WORCESTER - Tyson Nash did not kick that puck into the Lowell net last night, but it certainly looked like he did.
So referee Bernie DeGrace had to make a call that was guaranteed to upset 50 percent of the people wearing hockey equipment, and he chose to have the IceCats be angry with him.
DeGrace ruled no goal at 12:17 of the second period when Jamal Mayers' pass went off Nash's skate and into the Lowell net. The Lock Monsters led, 1-0, at that time.
"I know it was a tough call," Nash said. "It could have gone either way, but the pass was so hard, I was just trying to knock it onto my stick."
And that was the problem. While Nash wasn't trying to direct the puck into the net with his skate, the deflection wasn't entirely accidental, either. The video replay showed that.
"As hard as that pass was," coach Greg Gilbert said, "if (Nash) had been able to kick it in, he should be up somewhere playing for the World Cup."
The most frustrating thing about it, Gilbert added, was that the IceCats were beaten by St. John's, 3-2, earlier in the season on an almost identical play. But referee Brian Murphy let that one count.
DeGrace deserves credit for handling last night's call well, though. He came over and heard Gilbert's side of the story without making a scene. Later, according to Nash, the ref said he was sorry he had to call it the way he did.
Bryce Salvador watched the game from the stands.
The IceCats defenseman has been slashed, tripped and crosschecked. Saturday, he was sideswiped and has missed the last two games because of it.
Salvador was in a car accident in Webster Square - gee, what a surprise - on the way to the game Saturday. He normally drives with his left elbow resting on the window and the force of the accident jammed his shoulder.
The injury seems to be not much more than a muscle spasm. Salvador was wearing a seat belt and said, "I'm just lucky it wasn't head-on."
Jamie Thompson, a Framingham native, joined the IceCats last night and made his AHL debut.
Thompson, 23, had 122 points in 58 games for El Paso in the Western Pro League last year and figured to have an excellent chance at making the IceCats to start the season.
He reported to training camp out of shape, however, and was quickly sent to Peoria of the ECHL. When recalled, Thompson was the top scorer on the Rivermen at 9-16-25.
Gilbert liked what he saw of the new Thompson last night.
"He's a completely different player," Gilbert said. "He reminds me a bit of (Scott) Pellerin."
Thompson is the eighth different player to move up from Peoria to Worcester already this season.
Mayers didn't have to wait too long to notch his first goal of the season.
Or did he?
Last night's goal came in Mayers' second game of the year. Of course, he missed the first 30 with a broken hand.
"I needed that," he said, "after waiting 7 1/2 months."
ICECATS ESCAPADES: Two of Worcester's three ties this year have come against Lowell. The IceCats haven't won a regular-season OT game at the Centrum since Nov. 4, 1997 when Terry Virtue scored to beat Fredericton, 3-2. ... Attendance was 5,112. ... Rory Fitzpatrick was named the game's No. 1 star even though he didn't score a goal. With Worcester using an almost all-rookie defense, Fitzpatrick played what seemed like 40 to 45 minutes. ... Shayne Toporowski and Stephane Roy both registered assists and are tied for the team scoring lead. ... Worcester's next game is Wednesday night. The IceCats host Springfield at 7:05 p.m. in a critical mid-season meeting.