It was the first game behind the bench with the Worcester Railers for new head coach David Cunniff Wednesday. On the ice, it was the same result.
Facing a decidedly tough Newfoundland Growlers team on the day the Railers announced the firing of former head coach Jamie Russell, along with assistant coach Derek Army, the team couldn’t reverse its recent fortunes, losing its seventh in a row, 4-1, at the DCU Center the night before Thanksgiving.
A crowd of 2,004 on a holiday weeknight saw Newfoundland goalie Maksim Zhukov stop 30 of 31 shots – giving up just one goal, to Worcester’s Matt Schmalz – as the Growlers improved to 12-7-0-0.
With the loss, the Railers fell to 4-11-1-0. They are in last place in the ECHL North Division.
Cunniff who most recently was serving as an assistant coach with the first-place Hartford Wolf Pack in the AHL, promised the Railers would play hard in an interview earlier Wednesday with Public Relations & Social Media Coordinator Cam McGuire, and they came out with purpose to start the game.
It was Newfoundland that capitalized first, however, on a Trey Bradley goal at 13:43 of the first period.
The Growlers scored again in the second period on a Giorgio Estephan score against Railers goalie Jakub Skarek (24 saves).
The lead swelled to 3-0 at 9:07 of the final frame when Brady Ferguson scored.
Worcester finally got on the scoreboard when Schmalz scored just 14 seconds later, but Evan Neugold closed things out for the Growlers with a goal for the final, 4-1, score.
The same two teams go back at it Friday night at the DCU Center at 7 p.m. Then, on Saturday, the Railers play host to the Indy Fuel, also at home. That game also starts at 7 p.m.