GAME PREVIEW #25 – VS. RIO GRANDE VALLEY KILLER BEES

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

vs.

RIO GRANDE VALLEY KILLER BEES

Wednesday, December 3 at 7:05 P.M.

NAHL Game #296 • Home Game #15 • Season Series 1-2-0
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
 

Tonight’s Game: The IceRays play a single game matchup against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees from the American Bank Center after playing their last two games in Rio Grande Valley. This begins a stretch of three games in four days as well as continues a five-game, eight-day haul into December.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays dropped to 1-2-0 in their season series for the South Texas Vo Tech Cup following Saturday night’s 5-3 loss.. The IceRays are now 6-8-1 in their franchise series as NAHL teams and have been outscored 28-17.

Last Game: The IceRays were not able to hold off the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees in their 5-3 loss on Saturday night from State Farm Arena. The IceRays remain winless on the road, going 0-6-4 in their first ten games. Forward Wes Michaud (PP, 2:23, 2nd) scored the game’s first goal to take a 1-0 lead for the IceRays on a one-time shot from the blue line. After two goals allowed on a five-minute major penalty, forward Ryan Cusin (16:31, 2nd) tied the game, 2-2, heading into the second intermission. Defenseman Trevor Heuser (19:48, 3rd) scored one final goal but not before three more Killer Bees found the back of the net to take the 5-3 win. Forwards Guy Roby (PP, 6:43, 2nd) and Anthony Croston (PP, 7:17, 2nd) scored for the Killer Bees on the power play. Forwards Dallas Gerads (5:12, 3rd), Stathis Soumelidis (5:39, 3rd), and Parker Wood (EN, 17:40, 3rd) also tallied to spread the lead. IceRays goaltender Andrew Lindgren (9-4-2) took his first loss in four games, turning aside 18 of 22 shots, while Killer Bees Ben Johnasson (6-3-3) took his second-straight win, saving 18 of 21 shots against.

Can’t Catch A Break: After returning from a six-game suspension on Saturday night, IceRays forward Joe Chitwood took a five-minute major penalty for charging in the second period as well as a game misconduct. Chitwood will likely be suspended with an official decision from the North American Hockey League coming this week.

In Like A Lion…: The IceRays posted a 5-2-0 record through the month of November, their best month of the season thus far. Their five wins is the most of any other month, and their point percentage (.714) oversteps their season-high set in September (.571). The month was highlighted by a five-game win streak at home, including a penalty shot overtime goal by Wes Michaud on Nov. 22 in a 4-3 win over the Odessa Jackalopes. The IceRays have now earned ten points in each of their last two month.

…Out Like A Lamb: The IceRays dropped both games against the Killer Bees last weekend to end the month 0-2-0 with a 6-3 goal differential and 45-40 in shots. The IceRays continue to struggle on the road, dropping to 0-6-4 while being outscored 39-22. 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.

Six Pack: Forward Ryan Cusin is the only remaining IceRays skater with a continuous point streak, which now stands at six games. In that span, he has a team-high five goals with three assists for eight points and ties his own team-high point streak this season. Cusin recorded two goals and six assists for eight points from Oct. 11 through Oct. 30.

Defending the Bend: After performing as a top-five goaltender in the NAPHL last season, Luke Pickar has transitioned well to the NAHL with great numbers through the month of November. While seeing only three games during the month, the 18-year-old held opponents to one goal twice and never saw more than three go by, owning a 2-1-0 record. In the month, Pickar has seen his goals against average drop from 2.85 to 2.32 and improved his save percentage from .895 to .914.

From The Hive: After dropping six-straight games on the road, the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees have won two-straight games at home in strong fashion. The Killer Bees now stand at 5-3-2 during home matches and have outscored their opponents 37-29 in those ten games. At State Farm Arena, the Killer Bees are 4-2-2 this season.

He Turns Two: Since goaltender Ben Johansson dropped three-straight contests, he swept both games last weekend against the IceRays. During the slide, Johansson went 0-2-1 with a 2.61 GAA and .901 SV% (73-for-81). However, over the last two days he registered a 2-0-0 record with a 1.50 GAA and a .925 SV%. 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 (18-6-2, 38 PTS)
2 – Wichita Falls Wildcats (16-5-0, 32 PTS)
3 – Lone Star Brahmas (15-6-1, 31 PTS)
4 – Corpus Christi IceRays (12-8-4, 28 PTS)
5 – Wenatchee Wild (10-9-5, 25 PTS)
6 – Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (9-10-4, 22 PTS)
7 – Amarillo Bulls (7-14-2, 16 PTS)
8 – Odessa Jackalopes (6-15-4, 16 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays head back on the road Friday, December 5 as they begin a two-game set against the Wichita Falls Wildcats at 7:05 p.m. from Kay Yeager Coliseum. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. with Countdown to Faceoff on the IceRays flagship road station, SportsRadio Corpus Christi, and FASTHockey.com