By Bill Ballou
WORCESTER – Businesses and governments are required to make quarterly reports, not hockey teams, but if the Railers had to file one on their first quarter of the season it would be mixed.
Worcester lost its second straight home game Friday night, 4-1, to the Norfolk Admirals. The Railers finished the first quarter with 17 points in 18 games.
One quarter does not make a season. Last year’s team had the best first quarter record of any team in city history at 15-2-1 but did not qualify for the post-season.
“If you look outside the records,” coach Jordan Smotherman said, “a lot of the games we played don’t reflect the scores. We’re having a problem building momentum right now. We’re very one and done….you can’t win a game scoring one goal. We’ve played against some good goalies and (Yaniv Perets) certainly had a good game, made some big saves, but I think we’ve made some goalies look better.”
The Admirals got goals from Keaton Jameson, Mark Liwiski, Keegan Iverson and an empty-netter from Mathieu Roy. Ashton Calder scored for Worcester.
Jameson put Norfolk ahead at 16:31 of the first period. He beat Henrik Tikkanen with a wrist shot from the right circle.
Calder made it 1-1 at 8:49 of the second period, scoring his ninth goal of the season. It came on the power play and was set up by passes from Connor Welsh and Blake Jenkins. Welsh fed Calder at the top of the left circle and he drilled a slapshot past Perets.
It was a 1-1 game going into the final 20 minutes. Liwiski made it 2-1 at 4:24, then Iverson gave Norfolk a 3-1 lead at 8:35, scoring from the left circle to finish a 2 on 1. Roy’s empty netter came at 19:51 with the Admirals on a power play.
Worcester had a few chances in the third period that Perets denied. Jenkins had a couple of them, rookie Joey Cipollone another. None of them went in.
“This is a great group,” Smotherman said. “The effort level is through the roof. It’s a question of coordinating it better.”
The Railers have three-quarters of a season left to work on that.
MAKING TRACKS – The weekend series continues with another game against the Admirals at 7:05 Saturday night. … Attendance was 1,839. … Railers not in uniform included Jake Schultz, Christian Krygier, Quinn Ryan, Keegan Howdeshell and Jack Quinlivan. … Norfolk assistant coach Joel Rumpel, a former goalie, wore a Worcester Sharks uniform at the end of the 2014-15 season after signing an ATO out of Wisconsin. He never got into a game, though. … Railers forward Zach White turned 28 Friday.