WORCESTER – With the Worcester Railers having Saturday night off and the Manchester Monarchs playing their fourth game in five days it should have been Worcester that came out with tons of energy, but unfortunately for the 3,370 Railers fans in attendance it was the Monarchs that controlled the opening 20 minutes.
Worcester was lucky to escape the period down just a single goal, mostly due to a few nice saves by netminder Eamon McAdam. Despite his stellar play one did make it past him, as Zac Lynch buried a centering feed by Craig Wyszomirski at 11:27 on the power play.
In the second period Worcester came out on fire, but early on it looked like it was once again going to be one of those nights when Patrick McNally fired a blast that stunned Monarchs goaltender Charles Williams but no Railers player could get to the rebound.
A little later on in a wild scramble in front of the Manchester net Williams was down and out but still managed to make an incredible save through the legs of half a dozen players. In the next sequence Worcester captain Ashton Rome was all alone in front but fired the puck over the net.
Rome would make amends for the miss when he took a Barry Almeida pass and skated down the left side of the Monarchs zone. Williams made the save on the shot, but Rome collected the rebound and banked it in off Williams from just behind the goal line for the shorthanded tally at 9:47.
The Railers made it 2-1 on another shorthanded goal when Chris Langkow flipped a pass to Kellen Jones. The fourth year pro was so far ahead of the play he had to wait at the Manchester blue line for the puck to get to him. Jones collected the puck, skated in, and beat Williams to the glove side. The puck banked off the far post, off the crossbar, and in at 12:31.
The Railers had 27 shots in the second period, smashing their franchise mark in that category and setting a new season high in the ECHL.
In the third period Worcester kept their foot on the throttle, and their hard work was rewarded again when Kyle McKenzie blasted one past Williams at 7:42 for an insurance goal. It looked to this writer that Nick Saracino tipped the puck as it flew past him, but the goal is currently listed as McKenzie’s. The assists went to Mike Cornell and Langkow.
Because of the Railers continued pressure as time wound down it took a long while for Manchester to get Williams to the bench for an extra attacker, but nearly as soon as they did Saracino sent Matt Gaudreau in all alone down the left side for the empty net goal with 49 seconds remaining. Langkow picked up his third assist of the game on the tally.
The Railers next game is against the Nailers in Wheeling, West Virginia on Wednesday.
Scratches for the Railers were Connor Doherty (21 day IR), Frankie DiChiara, Wade Murphy, and T.J. Syner. Mitch Gillam was the back up goaltender.
Sunday was the fourth time in nine days that the Railers and Manchester played each other. It’s the fourth time that’s happened in Worcester hockey history, with the IceCats taking on the Providence Bruins four times between January 11 and 19, 2002, and the WorSharks playing the Abbotsford Heat four times between February 26 and March 6, 2010 and the Portland Pirates between January 15 and 23, 2011. The record, if one could call it that, is the four games in eight days that the IceCats and Hartford Wolf Pack played between January 15 and 22, 1999.
While Manchester doesn’t have any former Worcester players in its roster, the Railers have two players who played for the Monarchs. Rookie Wade Murphy finished off last season with Manchester on an amateur try-out after his season at Arizona State was over. He had 2 goals and 4 assists in 14 regular season games with the Monarchs. Worcester captain Ashton Rome played a half season with Manchester after returning from Europe, going 12-6-18 in 36 regular season games and tacking on another 9-3-12 in the Monarchs playoff run to the ECHL Eastern Conference Finals.
Usually here on This Week in Worcester we like to list the even strength lines, even though the top lines don’t change often from game to game. For Sunday’s game Railers head coach Jamie Russell changed up his lines so often in the opening period looking for combinations that would work it was near impossible to keep track. It seemed for most of the game at even strength either forward Aston Rome or defenseman Patrick McNally was on the ice at all times.
The three stars of the game were
1) Kellen Jones (Railers #9), game winning shorthanded goal
2) Eamon McAdam (Railers #39), 28 saves
3) Kyle McKenzie (Railers #5), goal
The TWIW Player of the Game was Chris Langkow.
Manchester 1 0 0 – 1
Worcester 0 2 2 – 4
1st Period-1, Manchester, Lynch 6 (Wyszomirski, Kolomatis), 11:27 (PP). Penalties-McKenzie Wor (hooking), 1:46; Hudson Wor (interference on the goalkeeper), 10:26; Hudson Wor (tripping), 18:29; Morris Man (interference), 19:42.
2nd Period-2, Worcester, Rome 5 (Almeida), 9:47 (SH). 3, Worcester, Jones 4 (Langkow), 12:31 (SH). Penalties-Schurhamer Man (interference), 3:46; Lane Wor (hooking), 9:00; Lowry Man (unsportsmanlike conduct), 9:47; Cornell Wor (unsportsmanlike conduct), 9:47; Morris Man (roughing), 12:02; Kubiak Wor (boarding, roughing), 12:02; Kurker Man (roughing), 16:26; Nemcik Man (hooking), 18:18.
3rd Period-4, Worcester, McKenzie 2 (Cornell, Langkow), 7:42. 5, Worcester, Gaudreau 4 (Saracino, Langkow), 19:11 (EN). Penalties-Nemcik Man (boarding), 14:10; Turcotte Wor (misconduct – unsportsmanlike conduct), 20:00.
Shots on Goal-Manchester 12-6-11-29. Worcester 7-27-14-48.
Power Play Opportunities-Manchester 1 / 5; Worcester 0 / 5.
Goalies-Manchester, Williams 5-3-1-0 (47 shots-44 saves). Worcester, McAdam 4-3-1-0 (29 shots-28 saves).
Referees-Tyler Puddifant (28).
Linesmen-Kyle Richtelle (73), Dan Panciocco (59).