Railers Erupt Offensively in 7-3 Win Over Adirondack
Reece Newkirk scores his first pro goal and finishes with two scores and an assist
By Bill Ballou
The Railers walloped the Adirondack Thunder Sunday afternoon, 7-3, and have won consecutive games to close out the weekend. The seven goals were the most a Railers team has ever scored in regulation at the DCU Center.
The triumph was fueled by a phenomenal performance by the line of Cole Coskey, Reece Newkirk and Jacob Hayhurst. They combined for four goals, two by Newkirk. Add in the assists and the trio was 3-5-8.
Newkirk, an Islanders prospect, will be just 21 in a month and the goals were his first as a professional. He had been playing well, piling up assists, but the puck was not winding up in the net.
“There was a lot of frustration,” Newkirk said. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say that was true. The guys in the room have been great helping me out, and there were posts night after night, but I’m happy to be able to contribute and help out the team.”
Newkirk added an assist, Hayhurst had three and Coskey was 1-1-2. Worcester’s other scorers were Ross Olsson, Jordan Lavallee-Smotherman, Brent Beaudoin and Bobby Butler.
How about that? Smotherman, 35, and Butler, 34, played in all three games in what amounted to 2 1/2 days.
Although Worcester dominated, it was a 3-3 tie halfway through the game. Beaudoin scored on a great wrist shot to the top corner to make it 4-3 at 16:05 of the second period and that seemed to be the catalyst for Worcester to run off with it.
Newkirk, Olsson and Smotherman added goals in the third.
Shane Harper, Sebastian Vidmar and Jake Hamilton had the Adirondack goals.
Olsson extended his goal-scoring streak to four in a row. That is tied for the second-best in franchise history. Tyler Barnes scored in eight in a row in January and February of 2019. Nick Sorkin had a four-game streak later that season.
“They were dominant today,” coach David Cuniff said of the Hayhurst line. “You have three really good individual players that played as a line and the defense got involved in it, too. The way they were skating today, nobody could keep up with them.”
The line could have been even more productive, Cunniff added, if the game had been more closely officiated.
“Every time Coskey had the puck,” he said, “they had to put a lasso around him. That was the only way they could slow him down.”
Colten Ellis got the win in net. He got off to a slow start, allowing three goals on the Thunder’s first nine shots, then settled down and made some sharp saves to prevent Adirondack from getting back in the game. Ellis is 5-4-0, Ken Appleby 6-7-1.
Coskey, Hayhurst and Nick Albano were all plus-3. Nolan Vesey had a pair of assists. Butler’s goal was probably the game’s prettiest as he sniped a 35-foot wrist shot over Thunder goalie Mareks Miten’s glove at 17:08 of the first period.
Butler had an assist taken away Saturday night but is still 2-5-7 and plus-6 in four games. Worcester is 3-1 in those games.
This has been a weekend to get re-acquainted for the Railers, whose roster has been torn apart by Covid and callups. Familiarity may breed contempt in some parts of life but it has been a life-saver for the Railers.
MAKING TRACKS_Worcester gets five days of rest before another 3-in-3 weekend. The Railers are at Maine on Friday night then play host to the legendary Fort Wayne Komets on Saturday and Sunday. … Connor McCarthy was activated from the Commisioner’s Exempt List and took a turn on defense. Matthew Sredl went on injured reserve. … Vidmar got one of those rare penalties for playing without a helmet in the first period. A penalty? He should have gotten a bonus. Alas, he got another helmet penalty — not secured — later in that period. … Ellis got a legit assist on Butler’s goal, setting it up with a pass to Hayhurst. Ellis has two assists so far this season, the only assists by a Railers’ goaltender. … Beaudoin has scored seven of his nine goals at the DCU Center, the last seven in a row. … Attendance was 2,732. … Railers teams have thrived in 3-in-3 weekends through the years. They took two of three this weekend and are 43-32-6 all-time in that format.