The Worcester Railers closed out their four game road trip with their second game in a row in Utah, and after last night’s disappointing overtime loss Worcester was looking for a little revenge.
It took exactly one minute for the Railers to get on the board when Chris Langkow fired one from between the circles past Utah goaltender Angus Redmond. Kellen Jones’ pass from the right corner to the wide open Langkow set up the goal. Mike Cornell had the second assist on the play.
Grizzlies tough guy Travis Howe then decided to take on Yanick Turcotte, only the Railers forward really didn’t show much interest in fighting. Howe then decided to give Worcester defenseman Patrick McNally the business, forcing Turcotte to come to his teammate’s defense. Although Howe was acting like he won, Turcotte had the best of the fight and sent Howe to the ice to end the battle.
Worcester built on the momentum gained and made it 2-0 at the 16:34 mark when captain Ashton Rome won a face-off clean to Ben Masella. The defenseman blasted one from the right point that Redmond had no chance on.
There was no scoring in the middle period, but there was a scary moment when Wade Murphy was hit with a vicious elbow by Utah forward Zach Saar, Despite the hit happening right in the field of view of referee Liam Sewell no penalty was called until Railers defenseman Justin Hamonic jumped to Murphy’s defense.
In the third period McNally added an insurance tally at 3:24 with a blast from the blueline. Kellen Jones and Langkow had the helpers on the goal. That goal would be big when Saar scored to cut the Railers lead to 3-1 at 10:12, but that’s as close as Utah would get as Barry Almeida added an empty net goal for the 4-1 final.
Scratches for the Railers were Eamon McAdam, Nick Saracino (injured), Woody Hudson, Josh Monk (injured), and Connor Doherty. Alex Vazzano, who is on an “EBUG” (Emergency back-up goaltender) contract, was the back-up goaltender.
During an interview with Worcester play by play man Eric Lindquist broadcasted during the pregame show Railers head coach Jamie Russell talked about how tough it sometimes is to crack the line-up as teams usually dress ten forwards in the ECHL. He specifically mentioned Hudson, who he said had a good game Friday but was the odd man out Saturday.
Saturday was the last regular season game outside of the eastern time zone for the Railers. Additionally, they only have one game that’s scheduled to start later than 7:05pm, and that’s the 7:15pm start in Toledo on November 24th. As someone that usually isn’t up very late, that’s a good thing.
The game was a “Marvel Super Hero Night”, a league wide event where teams wear Marvel-themed jerseys. Utah’s jerseys were based on Thor, while the Railers wore jerseys representing The Hulk. The Railers will wear those jerseys again on March 2nd and 3rd when they host the Wheeling Nailers. With the Railers wearing the specialty jerseys Vazzano was wearing McAdam’s usual #39.
Being an outpost franchise like Utah is often causes issues not in just scheduling games but also with the ECHL hiring on-ice officials. Going back to last season the Grizzlies have had just three different linesmen work their games. Kollin Kleinendorst and James McKenna worked both of the Railers games, and Andrew Collins is the third linesman who works games at the Maverik Center. You have to go back to the last weekend of the 2015-16 season to find a fourth linesman listed.
Through five games the Railers have had three goals waved off by referees for various reasons. Their opponents have had none. They say those things eventually balance out, but in a league that does not utilize replay it might be something that bears watching.
The three stars of the game were:
1) Chris Langkow (Railers): goal, assist
2) Mitch Gillam (Railers): 27 saves, win
3) Patrick McNally (Railers): goal, assist
The TWIW Player of the Game was Kellen Jones.
Even Strength Lines
Worcester 2 0 2 – 4
Utah 0 0 1 – 1
1st Period-1, Worcester, Langkow 2 (Jones, Cornell), 1:00. 2, Worcester, Masella 1 (Rome), 16:34. Penalties-McNally Wor (slashing), 10:32; Turcotte Wor (fighting – major), 10:32; Howe Uta (fighting – major), 10:32; Navin Uta (slashing), 12:55; Jones Uta (interference), 18:09; Langkow Wor (tripping), 19:34.
2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Hamonic Wor (double – roughing), 2:21; Saar Uta (double – roughing), 2:21; Jones Wor (tripping), 9:30; Eick Uta (slashing), 12:14.
3rd Period-3, Worcester, McNally 4 (Jones, Langkow), 3:24. 4, Utah, Saar 1 (Navin, Olsen), 10:12. 5, Worcester, Almeida 1 (Syner, McNally), 18:25. Penalties-served by Turcotte Wor (bench – too many men), 12:15; Syner Wor (hooking), 15:43.
Shots on Goal-Worcester 11-11-9-31. Utah 7-9-12-28.
Power Play Opportunities-Worcester 0 / 3; Utah 0 / 5.
Goalies-Worcester, Gillam 2-1-0-0 (28 shots-27 saves). Utah, Redmond 1-3-0-0 (31 shots-27 saves).
Referees-Liam Sewell (7).
Linesmen-James McKenna (96), Kollin Kleinendorst (35).