https://railershc.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/thumbnail_2EDIT_RL42139-RICH-LEBLANC.jpg 853 1280 admin /_media/2021-22/logo.png admin2023-03-22 23:02:522023-03-22 23:14:00Worcester Drops Wednesday Matchup to Thunder 3-1
Worcester Drops Wednesday Matchup to Thunder 3-1
By Bill Ballou
WORCESTER – Nothing good came out of Wednesday night for the Railers.
They lost 3-1 to the Adirondack Thunder, the team just behind them in the standings. The team just ahead of them in the standings, the Maine Mariners, won its game so it was double jeopardy for Worcester.
The Railers’ lead over the fifth-place Thunder was cut to seven points, but Adirondack has two games in hand. Wednesday night was the first of three straight against the Thunder with the next two in Glens Falls.
Then the teams play five more times before the regular season ends.
It will look and feel like a long playoff series, and look and feel even longer if the Railers don’t find a way to get back on track.
“Unfortunately for us,” coach Jordan Smotherman said, “that’s eight really uninspired periods in a row if you go back to the middle of that last game we played here against Maine.
“So something in that (dressing) room is gonna have to switch when we’re playing hockey like that down the stretch against desperate teams.”
The third Thunder goal was an empty-netter so the game was a winnable one for the Railers. They just never got it going.
“We had no energy the entire game,” Smotherman said, adding, “that’s not something you can have happen this time of the year.”
Adirondack was due to win here. The Thunder had dropped eight straight games at the DCU Center going back to last season. They got a goal in the second period from Wayne Letourneau at 5:29, then made it 2-0 in the third on Erik Middendorf’s goal (also at 5:29) in his first professional game.
Reece Newkirk scored for Worcester at 7:32. Shane Harper hit an empty net at 18:48 to record his 20th goal of the season.
Jake Theut made 32 saves for the Thunder to improve to 3-1-1 versus Worcester this season. Ken Appleby stopped 36 of 38 shots. In the last two games he and Henrik Tikkanen have combined to stop 84 of 88 shots, great goaltending, but Worcester is just 1-1 in those games.
The Railers had a net gain of one bullet in roster roulette.
Defenseman Trevor Cosgrove was recalled by Bridgeport but Worcester got Newkirk back on loan from Bridgeport and Anthony Repaci returned from bereavement leave. Repaci missed all three weekend games. Newkirk played his first ECHL game since Feb. 11.
His goal was set up by Jared Brandt, who made a good play at the right point to keep the puck in the offensive zone. It went airborne and Newkirk knocked it down, then fired a wrist shot past Theut from between the circles.
MAKING TRACKS – The Railers have a full roster complement. Including injured players, the list of players who were not in uniform included Noah Delmas, Billy Jerry, Christian Evers, Quin Ryan, Nick Fea, Jack Quinlivan and Max Johnson. … Drew Callin made the trip up from Springfield to watch brother Anthony play. … Newkirk reclaimed Number 37 from Johnson. Conor Breen has Number 21 with Anthony Callin retaining Number 17. … A retro note from Sunday in Maine is that the shots differential of 50-19 was the largest deficit in Railers history, and Worcester is 4-1-0 all-time when allowing 50 or more shots on goal. … The Railers are 16-14-1 at home, 16-14-2 on the road. … The Railers were 3 for 3 killing penalties Wednesday night and continue to play well shorthanded, which they are a lot. They have had 11 power plays to 23 for the opposition in the last five games. … Brent Beaudoin played in his 62nd game this year and is 18-30-48. He was 14-26-40 in 62 games last season.