WORCESTER, MA – The Worcester IceCats dropped a 6-2 decision to the Albany River Rats Sunday afternoon at the DCU Center. Ryan Murphy picked up a hat trick for the Rats on the strength of two empty-net goals in the third period.

Albany’s Ahren Nittel opened the first period scoring just 1:30 into the game. Worcester’s Brendan Brooks tied it at 1-1 later in the first before Albany regained the lead on a Dean McAmmond goal. The Rats would make it 4-1 until Dennis Wideman scored on a third period power play to cut the advantage to two goals.

Albany’s Murphy scored twice within the final 1:45 to complete his hat trick. His previous goal made it 4-1, as he finished a breakaway at 11:59 of the second.

Goaltender Ari Ahonen made 41 saves for Albany, including 19 in the third period. Worcester’s Jason Bacashihua was pulled after allowing three goals on six shots. Curtis Sanford relieved him and gave up one goal on 10 shots.

Worcester’s loss, coupled with a 3-2 Providence win over Manchester, pushed the IceCats to seven points out of the Atlantic Division’s final playoff spot. The IceCats have only seven regular season games left on the docket, but have a game in hand on the Bruins.

The IceCats host the Hartford Wolf Pack this Wednesday night at 7:05 PM.