GAME PREVIEW #23 – AT RIO GRANDE VALLEY KILLER BEES

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

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RIO GRANDE VALLEY KILLER BEES

Friday, November 28 at 7:30 P.M.

NAHL Game #280 • Road Game #9 • Season Series 1-0-0
State Farm Arena • Hidalgo, Texas
Radio: SportsRadio Corpus Christi • Mobile: TuneIn Radio

Video: FASTHockey.com • Twitter: @goicerays

Coverage begins at 7:15 p.m. with Countdown to Faceoff
 

Tonight’s Game: The IceRays hit the road for the first time in eight games as they begin a two-game set against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees from State Farm Arena. This trip is the first of three trips to the Valley in the 2014-15 season.

Head-To-Head: Thanks to a 3-1 victory over the Killer Bees on Nov. 12 from the American Bank Center, the IceRays have a 1-0 season series lead in the South Texas Vo Tech Cup. 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 conceded a three-goal lead in the second half of the game but won on a penalty shot in overtime to complete the sweep of the Odessa Jackalopes, 4-3, from the American Bank Center. Forward Ryan Cusin (8:34, 1st) scored first on a backhanded play to take the lead, 1-0. Forward Connor Bucsis (17:35, 1st) followed suit with a redirection off a Pierre Crinon point shot to double the lead, 2-0. Defenseman Anthony Cortese (11:33, 2nd) took a blast from the right point, expanding the lead 3-0. After three-straight Odessa goals to answer and send the game into overtime, forward Wes Michaud (3:12, OT) was taken down from behind to force a penalty shot, in which he scored to claim a 4-3 victory. Forwards Alex Alger (17:45, 2nd), Chad Guderian (6:38, 3rd), and Kenny Hausinger (PP, EX)(19:34, 3rd) claimed the trio of goals for the Jackalopes to force overtime and claim one point. IceRays goaltender Andrew Lindgren (9-3-2) earned the win, saving 36 of 39 shots, while Robin Johansson (3-7-2) dropped with the overtime loss, stopping 24 of 28 shots.

En Fuego: The IceRays finished their seven-game home stand with a 6-1-0 record and on a five-game win streak. In that span, the IceRays have outscored their opponents 30-16 while holding their opponents to three goals or less six of their seven games. This is the longest win streak of the season for the IceRays with the lone loss in the home stand coming on Oct. 30 against the Wichita Falls Wildcats (3-1 L).

Make ‘Em Pay: The penalty shot taken by forward Wes Michaud on Saturday marked the second time in IceRays junior history that the team won a game by virtue of a penalty shot in overtime. The only other time that occurred was on Sep. 23, 2011 when forward Eric Purcell did the same against the Odessa Jackalopes and netminder Connor Hellebuyck. Over their junior history, the IceRays are 2-for-3 in penalty shots, with the most recent chance by forward Tony Roisum on Nov. 30, 2013 against the Wichita Falls Wildcats was denied by Chase Munroe.

Going Deep: Four IceRays players will bring five-game point streaks into their weekend set against the Killer Bees. Forward Tanner Lomsnes leads the way with ten points (3+7=10), followed by forwards Wes Michaud at nine points (4+5=9) and Ryan Cusin with six points (4+2=6). Defenseman Anthony Cortese has the third-highest point total of the group, earning seven points (1+6=7) in that span.

Defending the Bend: Goaltenders Andrew Lindgren and Luke Pickar have turned up the heat for the IceRays and solidified themselves as mainstays for this squad. In their team’s winning streak, each goaltender has two wins, allowed six goals, and saved a combined .945 percent of shots. Individually, Pickar has allowed three goals with a .947 SV%, and Lindgren has allowed three goals with a .943 SV%.

Road Blues: Through their first eight road games, the IceRays have yet to record a win, going 0-4-4 and being outscored 33-19. The IceRays have done well on the power play on the road, going 9-for-40 (22.50%), but the penalty kill has been slightly less effecting, stopping 38 of 44 attempts (86.37%). Their last road win came against the Killer Bees on Mar. 22, 2014 in a 2-1 victory before dropping the second game in that set 3-0.

Buzz Kill: The Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees had third period leads in both games last weekend against the Wichita Falls Wildcats but couldn’t hold on, dropping both contests 4-3 and 4-2 on the road. Friday’s loss ended with a penalty shot just 1:31 left in the third period. Forward Dean Balsamo led the way in scoring with three assist in Saturday’s loss, while forwards Stathis Soumelidis and Kyle Stephan earned two goals apiece on the weekend.

Home Sick: The Killer Bees come back home after nine-straight games on the road, in which they have gone 2-5-2 during that span and being outscored 30-24. Three of their nine games went to a shootout, going 1-2 in those games with the last five games coming against top-four teams (COR, LSB, WFS). The Killer Bees have lost six-straight games, including all five against those previous teams (0-5-1). At home, the Killer Bees have earn points in five of eight home games, going 3-2-2 despite dropping their last three home contests.

South Division Standings:
1 – Topeka RoadRunners (16-6-2, 34 PTS)
2 – Lone Star Brahmas (15-4-1, 31 PTS)
3 – Wichita Falls Wildcats (15-4-0, 30 PTS)
4 – Corpus Christi IceRays (12-6-4, 28 PTS)
5 – Wenatchee Wild (9-9-4, 22 PTS)
6 – Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (7-10-4, 18 PTS)
7 – Amarillo Bulls (7-14-2, 16 PTS)
8 – Odessa Jackalopes (5-14-4, 14 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays finish off their two-game series against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees on Saturday, November 29 at 7:30 p.m. from State Farm Arena. Coverage begins at 7:15 p.m. with Countdown to Faceoff on SportsRadio Corpus Christi and FASTHockey.com. Follow updates during the game on Twitter (@goicerays).