Worcester Downs Wheeling
WORCESTER — The Wheeling Nailers and Worcester Railers played what felt like a playoff game on Saturday night at DCU Center, and the match was so tight, it required the last round of the shotoout to be decided. Riley Bourbonnais recorded a Gordie Howe Hat Trick in regulation (goal, assist, fight), which ended in a 2-2 tie. Worcester ended up with the extra point, as Tommy Kelley decided the match in round three of the shootout.
The two teams played a scoreless first period, as goaltenders Matt O’Connor and Mitch Gillam both turned in strong performances. The first goal of the night went to Worcester at the 2:10 mark of the middle frame. Justin Hamonic let a shot go from the middle of the blueline, with T.J. Syner getting a piece of the attempt, giving him the tally.
The Nailers answered back with 9:27 remaining. Daniel Tedesco poked the puck through center ice, sending Bourbonnais in on a breakaway. Bourbonnais quickly picked his spot, burying his 21st of the season through the netminder’s legs. Andrew Schmit picked up his first point with Wheeling, grabbing the secondary assist.
Wheeling took the lead at the 12:20 mark of the third period. Bourbonnais teed up Schmit for a one-timer from the high slot, which was tipped in by Freddie Tiffels. However, with 1:23 to go, the Railers knotted things up. Barry Almeida took a slap shot from the top of the left circle, which was redirected in by Woody Hudson, forcing bonus hockey with a 2-2 deadlock.
Neither team was able to cash in on three shots during overtime. The tilt progressed to a shootout. Matt Lane of Worcester and Wheeling’s Chris Francis exchanged strikes in the first two rounds, before Kelley gave the Railers the winning goal, and Mitch Gillam stopped Cody Wydo.
Gillam made 30 saves to earn the win for the Railers, while O’Connor also turned in a 30-save effort, helping the Nailers pick up a point.
Wheeling 0 1 1 0 — 2
Worcester 0 1 1 0 — 3
1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Josephs Whl (holding), 6:02; Doherty Wor (cross-checking), 11:06; Descoteaux Whl (holding the stick), 12:06.
2nd Period-1, Worcester, Syner 7 (Hamonic, Lane), 2:10. 2, Wheeling, Bourbonnais 21 (Tedesco, Schmit), 10:33. Penalties-Hamonic Wor (high-sticking), 4:55; Doherty Wor (delay of game), 16:17; Josephs Whl (slashing), 18:36.
3rd Period-3, Wheeling, Tiffels 11 (Schmit, Bourbonnais), 12:20. 4, Worcester, Hudson 17 (Almeida, Gaudreau), 18:37. Penalties-Bourbonnais Whl (fighting – major), 5:32; Doherty Wor (fighting – major), 5:32; Almeida Wor (hooking), 15:59.
OT Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Milan Whl (roughing), 4:31; Kubiak Wor (roughing), 4:31.
Shootout – Wheeling 1 (Gardiner NG, Francis G, Wydo NG), Worcester 2 (Lane G, Almeida NG, Kelley G).
Shots on Goal-Wheeling 10-10-9-3-0-32. Worcester 12-7-10-3-1-33.
Power Play Opportunities-Wheeling 0 / 4; Worcester 0 / 3.
Goalies-Wheeling, O’Connor 2-9-1-2 (32 shots-30 saves). Worcester, Gillam 13-12-0-1 (32 shots-30 saves).
Referees-Sean MacFarlane (4).
Linesmen-Kyle Richtelle (73), JP Waleski (51)