By Bill Ballou
WORCESTER – The Railers fell 4-2 to the Trois-Rivieres Lions to wrap up a home three-in-three weekend.
The Railers found themselves in an early hole. They were behind, 1-0, less than four minutes after the opening faceoff and never led.
Lions goaltender Zachary Emond, facing Worcester for the first time in his career, was excellent in net with 34 stops. Several were very timely, too. But, the Railers just did not finish well.
“It was a combination of both,” is how coach Jordan Smotherman described his team’s lack of goals. “He made some good saves but often times we don’t find those pucks laying around the net. There were a lot of rebounds and the drive has not been there this year to put those in the back of the net.”
The two pucks that did find the back of the net were shot by Jack Quinlivan and Blade Jenkins. The Lions got goals from Nolan Yaremko, Nicolas Guay, Jakov Novak — his 19th of the season — and Cedric Montminy into an empty net.
Ken Appleby stopped 31 of 34 shots on the night for Worcester.
Yaremko scored at 3:43 of the first period. Quinlivan tied it at 7:12 of the second on a rebound of a play he set up with hard work down the left wing. It was his first goal of the season, third as a pro and first at the DCU Center.
Guay converted a 4 on 3 power play at 1:33 of the third then Jenkins tied it again with a wraparound at 4:53. Novak scored a scrambly goal for what proved to be the winner at 11:10.
The opposition seems to be getting more scrambly goals than Worcester these days.
“Those are earned over time,” Smotherman said, “when you dissect them you realize they’re self-inflicted.”
The game was a lively one that featured 51 minutes worth of penalties including a fighting major to Artyom Kulakov and a game misconduct for abuse of officials to Zach White.
The loss dropped Worcester into fifth place in the North Division, at least in terms of points. The Railers are fourth in winning percentage but can’t see to find the traction to get themselves a little breathing room.
MAKING TRACKS – The Railers’ next games are at Trois-Rivieres next weekend. They return home for a pair against Maine starting Feb. 9. … Worcester was 5-7-0 in January. … There were two lineup changes from Saturday night. … Rookie Ryan Dickinson was on defense with Zsombar Garat getting the afternoon off. Todd Goehring returned from a stint on injured reserve and played his first game since New Year’s Eve. Brian Bowen did not dress. … Chris Jandric, younger brother of former Railers forward Steve Jandric, played defense for the Lions and had an assist. …Jenkins has a five-game points streak at 5-2-7. Anthony Repaci had an assists and has points in four in a row at 3-2-5. … Anthony Callin had an assist and has eight in the last seven games.