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Railers Drop Overtime Bout 5-4 to Thunder

Saturday, November 4th
Railers Drop Overtime Bout 5-4 to Thunder

By Bill Ballou

WORCESTER – Worcester dropped a 5-4 overtime decision to Adirondack, allowing four power play goals along the way. The overtime goal, scored by Matt Stief, was a 4-on-3 goal with Railers forward Zach White in the penalty box for tripping.

From close up, and on replay, it did not look much like a trip and the Railers were careful not to be critical of the call. That could cost them money. They were not happy, but White stood up and took the blame.

“It wasn’t a good play,” he said. “I was trying for the puck and then he fell…that was terrible by me.”

Coach Jordan Smotherman discreetly not critical of the officiating. Neither was he critical of his player.

“That’s just the kind of guy he is,” Smotherman said of White taking the blame.

There was plenty of blame, but plenty of credit in what turned out to be a terrific game after a sluggish first period. After scoring two goals in the game’s first 40 minutes the teams combined for seven in the last 23:16.

The overtime loss earned the Railers one point and after the last two seasons when they missed the playoffs by a point, they can understand the value of that. The problem is that in the third period they blew a 3-1 lead and 4-3 lead before the game went into overtime.

“That can’t happen,” Smotherman said of the late lapses, “especially their fourth goal. We completely lose our heads and five guys wind up in the corner. That can’t happen in small margin games.”

The fourth Adirondack goal was scored by Riley Smith with just 2:34 left in the third period. He drilled a 25-foot shot past Tristan Lennox’ blocker. What made it worse was that while it was not officially a shorthanded goal, Thunder defenseman Tristan Thompson had been injured near his own net and was still in the defensive zone trying to get off the ice when Adirondack scored.

The Railers goals were scored by Andrei Bakanov, Ashton Calder and Brendan Robbins. Bakanov had two goals to register the first multi-goal game of his Railers career. Anthony Callin, once again a key offensive player for Worcester, had three assists.

The score after the first 20 minutes would have been about 7-6 if icings had counted as goals. As has been traditional in hockey, they did not. Thus it was a 0-0 game going into the second period.

About seven minutes into the period the Railers were whistled for icing three times in the span of a minute but as things progressed the teams began to generate more offense but could not score.

The Railers and the Thunder traded power play goals in the second period with Adirondack scoring first. Thompson gave his team a 1-0 lead at 9:32 by drilling a 55-foot slapshot home from the right point.

Bakanov tied it at 1-1 at 17:59 with his first goal of the season. It was on the power play as he converted a nice goalmouth pass from Callin. Bakanov gave Worcester the lead at 1:55 of the third period, again on the power play, with a sizzling high wrist shot from between the circles.

Calder scored a marvelous shorthanded goal at 5:45 to make it 3-1. He was sent free on a breakaway when Jake Pivonka batted the puck out of mid air and sent it directly to his streaking teammate. Calder beat Jeremy Brodeur with a backhander from in close.

Erik Middendorf tied it for Adirondack with goals at 7:29 and 8:57, both on power plays, the first with the Railers two men short. Robbins banged in a rebound off the back wall at 14:26, Callin having taken the original shot, but Smith scored that crucial tying goal exactly three minutes.

From there it was on to overtime and the 5-4 final.

MAKING TRACKS – Attendance for Hockey Fights Cancer Night was 4,015. The Railers game was preceded by the Bruins Alumni versus Why Me?. The Bruins prevailed, 7-3. … Quinn Ryan, Riley Piercey, Artyom Bakanov, Anthony Repaci, and Jack Quinlivan (IR) did not dress for Worcester… Keeghan Howdeshell made two great blocks of Thunder shots during the early minutes of their overtime power play. …The Railers and Thunder finish the series with an afternoon game on Tuesday, which is election day in the city so no school. The puck drops at 1:05. … Worcester had two power play goals in the same game for the first time this season.

#RailersHC

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