GAME PREVIEW #12 – VS. TOPEKA ROADRUNNERS

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

vs.

TOPEKA ROADRUNNERS

Friday, October 17 at 7:05 P.M.

NAHL Game #129 • Home Game #6 • Season Series 0-1-1
American Bank Center • Corpus Christi, Texas
Radio: SportsJuice.com • Mobile: TuneIn Radio • In-Arena: 87.7 FM

Video: FASTHockey.com • Twitter: @goicerays

Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. with Countdown to Faceoff

Today’s Game: The IceRays return home to begin a two-game set against the Topeka RoadRunners from the American Bank Center. This is the final pair of games this season against their Kansas opponents.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays opened the season against the RoadRunners on the road, falling in both matchups (one in overtime). All time, the IceRays own a 1-17-2 record against Topeka. Their lone win came on Feb. 1, 2013 in a 3-2 shootout win, in which Charles Baldwin’s first round goal decided the competition (2-0). Since then, the IceRays are 0-5-2.

Last Game: The IceRays couldn’t overcome a deficit and their own discipline, falling to the Lone Star Brahmas 5-2. The IceRays found themselves down early, 3-0, in the first period thanks to two goals from forward Sebastian Vidmar (one shorthanded) and one from defenseman Johan Steen. IceRays forward Connor Bucsis earned his second of the year at 18:48 on a redirection in front off a Wes Michaud shot to cut the deficit, 3-1, before the end of the first period. The IceRays would score one more–this goal coming at 10:22 in the second period–on a Ryan Cusin blast from close range to bring the lead to one, 3-2. The Brahmas would tack on two more in the third (one an empty net goal) to seal the win. Andrew Lindgren earned his first regulation loss, saving 26 of 30, while Jake Kupsky earned the win, stopping 21 of 23.

Topeka Tumble: On Sep. 14, the IceRays fell in their weekend closer against the RoadRunners, 5-2. The game featured 54 total penalty minutes (34 for the IceRays) and an IceRays penalty kill that went 7-for-11. After an early Willie Brown goal, Nic LaBurn tied the game at 17:18 of the first period. The IceRays took the lead, 2-1, at 6:37 of the second period thanks to Wes Michaud, but the RoadRunners would answer with two more in the second period and two in the third period. Only one goal (Sly Sutter, 8:19 3rd) came on even strength.

Who Wants a Penalty?: Both teams combined for 149 penalty minutes in last weekend’s games, with 80 of those minutes were given to the IceRays. Corpus Christi opened the weekend with 118 penalty minutes. In total, there were a total of 37 minor penalties, one major penalty, six 10-minute misconducts, and two game ejections.

Gone Missing: The IceRays will be without three players this weekend. Forward Brad LeLievre is out 2-4 weeks with a leg injury and defenseman Travis Howe is not expected to play with a broken hand. Both injuries were suffered in Saturday’s 5-2 loss to the Brahmas. Forward Nic LaBurn will serve a two-game suspension for an obscene gesture toward the end of last Saturday’s loss.

Filling The Gap: Two new faces join the IceRays lineup this weekend. The IceRays added defenseman Pierre Crinon after clearing waivers yesterday from the Sioux City Musketeers (USHL) and affiliate forward Regan Cavanagh from the Hampton Road Whalers (USPHL Elite). In corresponding moves, the IceRays released defenseman Markus Kojo. The IceRays now have 21 healthy players available this weekend.

OK on the PK: The IceRays remain in the top-five in penalty kill numbers this season, going 13-for-14 last weekend. In their last five games, the IceRays are 29-for-30 (96.67%) and are 40-for-42 (95.24%) since their last meeting with Topeka on opening weekend.

Streak Me: IceRays forward Wes Michaud owns a four-game assist streak, earning one assist in each of the team’s last four games. This is the longest assist or point streak by an IceRays player this season, beating out Tanner Lomsnes and Anthony Cortese for the longest point streak.

RoadRunners Running: The Topeka RoadRunners continued their winning ways, sweeping the Odessa Jackalopes at home last weekend, 5-2 and 5-0. Forward Tyler Irvine led the charge for the RoadRunners, scoring three goals and two assists for five points on the weekend, while leading point scorer forward Mike Gornall racked up one goal and three assists for four points. Forward Carlos Fornaris also picked up four points.

Tops For Topeka: Forwards Mike Gornall and Willie Brown sit in the top-20 in points among all NAHL skaters. Gornall (4+8=12) is tied for 10th in the league in points ,while Brown (5+6=11) sits tied for 16th in the NAHL. Forward Jason Fernsler joins Gornall in a share for 11th in the NAHL in assists (8). On the back end, goaltender Matej Tomek continues to live up to the hype, ranking 2nd in the NAHL in GAA (1.10) and save percentage (.957), and he is one of two netminders to post two shutouts (Ryan Anderson, MNW).

South Division Standings:
1 – Topeka RoadRunners (10-2-0, 20 Pts)
2 – Wichita Falls Wildcats (7-3-0, 14 Pts)
3 – Corpus Christi IceRays (5-3-3, 13 Pts)
4 – Lone Star Brahmas (5-3-1, 11 Pts)
5 – Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (5-4-0, 10 Pts)
6 – Odessa Jackalopes (4-7-0, 8 Pts)
6 – Wenatchee Wild (3-5-2, 8 Pts)
8 – Amarillo Bulls (2-5-2, 6 Pts)

Next Game: The IceRays remain home to close out their season series against the Topeka RoadRunners Saturday, October 18 at 7:05 p.m. Doors open at 6:00 p.m., and coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. with Countdown to Faceoff on SportsJuice.com and FASTHockey.com. Fans can tune in at the arena on 87.7 FM.