Wednesday, 12.13.17 / 9:47 pm CT
Looking to extend their winning streak to three games and to snap the longest point streak in the NAHL, the IceRays’ offense was silenced by James Durham on Wednesday as they fell 2-0 to the Shreveport Mudbugs.
A well-disciplined first period from both sides resulted in a total of just two power plays in the opening 20 minutes. Rylee St. Onge was penalized for boarding in the first 88 seconds, but the IceRays killed off the Shreveport power play with aplomb.
Late in the first, after going on a man-advantage of their own, the Rays moved the puck extremely well and had a chance to take the lead. Matt Acciaioli fed St. Onge, who tapped a pass from circle to circle for Larry Jungwirth. The IceRays’ leading scorer had his shot blocked, and both sides went into the first intermission scoreless. Goaltenders Durham and Chad Veltri were both perfect through the opening period.
The following period was also permeated by strong goaltending. However, Shreveport finally broke the stalemate at 30:11.
After a takeaway in the Corpus Christi zone, Brendan Van Sweden fed the puck from the left circle to the right, giving Cameron Cook a good look at the net. However, Cook just left the puck right in the wheelhouse of Roberts Baranovskis. Stunning Veltri with the extra pass, the Latvian was able to rip a heavy wrist shot inside the right post to give the Mudbugs a 1-0 lead.
Acciaioli came close to leveling the score late in the second period with a pair of screen shots on an IceRays power play. One of his shots was deflected by Brendan Miller, but Durham kicked out his left pad to make the stop. The rebound just missed Noah Roofe’s stick. Acciaioli’s next attempt was a well-taken shot through traffic, but Durham managed to track it and hang on.
Durham kept the door shut in the third period. At 53:27, Nikolai Jenson threw the puck on net from the right half boards, and it deflected off an IceRay and bounced between Veltri’s pads. The fluky play doubled Shreveport’s lead, and Acciaioli was questionably called for a delay-of-game penalty just over two minutes later. The decision ultimately lead to a 4-on-3 Mudbugs power play, which they used to kill off two valuable minutes. By the time the Rays killed off the penalty, there was not enough time to erase the deficit.
Durham earned his second consecutive shutout and his fifth of the season, stopping all 22 shots sent his way. Veltri denied 26 of a possible 28, and was charged with his seventh regulation defeat. The IceRays will square off against the Odessa Jackalopes on Friday, December 15th and Saturday, December 16th at the Ector County Coliseum. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:11 pm CT. The games will be broadcast on HockeyTV.com and on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (1230 AM, 96.1 FM, 95.1 FM).