GAME PREVIEW #20 – VS. RIO GRANDE VALLEY KILLER BEES

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

vs.

RIO GRANDE VALLEY KILLER BEES

Wednesday, November 12 at 7:05 P.M.

NAHL Game #217 • Home Game #12 • Season Series 0-0-0
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 open their 12-game set against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees, and after tonight’s game the IceRays will have seen every opponent in the 2014-15 regular season at least once. This is also the first game of the South Texas Vo Tech Cup and the celebration of the American Bank Center’s 10th Anniversary.

Head-To-Head: In their lone season of competition last year, the Killer Bees earned the claim of the STVT Cup, winning seven of their 12 meetings. The IceRays went 5-6-1 last season and were outscored 23-14. The IceRays were also shutout four times through their last six games.

Last Game: The IceRays earned their second sweep of the season with a 4-2 victory over the Jackalopes on Pink In The Rink. The IceRays played in front of their largest crowd of the season at 4,701 in attendance. The IceRays struck first again with forward Ryan Cusin opening the scoring at 9:17 of the first period with forward Nathan Bryer scoring a power play goal at 13:12 to take a 2-0 lead. After an Odessa goal in the first period, forward Wes Michaud brought the lead back to two at 16:40 of the second period. With another Odessa answer in the third period, forward Connor Kelly put the game away with a power play goal at 19:14 of the third period. Andrew Lindgren (7-3-2) made 24 of 26 saves in the win, and Forbes Ploszaj (3-5-1) took the loss in a 21-save effort in 25 shots.

The Loneliest Number: This is only the second time this season that the IceRays play a single-game set against an opponent, both coming at home. The last time the IceRays played a lone game was Sep. 27 against the Lone Star Brahmas, who they beat 3-2 in the home opener. This is the second of six single-game sets, four of the six coming against Rio Grande Valley.

Wes Coast Offense: Forward Wes Michaud was named the NAHL’s Easton South Division Player of the Week, putting up three goals and two assists in two games against Odessa last weekend. Two of his three goals came as game-winners with one on the power play. Michaud is now tied for third in the NAHL in points (25), tied for fifth in assists (16), and tied for 10th in goals (9).

Mercy-Hurt: Forward Nate Bryer has been quietly performing well for the IceRays in the recent stretch, grabbing six points over his last four games, including a team-high four-straight games with at least one goal. Bryer totaled four points (two goals, two assists) last weekend against Odessa.

Oh, So Special: Special teams play has been at a premium for the IceRays this season. Not only has the team been consistently ranked within the top-five and top-10 of all NAHL teams, but the power play now ranks second in the league, the highest it has ever ranked since the team moved to the NAHL. The IceRays have scored on the power play in five of their last six games, going 9-for-24 (37.5%) in that span with two games of three power play goals.

Killer Tofu: On the other side, after shutting down Odessa last weekend, the IceRays have shut down opposing teams on their penalty kill in 12 of their first 19 games with only one game allowing more than one power play goal this season. The IceRays have killed off their last eight penalty kill opportunities.

Westerly Winds: The Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees took their lone trip to Washington state to earn a three-point weekend against the Wenatchee Wild, 5-3 and 3-2 (SO). Forwards Kyle Stephan and Parker Wood led the way for the Killer Bees in the weekend, each scoring two goals in Friday’s 5-3 win, with Wood tallying three points on the night, and each also grabbing a point in Saturday’s 3-2 shootout loss (Stephan: goal; Wood: assist). Goaltender Ben Johansson played both games in the weekend, saving 46 of 51 shots on the weekend.

Border Exchange: After their rough start to the season going 1-3-0, the Killer Bees have made seven trades leading up to tonight’s game, with the most recent occurring yesterday when the Killer Bees acquired defenseman Jack Weiss for a 2015 NAHL Draft Pick. Also included in that shift was defenseman Wayland Williams, who has five points in five games with the Killer Bees. In exchange for their seven added players, the Killer Bees have also shed nine players from their roster, including Dan Kucerovy, who scored eight goals and 11 points in his first 12 games with Rio Grande Valley before being traded to Janesville for Chris Deprez.

Wood Ya Believe: Forward Parker Wood has surged into the team lead in points, recording six goals and eight points this season. Over his last five games, he’s recorded six points, with two coming as goals. In Friday’s game against the Wild, Wood scored two goals with one assist in the team’s 5-3 win.

South Division Standings:
1 – Topeka RoadRunners (15-4-1, 31 Pts)
2 – Wichita Falls Wildcats (12-4-0, 24 Pts)
3 – Corpus Christi IceRays (9-6-4, 22 Pts)
4 – Lone Star Brahmas (10-4-1, 21 Pts)
5 – Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (7-5-4, 18 Pts)
6 – Wenatchee Wild (5-8-4, 14 Pts)
7 – Amarillo Bulls (5-11-2, 12 Pts)
8 – Odessa Jackalopes (5-12-1, 11 Pts)

Next Game: The IceRays begin their final weekend of their month-long home stand on Friday, November 21 against the Odessa Jackalopes 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 are available at www.Ticketmaster.com or by visiting the American Bank Center Box Office. For more information, call the IceRays Front Office at 361-814-PUCK.