Thunder Struck, Railers Win 6-2
By Bill BallouWORCESTER – One of the oldest and most unproven proverbs in sport is that streaks follow streaks.The Railers are hoping to prove it true.They snapped the Adirondack Thunder’s 12-game points streak with a solid 6-2 victory Saturday night in the final regular-season game of the DCU Center hockey season. The triumph ensured that Worcester retains control of its playoff destiny.The Railers have two games left, both at Adirondack next weekend. There are all sorts of numerical possibilities what with games in hand, overtime and shootout losses, etc, but the mathematical truth is undeniable. If Worcester wins both games in regulation, it makes the playoffs.During the ups and downs of the last few weeks the Railers have had trouble scoring goals, but not Saturday night. Steve Jandric scored on a breakway just 69 seconds after the opening faceoff and when Jacob Hayhurst scored 38 seconds into the third period, Worcester had a four-goal lead for the first time since Feb. 24 in South Carolina.“We changed our point of attack,” coach Jordan Smotherman said. “We emphasized making sure we were getting everything to the net from different angles. We wanted to get some traffic there and get some of those dirty ones, which we did tonight.”It marked the first time since Jan. 27, a 7-6 overtime victory over Reading, that Worcester got as many as six goals in regulation. There were a lot of offensive contributors starting with Hayhurst, who had two goals. Anthony Repaci had a goal and two assists, Jandric and Myles McGurty both went 1-1-2 and Brent Beaudoin had a pair of assists.Nick Fea scored his seventh goal of the season, first since March 4.The puck spent a lot of time in the Adirondack zone. When it didn’t, Henrik Tikkanen stopped all but two of the 33 Thunder shots. Adirondack scored back to back goals at 3:13 and 6:42 of the third period. Matt Stief got the first with Worcester two men short, Ryan Smith the second.Jandric’s goal set the tone for the night. Thunder defenseman Kyle Hallbauer had the puck between his skates inside his blue line and Jandric poked it free. He finished the play by beating goalie Mike Robinson with a 15-foot backhander. Hayhurst made it 2-0 at 18:24 of the first period, then McGurty scored his second of the season — fourth as a Railer all-time — at 16:06 of the second period with Repaci setting him up.It was McGurty’s first goal in his 67 games played at the DCU Center.Jandric’s goal was not just good for the Railers. It was good for him, too. He had been playing well but not cashing in on chances.“It was very important,” Smotherman said, “he’d been dealing with some frustration the last couple of games and it was good to see him get that one early.”The Railers enter the final week of the regular season with almost no margin of error. Worcester has 72 points, Adirondack 71, but the Thunder has two games in hand, both on the road. Adirondack plays Sunday at Maine, next Friday at Trois-Rivieres. Even if the Thunder win both, they will lead the Railers by three points, a deficit Worcester could make up with a sweep next weekend.MAKING TRACKS – Defenseman Christian Evers returned to action after a long stint on the injured list. He had last played on Feb. 7 and missed 23 games. … Tikkanen assisted on Hayhurst’s first goal. It was his first assist of the season. … Attendance was 5,636. The Railers finished the regular season with an average of 3,934. That is up from 3,855 last season. … Shawn Heaphy of the IceCats and Barry Almeida of the Railers, with 83 goals between them in four Worcester seasons, were on hand to sign autographs. … Longtime DCU Center operations manager George Sedares is retiring and dropped the ceremonial first puck.#AllAboutTheW
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