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Physical Bout Ends in 5-2 Railers Loss

Saturday, December 2nd
Physical Bout Ends in 5-2 Railers Loss

By Bill Ballou

WORCESTER – The Railers played a spirited game here Friday night but it had a dispiriting result, another loss on home ice.

Worcester was beaten by the Norfolk Admirals, 5-2, with the last opposing goal coming into an empty net. The Railers had a 40-29 edge in shots on goal and had leads of 1-0 and 2-1 they could not protect as the Admirals scored four goals in the third period.

The difference was special teams. Norfolk converted three of nine power plays while Worcester was 0 for 6.

Referee Austin O’Rourke was unusually busy, calling 21 minor penalties. Some of them were double minors for roughing that, a few years ago, would have been fighting majors.

Nowadays, if a player has a pulse after engaging in a bout, the penalty is roughing, not fighting.

There was plenty of roughing. Seven of those penalties were called and Railers’ rookies Artyom Kulakov and Riley Piercey were both involved in some serious jousting.

To no avail, as it turned out.

Worcester got goals from Ashton Calder and Keegan Howdeshell. Norfolk was paced by Carson Golder’s two goals. Simon Kubicek, Danny Katic and Mathieu Roy had the other Admirals goals.

Calder’s goal was his 10th of the season. It came in Worcester’s 19th game. The last Railer to score 10 goals in the first 20 games of the season was Jordan Smotherman, who did it at the beginning of the 2021-22 campaign.

The Railers were constantly thwarted by Norfolk goaltender Thomas Milic, who had 38 saves. A lot of them were good ones. Worcester had reams of good chances that wound up with shots on net, but only two shots in net.

Calder put Worcester ahead at 11:44 of the first period by beating Milic with a quick wrist shot from between the circles. The Railers were still ahead, 1-0, with the game more than half over but the Admirals changed that with their first power play goal.

Kubicek got it at 15:06 of the second period. He drilled a low slap shot through traffic and past goalie Tristan Lennox for his third of the season.

Worcester responded well, though, and retook the lead before the period was over. Howdeshell got his second of the year at 17:38 via a snap shot from about 20 feet out. He was set up by a fine pass from the right wing by Joey Cipollone.

Norfolk regained the momentum early in the third period, however, with two goals just 52 seconds apart, both by Golder, both on the power play. The first one was a rebound at 3:54, the second a tap in from just outside the crease at 4:42.

The first power play came with Jake Pivonka in the penalty box for high sticking. The second happened when Worcester was called for two roughings, Norfolk one, on the same altercation.

Piercey was involved at the beginning then Connor Welsh wound up getting a minor as well.

The Railers had power play chances after that and eventually pulled Lennox but could not beat Milic. In those final 20 minutes, Worcester had 14 shots on net and no goals. Norfolk had eight shots and four goals.

#RailersHC

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