PORTLAND, ME – February 24, 2019 – Teams throughout the ECHL should learn: don’t take the Maine Mariners beyond regulation. With a 4-3 shootout win over the Worcester Railers on Sunday afternoon at the Cross Insurance Arena, the Mariners improved to 9-0-1 in overtime/shootout games, including wins in their last nine. Maine jumped back into fourth place and a North Division playoff position as they got their seventh win in the last eight and improved to 8-4-0 in February.
Worcester opened the scoring at 5:33 of the first when Matty Gaudreau pounced on a rebound off the pad of Mariners goaltender Hannu Toivonen. The rest of the period was highlighted by penalties, as Ryan Ferrill fought Josh Holmstrom after a hit injured Terrence Wallin and Ferrill was assessed a game misconduct. Greg Chase was also called for a ten minute misconduct in the period.
The Railers doubled their lead at 6:34 of the second period when Ryan Hitchcock beat Toivonen in tight after the Mariners scrambled in front of their net. On the power play at 8:17, Dillan Fox got Maine on the board with a wrister from the right circle, screened by Dwyer Tschantz. Less than two minutes later, Fox scored again to tie the game, finishing a Taylor Cammarata rush into the zone. It remained tied at two at the second intermission.
Worcester regained the lead early in the third as Bo Brauer finished a chance on the doorstep at 4:29. The lead was short-lived as Johnny McInnis tied it up again at 7:08 with a long range wrister past Railers goalie Mitch Gillum. It remained 3-3 through the rest of the third, setting the stage for the fourth OT in the last five head-to-head meetings and the fourth in the last seven games for Maine.
Wade Murphy was called for hooking with 1:58 remaining in overtime, forcing the Mariners penalty kill into a do-or-die spot, in which they succeeded to advance the game into a shootout. Through four periods, Toivonen stopped 41 of 44 Worcester shots.
Greg Chase and Ivan Kosorenkov each made backhand dekes to score in the first round of the shootout. Toivonen and Gillum then took over and each made saves on the next four respective shooters. In the sixth round, McInnis beat Gillum again, but Tommy Kelley had the answer for Worcester. Defenseman Josh Couturier slid a backhand between the pads of Gillum to start the seventh round and Gaudreu was stopped by Toivonen to end it.
The Mariners leaped over Brampton, who lost to Newfoundland, for fourth place in the North Division, and are now two points behind Manchester for third with a game in hand. The Mariners are 8-3-0 in eleven games against Worcester this season, including winning the last six.
The Mariners travel to Utah for three games against the Mountain Division’s Utah Grizzlies on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday – all at 9:05 PM ET. They return home for another non-divisional game against the Norfolk Admirals on Wednesday, March 6th at 7:00 PM. It’s a sensory reduced game as part of Autism Awareness Night. More information can be found here. To purchase tickets, click HERE or call the Trusted Choice Box Office at 207-775-3458.