GAME PREVIEW #19 – VS. ODESSA JACKALOPES

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

vs.

ODESSA JACKALOPES

Saturday, November 8 at 7:05 P.M.

NAHL Game #206 • Home Game #11 • 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 support breast cancer awareness for their annual Pink In The Rink game against the Odessa Jackalopes. This is also the back end of a two-game set to open their season series. During tonight's game, donations will be accepted along with a silent auction and post-game IceRays jersey auction, all benefitting the American Cancer Society.

Head-To-Head: With their win last night, the IceRays broaden the lead in the franchise series 18-13-2, going 4-5-1 in the 2013-14 season. The last time these two teams played (Jan. 18, 2014), the IceRays claimed a 4-0 victory on home ice. The best season the IceRays had against Odessa was in 2012-13, when the team pulled away with a 9-3-0 record in the season series.

Last Night: The IceRays excelled in their season series opener against the Odessa Jackalopes, winning 5-1. Forward Wes Michaud scored both goals in the first period at 16:02 and 19:03 to help the team to a 2-0 lead going into the first intermission. Forwards Ryan Cusin (power play) and Nic LaBurn added tallies to their season total in the second period to double the lead, 4-0. Forward Nate Bryer added one more at 12:50 of the third period before Luke Pickar’s shutout bid was squandered by Jackalopes defenseman Jesse Junttila at 15:56. Pickar did grab the win, saving 30 of 31 shots, while Jacks netminder Forbes Ploszaj stopped 33 of 38 shots in the loss.

Two-Act Play: The IceRays have had great success in the opening game of two-game sets this season. In seven opportunities, the IceRays have earned points in opening series games, going 4-0-3. If that is stretched to multi-game sets and singular contests, their record improves to 6-0-3. However, in the second game of those same sets, the IceRays are 1-5-0, with their lone win on Oct. 4 against Wenatchee (2-1).

Wes Coast Offense: October was a sparkling month for forward Wes Michaud, claiming three goals and 12 assists in the 10-game set. Over that span, Michaud has recorded points in eight of his last ten, earned NAHL South Division 2nd Star of the Week for October 28, and NAHL Player of the Month Runner-Up among forwards. Michaud currently sits third in the NAHL in points (23) and is tied for fourth in assists (15) thanks to his two-goal, one-assist effort.

Mercy-Hurt: Forward Nate Bryer has been quietly performing well for the IceRays in the recent stretch, grabbing four points over his last three games, including goals in three-straight games. This comes following a seven-game pointless drought.

Burn, Baby Burn: Forward Nic LaBurn added another goal last night, stretching his point streak to four games, earning five goals in his last four games with two assists. He was awarded NAHL South Division 2nd Star of the Week for his two-goal and two-assist effort last weekend against the Wichita Falls Wildcats. LaBurn leads the team in power play goals (4) and becomes the fifth player this season to each double-digit points (Michaud, Lomsnes, Cortese, Gestro).

Onerous October: The IceRays closed out the month of October on the final day of the month, finishing their 10-game monthly schedule with a 4-4-2 record and ten points. They’ve stayed consistent in the South Division, jumping up one position to a share of second place while battling through four injuries that resulted in missed ice time, one of which resulted in a player being transferred to the Injured Reserve. In the month, the team was outscored 38-32.

Shootout on the Border: The Odessa Jackalopes had a shootout-filled weekend against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees, winning on Thursday 6-5 (SO) and dropping Saturday’s game 3-2 (SO). Forward Derek Brown was the hero of Thursday’s game, scoring two regulation goals and netting the game-winner in the shootout in the 2nd round. Brown also tallied one more goal and a shootout tally on Saturday but couldn’t pull the team ahead. Forward Kenny Hausinger earned two goals and two assists on the weekend.

The Journeyman: Jackalopes goaltender Forbes Ploszaj remains winless against the IceRays for both Odessa and the Wenatchee Wild. In three games against the IceRays, Ploszaj is 0-2-0 with a 4.12 GAA and .873 save percentage, including being pulled after six shots in his last appearance with the Wild against the IceRays as part of a 3-2 loss. All three games were home contests for the IceRays.

Top Guns: Despite their record, two Jackalopes forwards rank in the top-three in points across the NAHL. Kenny Hausinger continued his point streak to four games, earning three goals and four assists in that span. He ranks second in points with 24 (10 goals, 14 assists), and Derek Brown sits tied for fourth with 22 points (seven goals, 15 assists).

South Division Standings:
1 – Topeka RoadRunners (15-3-1, 31 Pts)
2 – Wichita Falls Wildcats (10-4-0, 20 Pts)
2 – Corpus Christi IceRays (8-6-4, 20 Pts)
4 – Lone Star Brahmas (9-4-1, 19 Pts)
5 – Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (7-5-3, 17 Pts)
6 – Amarillo Bulls (5-9-2, 12 Pts)
7 – Wenatchee Wild (4-8-4, 12 Pts)
8 – Odessa Jackalopes (5-11-1, 11 Pts)

Next Game: The IceRays continue their home stand on Wednesday, November 12 for a rivalry match against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees in a single-game set. The IceRays will also be celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the American Bank Center. Coverage beigns at 6:50 p.m. on SportsJuice.com, FASTHockey.com and on 87.7 FM in-arena. For tickets, go to www.Ticketmaster.com or the American Bank Center Box Office. For more information, call the IceRays Front Office at 361-814-PUCK.