GAME PREVIEW #26 – AT WICHITA FALLS WILDCATS

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

at

WICHITA FALLS WILDCATS

Friday, December 5 at 7:05 P.M.

NAHL Game #304 • Road Game #11 • Season Series 1-1-0
Kay Yeager Coliseum • Wichita Falls, Texas
Radio: SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX) • Mobile: TuneIn Radio

Video: FASTHockey.com • Twitter: @goicerays

Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. with Countdown to Faceoff
 

Tonight’s Game: The IceRays play their second game in three days as they begin a two-game set against the Wichita Falls Wildcats from Kay Yeager Coliseum. This is the first of two trips to the Coliseum this season and the start of the only road series in the month of December.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays split their last round with the Wildcats, evening the season series 1-1-0. Over their franchise series, the IceRays own a 15-19-6 record, but from Kay Yeager Coliseum the squad has struggled, going 4-9-5 on the road. Their last win from Wichita Falls was on Nov. 30, 2013 in a 4-2 win. In their last meeting on Oct. 31, the Wildcats posted a 3-1 win over the IceRays from the American Bank Center, in which Jeff Baum (4:57, 2nd) and Jake Kuzmesky (5:59, 2nd) earned their first goals of the year. Nate Bryer (17:50, 2nd) scored the lone tally for the IceRays. Cam Knight (8:31, 3rd) knotted a power play goal to seal the win. Andrew Lindgren saved 42 of 45 shots in the loss, while Austin Shaw earned the win with 24 saves on 28 chances.

Last Game: The IceRays survived a grueling game with 160 combined penalty minutes, claiming a 4-2 win over the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees. The IceRays scored three power play goals from Pierre Crinon (10:19, 1st), Nic LaBurn (9:41, 2nd), and Wes MIchaud (17:28, 2nd) with Ryan Cusin (8:11, 2nd) claiming the team’s lone even strength goal. Both teams combined for 100 penalty minutes in the first period, and for the first time this season the IceRays failed to record a shot in the third period. Andrew Lindgren earned the win, stopping 36 of 38 shots, while Ben Johansson picked up the loss on a 15-for-19 save effort.

Can’t Catch A Break: The North American Hockey League has announced that IceRays forward Joe Chitwood has been suspended four games for his hit on Nov. 29 against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees. He served the first game of that suspension last night. He is slated to return to the lineup on Dec. 12 at home against the Amarillo Bulls. He will have missed 10 games this year due to suspensions.

Numero Uno: After bring shut out on the power play in four-straight games, the IceRays have started to regain their edge, scoring power play goals in two-straight games. They now rank first in the NAHL in power play. Over their last two games, the IceRays are 4-for-10 (40.00%) with an extra skater on the ice.

Living In Sin: The IceRays and Killer Bees combined for 160 penalty minutes on Wednesday, the most in an IceRays game this season.  Their previous high was on Oct. 24 when the IceRays and Amarillo Bulls earned 122 PIMs in a 5-4 shootout loss. 96 of Wednesday’s minutes were earned by the Killer Bees, the most for an IceRays opponent this season. The two teams also combined for 100 PIMs in the first period alone, which is another season-high.

Seventh Heaven: With a goal and two assists on Wednesday night, forward Ryan Cusin surpassed his own team record for most consecutive games with a point, which now stands at seven games. The Michigan native has sliced six goals and five assists over his last seven games played, with one game scratched during that stretch.

Defending the Bend: The IceRays will roll into Wichita Falls with a depleted lineup after Wednesday night’s contest. Logan Gestro suffered an upper body injury in the third period and did not make the trip. Forward Wes Michaud suffered a lower body injury in the third period and is questionable for tonight’s game. Forward Nathan Bryer left Wednesday’s game with flu-like symptoms and also remains questionable. With the departure of Regan Cavanagh to the USPHL, Chitwood’s suspension, and defenseman Brendan Murphy’s lower body injury, the IceRays possibly have 19 available players: 11 forwards, six defensemen, and two goaltenders.

Cat-Jack Split: The Wichita Falls Wildcats saw their seven-game winning streak come to an end with a 4-2 loss to the Odessa Jackalopes on Friday night from Ector County Coliseum but recovered with a 5-4 win on Saturday. Four Wildcats skaters earned multi-point weekends, led by forward Alex Falconer who recorded two goals and one assist. Forward Austin Beaulieu also found twine with one goal and one assist. Forward Austin Albrecht and defenseman Jake Townsend both had two-assist weekends.

Purely Prowling: The Wildcats are tied with the Johnstown Tomahawks for the least number of games played this season (21). With that considered, the Wildcats have the highest win percentage (.762) in the NAHL, making them the best team in the league despite trailing the Topeka RoadRunners for first in the South Division, who also own the second-best win percentage (.731) in the NAHL. In fact, the top-three win percentages reside in the South Division: Wildcats, RoadRunners, and Lone Star Brahmas (.705).

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 (13-8-4, 30 PTS)
5 – Wenatchee Wild (10-9-5, 25 PTS)
6 – Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (9-11-4, 22 PTS)
7 – Amarillo Bulls (7-14-2, 16 PTS)
8 – Odessa Jackalopes (6-15-4, 16 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays will finish off this two-game set against the Wichita Falls Wildcats on Saturday, December 6 at 7:05 p.m. from the Kay Yeager Coliseum. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. with Countdown to Faceoff on SportsRadio Corpus Christi and FASTHockey.com.