GAME PREVIEW #24 – AT RIO GRANDE VALLEY KILLER BEES

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

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RIO GRANDE VALLEY KILLER BEES

Saturday, November 29 at 7:30 P.M.

NAHL Game #292 • Road Game #10 • Season Series 1-1-0
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 close out their two-game set against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees tonight from State Farm Arena. This is their last road game before returning back home on Wednesday and the second games of the year from State Farm Arena.

Head-To-Head: After last night’s loss, the IceRays and Killer Bees are even at 1-1-0 in their season series  for the South Texas Vo Tech Cup. The IceRays went 5-6-1 last season and were outscored 23-14. Last night was also the fifth time the IceRays were shut out by the Killer Bees in their last eight meetings.

Last Game: The IceRays were blanked for the second time this season, this time in a 1-0 loss to the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees from State Farm Areana. The lone tally of the game came at 12:36 of the first period when Killer Bees defenseman Evan Bell launched a shot from the left point that scooted by IceRays goaltender Luke Pickar to the far side. Killer Bees goaltender Ben Johansson earned the win with a perfect 19-for-19 performance, while Pickar garnered the loss in his 21-for-22 save effort.

Wet Wick: The IceRays saw their five-game win streak come to a close last night against the Killer Bees. In their winning streak, they outscored their opponents 22-9 at home and converted on 22.22% (4-for-18) on power play attempts–all four of those came against the Odessa Jackalopes. On the penalty kill, the IceRays stopped 90.00% (18-for-20) of all man-advantage chances for their opponents.

Clean Slate: Three IceRays saw their five-game point streaks come to an end. Forward Tanner Lomsnes led the way with ten points (3+7=10) followed by forwards Wes Michaud at nine points (4+5=9). Defenseman Anthony Cortese has the third-highest point total of the group, earning seven points (1+6=7) in that span. Meanwhile, Ryan Cusin still has his streak alive after sitting out last night, earning six points (4+2=6) in his last five games.

Offense, Anyone?: Last night was the lowest offensive output of the season in terms of goals and shots. Their 19 shots is the fewest this season, beating their previous low of 20 served by the Minnesota Wilderness on Sep. 18 in their 1-0 loss. The IceRays three shots in the first period also ties a season-low set in the same game at the NAHL Showcase. Coincidentally, both games were netminded by Luke Pickar.

Defending the Bend: Luke Pickar saw his two-game streak come to an end last night, but the netminder has placed solid numbers through the month of November. In his three starts, the netminder has earned a .949 SV% (75-for-79) with a 2-1-0 record and a 1.34 GAA. He has only allowed multiple goals once this month: his last appearance on Nov. 21 vs. Odessa (6-2 W). Andrew Lindgren comes into tonight’s game on a three-game win streak, going 3-0-0 with a 1.97 GAA and a .935 SV% (86-for-92).

Road Blues: The IceRays have still yet to win on the road, going 0-5-4 and being outscored 34-19. their power play has dropped to 20.45% (9-for-44), but the penalty kill has risen to 87.50% (42-for-48). 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 ended their six-game losing streak in their first home match since Oct. 25. Since their last win on Nov. 7 against the Wenatchee Wild, the Killer Bees went 0-5-1 and were outscored 19-11 against the three South Division opponents directly above them in the standings. Now at home, the Killer Bees have earned points in six of nine games, going 4-2-2 and breaking a three-game skid on home ice.

Getting Started: Killer Bees defenseman Evan Bell scored his first career NAHL goal last night in game-winning fashion and recorded his first point in four games. With the assist, forward Anthony Croston now has four points over his last six games, earning one goal and three assists. Croston now forces a three-way tie for first place on the team in points (16) with Kyle Stephan and Parker Wood.

Break The Trend: Killer Bees netminder Ben Johansson also saw a personal three-game skid come to a close last night with the win. His last victory came in his team’s last win: Nov. 7 vs. Wenatchee, in which he mad 24 saves on 27 attempts. During the slide, Johansson went 0-2-1 with a 2.61 GAA and .901 SV% (73-for-81). His partner, Nick Schmidt, has dropped his last four deceisions, last winning on Oct. 10 against Wenatchee (4-3 W). He owns a 0-3-1 record with a 3.56 GAA and a .894 SV % (127-for-142) over his last five games since that win.

South Division Standings:
1 – Topeka RoadRunners (17-6-2, 36 PTS)
2 – Lone Star Brahmas (15-5-1, 31 PTS)
3 – Wichita Falls Wildcats (15-5-0, 30 PTS)
4 – Corpus Christi IceRays (12-7-4, 28 PTS)
5 – Wenatchee Wild (9-9-5, 23 PTS)
6 – Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (8-10-4, 20 PTS)
7 – Amarillo Bulls (7-14-2, 16 PTS)
8 – Odessa Jackalopes (6-14-4, 16 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays faceoff against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees on Wednesday, December 3 at 7:05 p.m. from the American Bank Center. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsJuice.com, FASTHockey.com, and 87.7 FM in-arena. Fans can bring five items to donate and pay $5 for their ticket and help the IceRays' Holiday Hope Drive benefitting Corpus Christi Metro Ministries. For more information or for a full donation list, click here.