WORCESTER, MA – March 5, 2022 – Trailing by three goals entering the third period, the Mariners scored four unanswered goals to pull off an improbable 4-3 overtime win on Saturday night at the DCU Center in the first of a three game series. Zach Malatesta assisted on each of the final three goals, setting up Nick Master for the game-winner at 6:41 of OT.
The Mariners played a strong first 20 minutes, outshooting Worcester 13-7 but neither team found the net. Nate Kallen, Conner Bleackley, and Nick Master all had great scoring chances but either hit the post or were denied by Railers netminder Colten Ellis. The Railers also killed two penalties.
The Railers struck three times in the 2nd period to open a 3-0 lead. Using the power play, a tic-tac-toe passing play from Anthony Repaci to Jordan Smotherman to Jacob Hayhurst made it 1-0 at 2:57. At 5:23, defenseman Mike Cornell scored at even strength, taking a feed from Liam Coughlin below the goal line. Coughlin then found the net for himself at 14:45, cleaning up a point shot from John Furgele, Worcester’s second power play goal of the period.
The Mariners got on the board early in the 3rd in controversial fashion. Pat Shea tumbled into Ellis after driving the net from the neutral zone, forcing the puck across the goal line. After being initially waived off, Shea was awarded the goal upon a lengthy video review. The score remained 3-1 until late into the 3rd, and the Mariners pulled Lekkas with a little over four minutes remaining. At 16:19, Zach Malatesta ripped a shot off a body in a slot, caroming right to Keltie Jeri-Leon at the bottom of the right faceoff circle, who fired into a vacated net to make it 3-2. With Lekkas back in the net, the Mariners struck again just 28 seconds later, Malatesta wristing a shot off Nick Jermain who was standing in behind Ellis.
The Mariners got a power play with 2:25 left in overtime, but struck with the game-winner just after the penalty expired. Malatesta stickhandled into the slot and handed off to Nick Master, whose shot glanced off of Ellis and across the goal line to complete the comeback. Lekkas turned aside 31 shots to win his Mariners debut while Ellis made 39 stops in the losing effort. With the win, the Mariners pulled ahead of the Railers for sole possession of the fourth and final North Division playoff spot. It was their first win in Worcester this season in six attempts.