WORCESTER, Mass. – Coming off a strong season opener last Saturday, the Worcester Railers were back in action against the Maine Mariners for the first of eighteen games between the two this season.
While the Mariners had the edge with two back-to-back goals in the first period, the Railers stuck with it until the end to force overtime, which eventually led to the shootout where forward Nic Pierog secured the win with the only shootout goal. Jakub Skarek made 24 saves in his second start of the season.
Dillan Fox scored twice for Maine in the opening frame. The first goal came off a lucky bounce at the side of the net got Maine on the board in the opening minutes. His second came with a snipe from the right circle twelve minutes later. Worcester found themselves on the board nine seconds later with a top-shelf goal by Tanner Pond.
“I didn’t like that first period, our passing wasn’t very crisp. I give our guys credit, they stuck with it and we didn’t get rewarded until the final two minutes when we tied things up.” Said Railers head coach and GM Jamie Russell. “ I really liked our play after their second goal, we changed momentum right after they scored. We were on our toes after they scored that second one.”
While neither team had successes on the power play, it felt like an oh so familiar scene with Worcester unable to convert with five power-play opportunities. Poor puck control and a number of bad passes plagued the Railers, especially in the opening period.
The Railers would force pressure in the middle and third periods where they would outshoot Maine 31-23. Just as head coach Jamie Russell waved goaltender Jakub Skarek off for the extra attacker, Kyle Thomas tied the game back up with 2:09 remaining in regulation. Neither team found the net in overtime with both teams heading into their first shootout of the season.
“Skarek made things look easy in the shootout. The puck changed directions on the first goal and Alex Kile made a great shot on the second. Jakub is the real deal and kept things cool in the shootout. He played really well for us tonight.”
Nic Pierog was the only player to score in the shootout. Kyle Thomas and Jordan Samuels-Thomas had no luck with their shots, as did Ryan Culkin, Michael McNicholas, and Alex Kile for Maine.
Three Stars of the Game
- Dillan Fox (Worcester) – 2 goals,
- Kyle Thomas (Worcester) – 1 goal, +1
- Nic Pierog (Worcester) – Shootout GWG
Down the Track
It is the first time in the Railers’ three seasons that they’ve won both home games in the month of October to start the season. They’ll look to continue their winning trend on Saturday against the Adirondack Thunder. They’ll be back home in two weeks, where they’ll face the defending Kelly Cup Champions, the Newfoundland Growlers, on November 1st.
Follow Dylan Schofield on Twitter (@WooHockeyNews) for the latest on all things Worcester Railers hockey.