With Worcester on a four game winless streak it was important for them to get off to a good start against their North Division rivals, and the Railers did just that against the Adirondack Thunder Saturday night at the Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls, NY, and controlled the play in the opening 20 minutes.
Their hard work in the period paid off when defenseman Mike Cornell notched his second of the season at 7:34. Worcester had the puck in the Adirondack zone, and it eventually ended up on the stick of Yanick Turcotte. His shot was blocked, but he was able to gather the puck and send it back to Patrick McNally. The blueliner quickly passed it over to his defensive partner, but his pass was just a bit off. Cornell fielded the puck off the boards and blasted it past Adirondack goaltender Chris Nell.
The Railers would set a franchise mark for first period shots in outshooting the Thunder 16-5.
It was an entirely different story in the middle period as Worcester essentially sleepwalked through the middle period. They started off on the wrong foot by allowing a goal just 28 second into the period when Railers defenseman Kyle McKenzie couldn’t control the puck behind his own net. Bryan Ward centered the loose puck to Eric Nieley, and his shot beat Worcester netminder Mitch Gilliam.
Just when it looked like the Railers would escape the period tied the Thunder took the lead with six seconds remaining when Ward snuck behind the Worcester defense and lit the lamp to put the Railers down one.
In the third period it was back to Worcester controlling the play again, and at 3:07 McNally got Worcester even on a goal assisted by Chris Langkow. The Railers would get their second lead of the game just over a minute and a half later when Langkow fired a blast on net that Nell made the save on. Luckily for Worcester the puck went right on the stick of Woody Hudson, who buried it at 4:42. Matt Gaudreau got the second assist on the goal.
The Thunder managed to tie the game again at 5:40 when Ben Murphy beat a screened Gilliam, and then play got very chippy. At 10:13 Tim Harrison boarded Cornell, and in the ensuing fracas Harrison repeatedly punched Frankie DiChiara. Not only was Harrison not penalized for his altercation with DiChiara, referee Peter MacDougall didn’t eject Harrison for his boarding major.
With time winding down in the period and it looking like the game would be heading to overtime McNally went on an end to end rush, firing a shot to the high stick side of Nell to give the Railers a 4-3 lead with 25.3 seconds remaining. Gilliam became the first Railers goaltender with a point with his assist on the goal.
Adirondack then pulled Nell for the extra attacker but couldn’t get a shot off, and Worcester prevailed 4-3. The two teams meet again Saturday at the DCU Center.
Scratches for the Railers were Connor Doherty (21-day IR/Groin), Josh Monk (undisclosed injury), Wade Murphy, Ashton Rome (upper body injury), and Nick Saracino (back). After being reasonably healthy for the first few weeks of the season the Railers find themselves with a few injured players, with Monk, Rome, and Saracino not expected to play the rest of the weekend. Eamon McAdam was the back-up goaltender after starting the last five games for Worcester.
Upon further review, McAdam set four franchise marks in Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the Thunder. McAdam’s 37 saves in the game breaks his own mark of 34, and his 18 saves is the most not only in the first period of a game but in any period so far this season. His 16 second period saves is a road mark for that stanza.
In an ironic note, despite McAdam making all those saves Wednesday Worcester managed to hold Adirondack to just four shots in the final period, setting a new team mark for the fewest shots allowed in a road third period. Go figure.
In the ECHL teams have just 16 skaters available each game, and most teams go with 10 forwards and six defensemen. Because of injuries Adirondack dressed just five defensemen, three of which didn’t start the season with the Thunder.
The three stars of the game were
1) Patrick McNally (Railers #4), 2 goals, assist
2) Brain Ward (Adirondack #22), goal, assist
3) Eric Nieley (Adirondack #59), goal, assist
The TWIW Player of the Game was Chris Langkow
Even Strength Lines
Worcester 1 0 3 – 4
Adirondack 0 2 1 – 3
1st Period-1, Worcester, Cornell 2 (McNally, Turcotte), 7:34. Penalties-Syner Wor (holding), 8:23; Rodrigues Adk (hooking), 17:51.
2nd Period-2, Adirondack, Neiley 9 (Ward), 0:28. 3, Adirondack, Ward 7 (Neiley, Rodrigues), 19:54. Penalties-Rodrigues Adk (tripping), 7:01; Masella Wor (high-sticking), 10:48; Neugold Adk (tripping), 15:32.
3rd Period-4, Worcester, McNally 7 (Langkow), 3:07. 5, Worcester, Hudson 5 (Langkow, Gaudreau), 4:42 (PP). 6, Adirondack, Murphy 3 (Mercier), 5:40. 7, Worcester, McNally 8 (Gillam), 19:35. Penalties-Cote Adk (slashing), 4:21; DiChiara Wor (roughing), 10:13; Harrison Adk (boarding – major), 10:13; Masella Wor (charging), 11:23; Hudson Wor (bench – too many men), 15:28; McKenzie Wor (fighting – major), 16:51; Neiley Adk (fighting – major), 16:51.
Shots on Goal-Worcester 16-7-17-40. Adirondack 5-7-7-19.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 1 / 4; Adirondack 0 / 4.
Goalies-Worcester, Gillam 4-4-0-0 (19 shots-16 saves). Adirondack, Nell 0-1-0-0 (40 shots-36 saves).
Referees-Peter MacDougall (26).
Linesmen-Matt Brady (42), Adam Wood (36).