GAME PREVIEW #17 – VS. WICHITA FALLS WILDCATS

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

vs.

WICHITA FALLS WILDCATS

Friday, October 31 at 7:05 P.M.

NAHL Game #170 • Home Game #9 • Season Series 1-0-0
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 play their first game as a junior franchise on Halloween as they close their two-game set against the Wichita Falls Wildcats. Tonight’s game will be the second of seven-straight home games through November.

Head-To-Head: With last night’s win, the IceRays are 15-18-6 against the Wildcats and 11-9-1 in games from the American Bank Center. It’s their first win at home against the Wildcats in just over one year (Oct. 26, W 4-1) and their first all together since Nov. 30 (W 4-2 in WFS).

Last Night: The IceRays broke a three-game skid with a powerful 7-4 win against the Wildcats. After trailing 1-0 late in the first period, Anthony Cortese tied the game at 16:44 of the first period. The IceRays then scored four more unanswered in the second period between 5:27 and 12:39 of the frame: Nate Bryer, Mason Krueger, Ryan Cusin, and Nic LaBurn. That put the IceRays up, 5-1, before the Wildcats answered with two more tallies before the end of the period. Connor Bucsis added another goal in the third period, and after an answer by the Wildcats, LaBurn added an empty net goal to seal the win. Andrew Lindgren earned the win, saving 29 of 33 shots, and Austin Shaw dropped his first game of the year, saving 20 of 26 shots.

Season-Setting Session: Last night, the IceRays reset a number of season-high totals in their best offensive game of the season. The team’s seven goals is the most they’ve scored all season, including the most scored in a single period (four goals, 2nd period). Nate Bryer’s and Mason Krueger’s goals in the second period were separated by 14 seconds, the shortest amount of time between consecutive goals. Adding Ryan Cusin’s goal marks the shortest amount of time between three goals of the season, clocking in at 5:46. With six players earning multi-point games, it’s the most spread out attack thus far.

Wes Coast Offense: With four assists last night, Forward Wes Michaud is the first player to record four assists in a game since Connor Kelly on Feb, 7, 2014 in the team’s 7-6 overtime loss to the Topeka RoadRunners. This is the second time Michaud has recorded a four-point game in his last three games (Oct. 24 @ AMA; 2+2=4). The NAHL South Division 2nd Star of the Week is poised for a repeat performance, now recording nine points over his last three games and 15 points over his last nine games (3+12=15). Because of that stretch, Michaud has moved to a share of third in the NAHL in points (21) with Odessa’s Derek Brown. He’s now only one point behind Kenny Hausinger (ODA) and Chandler Madry (FAI) for the top spot (22 points). Michaud also ranks second in the NAHL in assists (15).

Cruisin’ Cusin: After only scoring one point over his first ten games, forward Ryan Cusin has turned up the heat of recent, owning a team-high six-game point streak thanks to a goal last night. He now has eight points in that span (2+6=8) and surpasses Wes Michaud’s mark for longest point scoring streak of the season (5 games).

Streak Me: Four IceRays players are now on at least three-game point streaks. In addition to Wes Michaud and Ryan Cusin, defenseman Logan Gestro has eclipsed five-straight games with points, scoring two goals and five assists in that span, and forward Joe Chitwood has his first three-game streak, recording one goal and two assists. Chitwood also has five points over his last six games (1+4=5).

Burn, Baby Burn: Forward Nic LaBurn added another power play goal last night, marking his third in the last two games. He now leads the team in power plays with four. With two more goals last night, LaBurn has scored four goals in his last two games.

Defense By Offense: Defenseman Anthony Cortese once again moves to first in tha NAHL among defenseman in scoring at seven goals and 15 points thanks to his goal and assist last night. He sits one point ahead of Sam Becker (MNM) for that top spot in points and three goals ahead of Jakob Stridsberg.

New Blood In The Water: The IceRays acquired forward Griff Jeszka from the Coulee Region Chill on Tuesday in exchange for a 2015 1st Round Pick. Jeszka, 19, appeared in nine games this season with the Coulee Region Chill, recording three assists with ten penalty minutes and a +1 plus/minus. The six-foot-one, 175-pound forward also appeared in 47 games last season with the Chill, recording eight goals and ten assists for 18 points with only 12 penalty minutes.

South Division Standings:
1 – Topeka RoadRunners (13-2-1, 27 Pts)
2 – Corpus Christi IceRays (7-5-4, 18 Pts)
3 – Lone Star Brahmas (8-4-1, 17 Pts)
4 – Wichita Falls Wildcats (8-4-0, 16 Pts)
5 – Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (5-5-3, 13 Pts)
6 – Amarillo Bulls (5-6-2, 12 Pts)
7 – Odessa Jackalopes (5-10-0, 10 Pts)
8 – Wenatchee Wild (3-6-3, 9 Pts)

Next Game: The IceRays remain on home ice to continue their home stand, taking on the Odessa Jackalopes in the first of a two-game set on Friday, Novermber 7 at 7:05 p.m from the American Bank Center. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsJuice.com, FASTHockey.com, and on 87.7 FM in-arena. Tickets can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling the American Bank Center Box Office at 361-826-4744.