ECHL: Railers Celebrate Christmas with Wins

The Worcester Railers gave their fans an early Christmas gift this weekend. After a three-game skid, the Railers had a clean sweep of their weekend, defeating the Trois-Rivières Lions 3-1 Friday and the Maine Mariners 6-3 Saturday.

The Lions’ Anthony Beauregard opened the scoring less than halfway through the opening period Friday, and Trois-Rivières held a 1-0 lead until the third period. Railers captain Anthony Repaci tied it up less than 90 seconds into the final frame. The teams remained knotted at 1-1 for much of the third period.

As the minutes dwindled down, it appeared the teams would be headed into the overtime session. That is until Joey Cipollone took advantage of a misplayed puck. His goal gave Worcester its first lead of the weekend.

Ashton Calder added an empty-netter just before the final buzzer to give Worcester the 3-1 victory. The Railers got off to a similar start Saturday night, falling behind in the opening period and having to mount a comeback.

The Mariners jumped out to a hot start and found themselves with a 2-0 lead only 3:23 into the game. These early goals from Brooklyn Kalmikov and Alex Kile came less than a minute apart.

Jake Pivonka was able to cut the Railers’ deficit in half with his goal late in the frame. But Kalmikov came right back with his second of the night early in the second period, and the Mariners had the 3-1 lead.

Keeghan Howdeshell once again brought his team to within one with his goal late in the middle period. This time, however, there was no Mariners’ answer. Instead, the Railers continued their comeback bid with a goal from Daylan Kuefler 4:44 into the third. It was the 21-year-old rookie’s first pro goal.

Worcester took the lead for the first time just over three minutes later when Repaci scored his second in as many nights. Kuefler netted his second of the night less than five minutes later, extending the Railers’ lead to 5-3. Trevor Cosgrove then added an empty-netter with less than two minutes remaining for a final score of 6-3.

With rookie netminder Tristan Lennox sidelined with a leg injury, it was Henrik Tikkanen carrying the load over the weekend. Between the two games, Tikkanen made 43 saves (20 Friday, 23 Saturday).

Several skaters had a multi-point weekend, most notably Calder with his four points (one goal, three assists) and Repaci with three points (two goals, one assist). Cipollone also had three points (one goal and two assists). Pivonka, Cosgrove, and Anthony Callin each had two points.

The ECHL now enters its Christmas break. The Railers return to action Wednesday as they once again host the Mariners at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts. They will then travel down to Reading, Pennsylvania, to take on the Royals for a three-game set over the weekend. That begins a stretch of five consecutive three-in-threes for Worcester.

The Railers currently sit in fifth place in the North Division, only three points out of the final playoff spot, with three games in hand over the fourth-place Lions. The Royals currently sit in sixth place, two points back from the Railers, with one game in hand. The Mariners are in last place in the North, four points back from Worcester, but with two games in hand.

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