ECHL Game Recap: Worcester Railers vs. Reading Royals | 12/30/23

The Worcester Railers and Reading Royals faced off in the second of their three-game set on Saturday night. It was a back-and-forth matchup that needed extra time to determine the victor. In the end, it was Reading who ended up taking the extra point, with a final score of 4-3.

The Railers got off to an early start, taking the lead less than six minutes into the game. Joey Cipollone headed into the Royals zone on a 3-on-2 with Zach White and Daylan Kuefler. Tic-tac-toe, Kuefler ended up putting the puck past goaltender Parker Gahagen, who ultimately knocked the net off its moorings trying to make the save.

Tag Bertuzzi tied it up at 1-1 only a few minutes later off a beautiful pass from Ryan Chyzowski.

That’s how the score would stay until Worcester regained the lead with less than five minutes remaining in the second period. John Copeland picked up a loose puck that had pinballed through a couple Royals’ legs and beat Gahagen glove-side. That was Copeland’s first professional goal.

Less than four minutes later, Shane Sellar once again tied it for Reading. Nicolas Ouellet sent the puck to Sellar, who was waiting on the doorstep.

Just under six minutes into the third period, the Royals took the lead for the first time all weekend. Matt Brown skated in and beat both defenseman Zsombor Garat and goaltender Kaden Fulcher for the goal, making it 3-2.

The lead lasted a little over eight minutes until Blade Jenkins came through for the Railers, tying the game one final time when he poked the puck past Gahagen.

In the overtime session, it was Brown who proved to be the star of the game. He and Bertuzzi skated into the Worcester zone, exchanging passes along the way before Brown’s backhander beat Fulcher one last time for a final score of 4-3.

“It was huge, especially with them being right ahead of us in the standings.”

– Matt Brown on the Royals’ victory

Brown finished the evening with three points (two goals and an assist). Four other skaters had two points apiece. Reading’s Sellar and Bertuzzi and Worcester’s Jenkins each had a goal and assist on the night. Royals forward Chyzowski added a pair of assists.

Brown also led his team in shots on goal with seven. Kuefler led the Railers with seven as well.

Both teams’ netminders were solid throughout the match. By the end of the night, Fulcher had made 34 saves for Worcester, while Gahagen had stopped 30 shots for Reading.

Just to make the game a little more interesting, each team had a play reviewed early in the third period. First, the officials took a look at a Worcester non-goal to confirm that the puck did not pass the goal line. They were correct in their initial call: no goal. Then, shortly thereafter, Reading had a goal disallowed due to the puck being kicked into the net. The play was reviewed, and the no-goal call stood.

Also of note: Saturday was Jordan Smotherman’s 100th game as Head Coach and General Manager of the Railers.

The teams meet up for their third and final game of the weekend on Sunday at Santander Arena in Reading.

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