PORTLAND, ME – As hockey’s roster mayhem continues unabated, every night looks like Opening Night in the ECHL and the result is often games like this, one of the most bizarrely memorable ones in Worcester’s long hockey history.
It was a fan’s delight and a coach’s nightmare, the final result being a 9-7 victory by the Maine Mariners over the Railers. At one point in the third period Worcester had a 6-5 lead, gave up three unanswered goals, cut the gap to one and then allowed an empty-netter.
The result marked the first time in franchise history the Railers scored seven goals and lost. The nine goals allowed are the most in franchise history and tied for the most in Worcester hockey history.
The IceCats lost, 9-1, on Oct. 7, 1994 — where else could it be? — to the Portland Pirates on the same ice surface. The 16 combined goals were the second-most in Worcester hockey history, one short of the 17 on Jan. 5, 1996 when the IceCats beat the — who else could it be? — Portland Pirates, 10-7, at the Centrum.
Wednesday, Alex Kile had four goals for Maine, Marc-Olivier Duquette two. Nick Albano, Devon Paliani and Jordan Lavallee-Smotherman had two apiece for the Railers. Chris Oordoobadi had the other Worcester goal while Pascal Laberge, Brendan Robbins and Keltie Jeri-Leon also scored for Maine.
Kile’s hat trick-plus means that a Mariners player has recorded a hat trick in every Railers game up here. It is the fifth hat trick, and second four-goal game, against Worcester in 21 games this season.
The goalies were Jason Pawloski for the Railers, Jeremy Brodeur for Maine.
Both teams dressed just 14 skaters. The Railers lineup included four players making their Worcester debuts including Pawlowski and Paliani. There were also the Hart brothers — Brian and Ted — both from Maine.
The Harts were just the third set of brothers to play together for a Worcester team. Matt and Michael Pelech skated together for the Sharks in 2012-13 and the Saracinos, Nick and Chris, played for the Railers in 2017-18.
For four other Railers the game was almost the equivalent of a doubleheader.
Lavallee-Smotherman, Jacob Hayhurst, Drew Callin and Blake Christensen had all played Tuesday night in Bridgeport, a 5-1 victory for the Springfield Thunderbirds.
In that game, Lavallee-Smotherman scored his first AHL goal since 2010-11 and Hayhurst picked up his first AHL point, an assist. The way things are going in pro hockey this winter, somebody may actually play a doubleheader.
That has happened before. In fact, Shrewsbury’s Marc Busenburg did it on Jan. 12, 2002. He played an AHL game in Albany in the afternoon and an United Hockey League game in Adirondack that night.
It was a 2-1 game after 20 minutes.
Kile’s goal at 2:30 of the first period gave Maine an early lead but Lavallee-Smotherman responded with a breakaway goal at 10:26 and Ordoobadi popped in a rebound at 12:29.
The seven second-period goals came in a span of 10:54.
Laberge, then Kile, put the Mariners ahead early. Albano made it 3-3 on a 50-foot wrist shot at 7:22, then he beat Brodeur from the left circle at 11:03 with the Railers on a two-man advantage.
Robbins re-tied it at 12:03 with a shorthanded goal, Paliani responded at 13:50 and Kile made it 5-5 at 15:20.
Paliani’s second goal of the day at 1:37 gave the Railers a 6-5 lead, their last of the night. Duquette made it 6-6 at 4:25 then Jeri-Leon got the killer goal at 12:01 as he weaved his way through the entire Worcester defense to deposit a short shot past Pawloski.
Duquette added a goal at 17:25, Smotherman closed the gap at 17:57 put Kile ended the suspense at 18:32.
MAKING TRACKS: The Railers’ next scheduled game is Friday afternoon in Reading. Their next home game is set for 3 p.m. Sunday, also versus Reading… Connor Doherty is on the Commisioner’s Exempt List so did not play for the Mariners… In Tuesday’s night AHL game, 17 players on the two teams combined had played for the Railers at some point in their careers… Pawlowski was the fifth goalie to play for Worcester this season, a Railers franchise record… Paliani was acquired from Maine late in the morning after not having scored a goal in 16 games. He is the fourth Railer this season to score in his first game for Worcester. Albano is the fourth Railers defenseman with a two-goal game. Patrick McNally did it twice and Ivan Chukarov did it on April 7, 2019. No Worcester defenseman on any team has recorded a hat trick… The home team has won all eight games between the teams this season… The teams combined for 94 shots on goal, the most-ever in a Railers game… The Railers fell to 2-11-4 all-time in Maine.
Recap courtesy of Bill Ballou / Worcester Railers
Follow us on Twitter @prohockeynews