By Bill BallouWORCESTER – The Railers fell at home on Saturday night by a final score of 5-2 to the Newfoundland Growlers in front of a nice crowd of 5,797.But the news is not all bad, since they’ve done something they had never done before — win the season series with Newfoundland.The game was the 12th between the teams this season, the last unless they meet in the playoffs, which is a real possibility. Even with Saturday’s defeat, Worcester went 6-5-1 versus the Growlers this season after going 6-18-2 in the three previous years combined.Newfoundland’s victory was not quite a one-man show, but goaltender Luke Cavallin put on a show. He was sensational in net and set up what proved to the the winning goal.That came at 2:11 of the third period, the score tied 2-2.The Railers sent the puck into the Growlers end and made a wholesale swap of skaters. Cavallin passed the puck ahead to Brett Budgell. He found Todd Skirving headed in alone on Henrik Tikkanen and Skirving finished the play for his 25th goal of the season.“You can’t change all five guys,” coach Jordan Smotherman said. “You can’t change five guys at the same time. It’s something we’ve talked about all year and it continues to come back and bite us.”Once the Growlers assumed the lead they were not about to relinquish it and Worcester had few good chances the rest of the game. Cavallin finished with 35 saves and may have actually won the match in the second period with a series of sensational stops after the Railers had taken a 2-1 lead.The best? Probably a diving block of Brett Beaudoin’s rebound into to what originally looked an open net at 18:15. Cavallin also made great saves on Liam Coughlin and Bobby Butler late in the period. Andrei Bakanov hit a post at 19:47.Still, it was an uneven performance by Worcester, which played a great 60 minutes Friday night.“It wasn’t one of our better games,” Smotherman said. “We outshot them, but we were late to the play. We reacted as opposed to anticipated.”Newfoundland got two goals and an assist Skirving, two of each from Keenan Suthers, who had an empty netter late in the game. Chris Martenet had the other Growlers goal, just his second of the year, and it hurt.Noah Delmas and Beaudoin had scored at 10:32 and 13:26 of the second period to put Worcester ahead, 2-1. Martenet tied it at 16:06 with a soft wrist shot from the left that seemed to find its way through blockade of bodies, past Tikkanen, and inside the far post.Repaci had a pair of assists for Worcester, Beaudoin a goal and an assist.Budgell had four assists for Newfoundland and was plus-5.Delmas, playing forward, converted on a power play. It was his first goal in 45 games and second of the season. He had the other on opening night here versus Adirondack.The Thunder, by the way, also lost 5-2 Saturday night, at Jacksonville, so did not make up any ground on the Railers in the playoff race.MAKING TRACKS – Worcester plays at Maine Sunday afternoon. It will be three games in three days for the Railers while the Mariners did not have games either Friday or Saturday. Worcester has one triumph, a shootout victory, in four games versus Maine this season. … Nick Fea had an assist and has quietly put together a six-game points streak at 2-4-6. … Beaudoin’s goal was his 31st as a Railer. He moved past Smotherman into fourth place on the franchise’s all-time list. … With the exception of goaltending, the Railers used the same lineup as Friday night. … Never happened before — referee Dominic Cadieux worked his fourth straight Railers game. There had been plenty of three-peats through the years, but four in a row is a record. … Two Original Railers were recognized during the game. It was owner Cliff Rucker’s birthday and the seventh anniversary of the hiring of Chief Operating Officer Mike Myers. … While the Growlers scored first, it took them 16:43 to do it. That ended the Railers home-ice streak of allowing a goal in the first minute at three games. … Worcester’s penalty killing continues to be a strength. The Railers were 2 for 2 Saturday night and are 17 for 19 in the last nine games.#AllAboutTheW
Growlers Derail Worcester 5-2 on WooSox Night
Sunday, March 5th
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