ECHL Game Recap: Worcester Railers vs Newfoundland Growlers | 03/30/2024

Rich LeBlanc/InsideTheRInk

The Worcester Railers and the DCU Center hosted Military Appreciation Night on Saturday. This event brings together the active military community, ROTC students and veterans. The Worcester Railers wore specialized camo jerseys that later will be auctioned off with proceeds benefiting the Massachusetts Veterans Support Inc.

The Railers seemed to be falling out of the playoff mix, but a couple comeback wins against their rival Newfoundland Growlers has them playing with extra life and fighting for playoff positioning. Ahead of their Saturday night matchup, they look for a clean sweep against the Growlers this weekend. The Railers suffered a major blow losing 9-3.

Right from the start the crowd was into it. The Railers came to play physically and continue their hot streak. Immediately the Railers looked to take advantage of a slashing power play less than a minute into the game committed by Growlers defensemen Nathan Staios. The power play yielded no points as the Growlers were back to full strength. Less than three minutes into the period you could feel the bad blood as Growlers Joe Gatenby and Railers Ryan Scarfo got into a fight that caught the attention of the referees. Shortly thereafter another fight broke out involving Railers Trevor Cosgrove and Growlers Adam Dawe who were shoving each other and then turned into a team-on-team scrum. The energy level is high between both teams. A breakaway for the Growlers with 11:50 left in the first period saw forward Grant Cruikshank put one to the back of the net by goaltender John Muse. Just 10 seconds later the Railers matched it with a goal of their own scored by forward Brendan Robbins weaving through the Growlers defense. A whopping 25 seconds after that a break in the Railers defense caused Growlers forward Isaac Johnson to score a goal of his own. With one minute remaining, Railers defensemen Connor Welsh slaps one in near the blue line to even the score at two a piece which is where the score sits after one period.

Rich LeBlanc/InsideTheRink

With the craziness of the first period, the second period was matched with intensity. The Growlers had the puck at the net, then was finally tipped in by forward Marko Sikic for his first professional goal with 18:21 remaining in the period, then 24 seconds later forward Neil Shea scored for the Growlers off a goal deflection leaving the Growlers with a 4-2 lead. A crazy sequence followed that where Railers forward Jake Pivonka tipped one in passed the goaltender. No shortage in action when 10 seconds later Growlers Isaac Johnson earned his second goal of the evening. The Railers could not fend off the overwhelming attack by the Growlers where with 11:56 remaining in the period forward Mathieu Gosselin slapped one in. The Growlers were not done for scoring in the period as with one minute remaining Shea netted another one. Entering the locker the Railers have an uphill battle as the Growlers have a commanding 7-3 lead.

Rich LeBlanc/InsideTheRink

Third-period action started smoothly with the Railers winning a clean puck drop. The team was showing good puck movement through the zone trying to chip into the four-goal deficit, but the Growlers did not make it easy by attacking, and off the rebound forward Tyler Weiss put one in with 15:16 remaining in the period building the lead to 8-3. After that, that was the night for goalie John Muse and was replaced with Joe Spagnoli.

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