the Railers winning and Wheeling losing to Toledo we’re going to switch from “tragic number”, the combination of points Wheeling earns and Worcester fails to gain, to “magic number”, the combination of points Worcester gains and Wheeling fails to do so. After play on Friday the Railers magic number is 8. They trail the Nailers by a point but have two games in hand. Worcester has five games to play. According to Sports Club Stats, the chance the Railers make the ECHL playoffs is now approximately 48.5%.
A quick look at some of the Railers players currently on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers roster…entering Friday’s games Kyle Schempp has an assist in two games since his one game stay in Worcester, Yanick Turcotte has 20 penalty minutes in three games, Jeff Kubiak didn’t hit the score sheet in his one game played on March 23rd, Kellen Jones has two goals and five assists in 22 games, and goaltender Eamon McAdam is 3-0 with a 2.64 goals against and .904 save percentage since his early March recall. Defenseman Ryan MacKinnon hasn’t played a game since his recall by the Sound Tigers.
The three stars of the game were
1) Frankie DiChiara (Railers #17). goal
2) Ben Masella (Railers #3), 2 assists
3) T.J. Syner (Railers #14), goal
The TWIW Player of the Game was Mike Cornell.
Even strength lines
Saracino / Almeida / Syner
Randolph / Holmstrom / Hudson
DiChiara / Willick / Tschantz
McKenzie / Cornell
Masella / Cullity
Panico / Hamonic
Brampton 0 0 2 – 2
Worcester 1 1 1 – 3
1st Period-1, Worcester, Syner 8 (Masella, Almeida), 3:03. Penalties-Panico Wor (tripping), 7:27; Tschantz Wor (slashing), 10:45; Saracino Wor (interference on the goalkeeper), 14:39.
2nd Period-2, Worcester, Cornell 4 (Masella, Saracino), 1:39 (PP). Penalties-Leef Brm (slashing), 0:21; MacLean Brm (slashing), 5:14; Donaghey Brm (slashing), 19:29.
3rd Period-3, Worcester, DiChiara 7 (Willick), 2:05. 4, Brampton, Henry 9 (Corrin, Blain), 7:52. 5, Brampton, Foster 14 (Murray, Jacklin), 11:49. Penalties-Wilson Brm (holding), 2:56; Tschantz Wor (slashing), 5:54; Foster Brm (interference), 6:29; Almeida Wor (high-sticking), 18:05.
Shots on Goal-Brampton 8-10-14-32. Worcester 5-14-9-28.
Power Play Opportunities-Brampton 0 / 5; Worcester 1 / 5.
Goalies-Brampton, Driedger 7-5-0-1 (28 shots-25 saves). Worcester, Gillam 20-14-0-2 (32 shots-30 saves).
Referees-Andy Howard (2).
Linesmen-Kyle Richtelle (73), Dan Panciocco (59).