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Railers Grab a Point in Overtime Loss Saturday Night vs. Kalamazoo

Sunday, February 6th
Railers Grab a Point in Overtime Loss Saturday Night vs. Kalamazoo

Railers Grab a Point in Overtime Loss Saturday Night vs. Kalamazoo

Colten Ellis was tremendous in net making 34 saves

By Bill Ballou

WORCESTER, MASS. – Railers fans got a taste of what the post-season feels like Saturday night.

Their team and the Kalamazoo Wings played a tight one, but not without action, although the visitors prevailed, 2-1, in overtime. Justin Taylor got the winning goal 53 seconds into the extra session.

The result was even more painful considering that the Railers had a1-0 lead with less than three minutes left in the third period. Matheson Iacopelli scored the tying goal for Kalamazoo at 17:21, cutting around a defender to beat Colten Ellis with a shot under the crossbar.

Nick Albano had the Railers goal.

Ellis was tremendous again, as was Kalamazoo’s Trevor Gorsuch. The final shots favored the Wings, 36-34, but many of the saves were sensational and both teams had great scoring chances that did not result in goals.

For goalies, overtime losses count as plain, old losses while shooutout ones don’t, so Ellis took an accounting defeat as he did in Reading on Jan. 7. However, the Railers have picked up at least a point in each of his last six starts.

“He was great,” coach David Cunniff said. “He gave us a chance to win, but it never should have gotten that far.”

As wild as Railers games have been lately, three goals is not a comfortable lead, let alone one. Albano scored at 1:06 of the second period and Worcester protected that slim margin for what seemed like forever, then finally buckled.

“We stopped making plays. That was uncharacteristic of us. I thought we just started punting too many pucks,” Cunniff said.

The Railers seemed to do everything well except score throughout the night.

“We had a lot of chances but everything was a shot,” Cunniff said. “We didn’t go to the net. We made it too easy. We lost the battle of the crease tonight. (Saturday) night we won the battle of the creases.”

However disappointing the outcome, especially considering how close Worcester came to winning, the loss was not a total loss. The Railers got a point out of it and Kalamazoo is not a divisional opponent, so Worcester did not suffer a double setback in the playoff picture.

The first period was scoreless, but not chanceless. The Railers had more of them and Gorsuch was sharp, especially early. Ten minutes into it Worcester had a 15-1 edge in shots on goal, but right after that the Wings had the best chance of the period.

Iacopelli was sent in cleanly at 10:10 and closed to within about 20 feet. Ellis did not give him much net to work with, though, and he was able to smother the shot.

It was the first scoreless period of any description in a Railers game since the first period on Jan. 22, Worcester’s 3-2 victory over Adirondack. That covered 17 straight periods with at least one goal.

Albano’s goal came on the power play. He was set up by Liam Coughlin at the center point and beat Gorsuch with a low shot that changed direction on the way in.

It was Albano’s fourth goal of the season and they have all been different. He has scored 5 on 5, 5 on 4 Saturday night, 5 on 3 and 4 on 3.

Ellis had to stop a breakaway by Logan Lambdin just 38 seconds after the puck was dropped. The Wings then controlled a faceoff in the Railers end and Taylor wound up winning it by sliding home a rebound from about 10 feet out.

MAKING TRACKS_The teams finish this February trifecta with a 3:05 game this afternoon. Worcester is 10-15-3 all-time in third games of 3 in 3s. … Bobby Butler returned to action after coming off the Covid list, but was held pointless. … The Railers suspended rookie Danny Katic, who never played a game for them. It was not disciplinary. Katic was caught in Worcester’s improving roster numbers and left to pursue other opportunities with no hard feelings. By suspending him, Worcester retains his ECHL rights. … Ken Appleby came back from Bridgeport and was Ellis’ backup…. The game featured another referee making his DCU Center debut, Rocco Stachowiak. … A nod to the Wings for having excellent road uniforms. … Ross Olsson got a night of rest while Albano was back in the lineup after a four-game absence. Will Cullen did not dress. … This marked just the third time a Railers goalie lost a shutout bid in the final five minutes of the third period. It happened once apiece to Mitch Gillam and Evan Buitenhuis … The crowd was 4,532, the seventh of the season over 4,000.

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