PORTLAND, ME – December 29, 2021 – Alex Kile was already a Mariners legend before suiting up for his first game of 2021-22 on Wednesday afternoon. The third-year Mariners forward was the first player ever signed by Maine’s ECHL franchise, the owner of the first ever game-winning goal in team history, and had three overtime winners on home ice two seasons ago. Kile added to his legacy on Wednesday, scoring four goals in his season debut to lead the Mariners to a 9-7 victory over the Worcester Railers at the Cross Insurance Arena.
Kile wasted little time getting on the board, opening the scoring with a deflection goal at 2:30 of the first period. Mathew Santos sent the puck up the boards to Brycen Martin, who snapped a shot through traffic that Kile got a stick on. The Mariners were unable to double their lead with a power play, despite multiple goal posts, and the Railers tied the game at 10:25. Worcester captain Jordan Smotherman skated in alone on Mariners goaltender Jeremy Brodeur and deked to the backhand to make it 1-1. Just over two minutes later, former Mariner Chris Ordoobadi put the Railers in the lead, when he pounced on a rebound off Brodeur’s glove from a point shot by Karl Boudrias. The Mariners pelted 19 first period shots on Railers goalie Jason Pawloski, but trailed, 2-1.
A combined seven goals were scored in the middle frame. Back-to-back goals by Pascal Laberge and Kile at 4:26 and 6:06 flipped the score back into the Mariners advantage. The Railers then got a pair from defenseman Nick Albano to go up 4-3, the second goal coming on a 5-on-3. On the second of the two penalties, the Mariners found a shorthanded goal to make it 4-4. Rookie forward Metis Roelens in his professional debut, created a 2-on-1 and fed Brendan Robbins, who one-timed it past Pawloski to even the score again. Less than two minutes later, Devon Paliani, who was traded from the Mariners to the Railers this morning, put Worcester back ahead with a wrister past Brodeur at 13:50. But before the period came to end, Kile was heard from again, completing the hat trick at 15:20, thanks to an impressive backhand pass from Laberge out of the right-wing corner. The game was tied 5-5 at the end of two.
Early in the third, Paliani haunted his former team again, scooping up a rebound and putting the Railers up 6-5 just 1:37 into the final regulation frame. Once again, the lead was short-lived, with Mariners defenseman Marc-Olivier Duquette tying it up 4:25, set up again by a falling Roelens. After back-to-back penalty kills and a key save by Brodeur, the Mariners would find their second lead of the game at 12:01 of the third, thanks to Keltie Jeri-Leon. Roelens, out of the Mariners defensive zone, sprung Jeri-Leon, who worked one-on-one against Albano. Fighting his way through, Jeri-Leon beat Pawloski five hole to make it 7-6 Maine. Duquette picked up a crucial insurance goal at 17:25, which would turn out to be the game-winner after Smotherman got one back for Worcester 32 seconds later, with the goaltender pulled, and the Railers on the power play. The game was finally put away when Kile hit the empty net at 18:32.
Brodeur stopped 44 of 51 to earn his sixth win. Alex Kile’s hat trick was the fifth for the Mariners in the 2021-22 season, all on home ice, and four against Worcester. It’s also the second straight home game with a Mariners hat trick after Nick Master accomplished the feat on December 10th. Metis Roelens registered four assists in his professional debut. The Mariners nine-goal output set a new franchise high.