It’s not about how you start; it’s about how you finish, and that about sums up the season for the Worcester Railers. In their first 20 games of the season, the Railers were running away with the North Divison as they went 16-3-1, which included a league-record nine straight wins to begin the season. However, after their strong start to the season, the Railers would hit a massive slump in which they lost 10 out of 12 games, as they wouldn’t have a winning streak longer than three games for the rest of the season. The Railers went into the final weekend of the regular season controlling their own destiny needing only two points in any fashion to clinch a spot in the Kelly Cup Playoffs but lost back-to-back games vs. Adirondack Thunder. With the Railers missing the playoffs this season, it now marks four consecutive seasons that the team has missed the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
The Railers were one of four teams in the North Division with a new head coach as Jordan Smotherman hopped behind the Railers bench after spending the 2021-22 season as a player where he put up 30 goals and 22 assists for 52 points in 61 games, he also spent two years as a scout for the Quebec Remparts. Worcester’s penalty kill was 21st in the league. However, they took the least amount of penalties with 222 penalties. The Railers PP clicked at 20.9% this season, which was good enough for 11th in the league.
Worcester had two 20-goal scorers this season in Anthony Repaci and Brent Beaudoin. Repaci had a career year in his second season with the Railers as he put up 27 goals and 27 assists for 54 points in 58 games this season; 11 of those 27 goals came on the power play. The Ontario Native also led the Railers with four three-point games this season. Beaudoin led the Railers in points, outdoing Repaci by one. The New Hamshire native led the Railers with 13 multi-point games this season.
The Railers couldn’t get much offensive production from their blueline this season as Trevor Cosgrove was the only Railer to put up at least five goals; Myles McGurty led the Railer’s blueline with two goals and 22 assists for 24 points in 63 games.
The Railers were lucky and had consistent goaltending throughout the season, as they only had three different goaltenders in Henri Tikkanen, Ken Appleby, and Brent Moran. Tikkanen and Appleby are on opposite sides of the spectrum regarding experience. Appleby, who’s 28 years old, had seven seasons of ECHL experience coming into the season, including time in the AHL and three games up in the NHL. Appleby finished the season with a record of 13-13-1 with a 3.01 GAA and .907 SV% in 30 games. Henri Tikkanen, who the New York Islanders drafted in the seventh round of the 2020 NHL Draft, was playing in his first season in North America. In 38 games this season with the Railers, he went 18-17-3 with a 3.02 GAA, a .914 SV%, and two shutouts. Tikkanen also finished fourth in the league in saves with 1171. As you can tell, there was no clear-cut number-one goaltender as those two split time in net. Brent Moran also saw eight games with the Railers in net after eight of his 18 games came with the Railers. In those eight games, he went 3-4 with 4.21 GAA and .881 GAA.