Kalamazoo Scores With Under a Minute Left For 2-1 Win Over Worcester
Will Cullen scores lone goal for Railers
By Bill Ballou
WORCESTER, MASS – Kyle Blaney scored on a clean breakaway — a virtual penalty shot — with just 52 seconds left in the third period to give his team a 2-1 victory.
On Saturday, Kalamazoo also won 2-1. The Wings scored the tying goal at 17:21 of the third period then triumphed in overtime.
Railers goaltender Ken Appleby initially made the save on Blaney but the puck bounced past him and barely trickled over the goal line. It was the Wings’ 28th shot of the game.
In further irony, Worcester was stymied by Kalamazoo goaltender Jason Pawloski who was excellent in turning back 24 shots. Pawloski was at his best in the second part of the third period when the Railers had their best scoring chances of the game.
He was the Worcester goaltender on Dec. 29 when the Railers allowed a franchise-high nine goals in a 9-7 loss in Maine. Pawloski gave up eight of them.
For the second straight game a Railers goalie allowed only two goals but lost. Sunday, Appleby was the main reason Worcester had a chance to win or at least earn a point.
Once again the Railers scored early, but not often.
Will Cullen’s goal gave Worcester a 1-0 lead at 8:34 of the first period on assists from Reece Newkirk and Jacob Hayhurst. It came off a faceoff in the left circle, the puck coming out to Cullen just inside the blue line.
He snapped a wrist shot from about 58 feet that skirted traffic in front of Pawloski and went past his glove and inside the far post.
It was Cullen’s sixth goal in 19 games with the Railers. That ties him with Ryan MacKinnon for second place for most goals in a season by a Worcester defenseman. MacKinnon did it in a full season in 2018-19. The record is Patrick McNally’s 12 goals in 2017-18 and he did that in 29 games before heading for Europe.
The Railers showed little life in the second period. The Wings were shorthanded for six minutes in the first 8:19, having been called for a double minor high stick and a slash. Worcester barely made Pawloski break a sweat.
The home team’s best scoring chance came shorthanded, actually, when Anthony Repaci had a semi-breakaway at 11:29. Pawloski made the chest save.
Kalamazoo tied it less than a minute later, Logan Lambdin scoring his 17th of the season. There was a get-together in the left corner, nine of the 10 skaters on the ice in close proximity. Lambdin was the even man out, got a pass from Zach Jordan, and snapped a no-chancer past Appleby from about 20 feet away dead-center in front.
Aside from that and the breakaway goal, Appleby was terrific, as he and Colten Ellis have been almost all year long.
MAKING TRACKS_Ross Olsson returned to the lineup but his point streak ended at eight games while Blake Christensen did not dress. Cullen was in, Austin Osmanski out on defense. … Pawloski became the first goaltender to play both for and against the Railers in the same season. Eamon McAdam and Alex Sakellaropoulos have both played for and against Worcester but not in the same season. … The Railers will get five days of rest, their longest time off of 2022. When they return to action they will be back in the division and back at the DCU Center playing Adirondack Saturday night at 7:05 and at 1:05 on Super Bowl Sunday. … Attendance was 2,763.