He was in Bridgeport to suffer through elimination with Bridgeport, and now…
“It sucks to lose twice,” Kellen Jones said after the Worcester Railers’ season ended tonight at the DCU Center; an empty-netter gave Adirondack a 3-1 win in Game 6. If I was actually covering the game, I might’ve asked if the emotion and sheer effort of coming back in Game 5 left nothing in the tank tonight; they were a bit flat, didn’t make Olivier Mantha make a lot of tough saves (did hit a couple of posts), didn’t get much going on four power plays (though they scored their lone goal two seconds after the first expired).
But the fascinating scenes came just before the first-period buzzer and just after the third. The first period ended oddly (and it turned out terminally) for Worcester. After a turnover, the Thunder broke in, centered to Desmond Bergin and got off an open shot from the slot that appeared to go off Eamon McAdam’s right shoulder, off the crossbar and down. From the press box, it looked like it hit the goal line, but others who saw the replay both closer and in slower motion said it looked like a goal with 2.5 seconds left in the period, giving the Thunder a 2-1 lead.
McAdam disagreed. In the moment, after he saw the replay on the video screen, he appeared very insistent to the referees — Alex Garon and Jeremy Tufts, both of whom have worked AHL games — that the puck didn’t cross the line.
There’s no video review at all in the ECHL, let alone the above-the-goal-line angle the AHL uses; that fact came up a time or several in this series. They couldn’t use the scoreboard video even if they wanted to (“which I think is kinda criminal,” McAdam said later, they can’t use it in the AHL, either). The ref at that end had pointed good immediately. The goal judge had lit the lamp. It was going to stand.
After the buzzer, McAdam wanted at the refs; the linesmen blocked his path. McAdam led the handshake line (briskly), then wanted at the refs again; the linesmen again angled him away. McAdam skated the length of the ice, went to the game puck behind the Worcester net, tried twice to flip it off the boards to himself, finally scooped it up with his glove, skated back to the blue line and flipped it underhand in the direction of the refs, who were along the boards opposite the benches at the far blue line.
We’ve seen the feisty, but this was something. He moved quickly out of the dressing room when reporters came in, which I’d wondered if it were to give himself an extra cooling-off. But he returned a few minutes later. “Obviously my emotions got the best of me. I got a little mad at the end,” McAdam said. “I went down to apologize to the officials and get their perspective on it. We disagreed. It’s one of the issues with not having a review system in this league.”
He said they said (“No. 9 (Garon) was the one who did most of the talking”) that they saw the replay show the puck hit the crossbar and land in the net, “which I think they’re covering themselves.”
Still, he called his postgame reaction an overreaction. He collected himself to jump back into the ring of Railers at the center-ice circle to salute those who remained of a (pretty nice, considering a Monday-night playoff game (no group sales) against the Bruins) crowd of 2,523.
It was the capper to what McAdam called “kind of a crazy year. I think I came into the season with pretty high aspirations. Kind of an untimely injury in that preseason game (which cost him the end of camp). I didn’t really get a chance to compete for that spot in Bridgeport. I was hoping to prove I was right for the job there, or at least put my card in the mix.”
Still, a growing year, that ends on an April 23.
Talked to a few Railers who spent time in Bridgeport, so will probably write something else tomorrow. A fine first season for that franchise, which really seemed to ingrain itself into the community effectively.
And great to see some playoff hockey. Thanks to all those who helped make it happen for me tonight.
Night off in the American League after Texas and Ontario almost put in double time Sunday. Mike McKenna made 44 saves in over a game’s worth of shutout relief, and the Stars took a 2-1 series lead with a double-OT win. Texas can be the first team through to the second round with a win Tuesday.
And thoughts with Toronto.