WORCESTER, Mass. – It’s been a very long six months since the Worcester Railers last played their last regular-season game, and with the 5-1 win over the Adirondack Thunder, it didn’t look like Worcester missed a beat in that time frame.
Worcester had ten different players pick up points in their win, an even split of five returning players and five players signed or assigned to Worcester this year. A full display of talent across the board for the 8,137 fans that packed the DCU Center Saturday night.
Worcester packed quite a punch in the opening frame with three goals of their own and limiting Adirondack to just three shots. It appeared that while the Railers were definitely there at the DCU Center, the Thunder were still recovering from the trip to Worcester earlier that day.
Jordan Samuels-Thomas scored the first Railers goal of the season on Michael McNiven’s wide-open net at 4:10 on a rebound from Tanner Pond. Kyle Thomas scored on a set-up by Bo Brauer 3:47 later.
A delay of game penalty and a tripping call gave the Railers their first 5-on-3 opportunity of the season at 11:14 and it took just 20 seconds for captain Barry Almeida to capitalize with a set-up by Nic Pierog for the team’s third goal of the period.
With Worcester’s first three goals of the season all coming within the first period of the season, it was all a matter of time before the first fight would come into play. After some back-and-forth stick taps between Kyle Thomas and Blake Thompson, the two dropped their mitts and with no more than five punches to the head of Thompson, Worcester had their first fight victory of the season and both got an early start to their intermissions.
It appeared the play never stopped for the Railers, at least that was the case for the opening minute. In a puck battle at the net with Nic Pierog, Ryan Hitchcock brought Worcester’s lead to four on a tip-in.
The Adirondack Thunder had a wake-up call with their strongest period of the game, with a goal and 16 shots in the period. Their only goal was scored by Ryan Walker, his first professional goal, connecting with Felix Girard to get past Jakub Skarek at 16:05 in the period.
J.D. Dudek scored his first professional goal from the right circle at 5:22. Dudek would later get another chance on the breakaway later in the period in which he found iron, but bounced out on an incredible opportunity that very much could’ve been his second goal.
Ivan Chukarov briefly left the game with just under four minutes to go. Blocking a slapshot from a Railers forward with his leg, he struggled to get off the ice on one skate. Chukarov went down the tunnel but promptly returned to the ice moments later, where he sat until the buzzer rang.
Railers defense kept the Thunder to just six shots on goal in the third. The Thunder were unable to capitalize on two power-play opportunities, a total of six in the game.
Three Stars of the Game:
- Kyle Thomas (Worcester) – Gordie Howe Hat Trick and a +3
- Jakub Skarek (Worcester) – 24 saves, win, .960 SV%
- Jordan Samuels-Thomas (Worcester) – 1 goal, 1 assist, +1
Down the Track
While some teams are playing in their second games of the season, Worcester will be waiting for the Mariners to come to town on Friday, October 18 at 7:05 p.m.
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