GAME PREVIEW #33 – VS. ODESSA JACKALOPES

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

vs.

ODESSA JACKALOPES

Friday, January 9 at 7:05 P.M.

NAHL Game #415 • Home Game #19 • Season Series 4-0-0
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
 

Tonight’s Game: The Corpus Christi IceRays begin the final two-game set against the Odessa Jackalopes for the 2014-15 season at the American Bank Center, This also marks the first of only two games at home during the entire month of January.

Head-To-Head: The last time these two teams met on Nov. 22, the IceRays completed the sweep with a 4-3 win in overtime on a penalty shot by Wes Michaud. The IceRays now lead the season series 4-0-0 and have now won five-straight games against Odessa dating back to last season. Over their histories, the IceRays are 22-13-2 against the Jackalopes. This will be the final weekend at the American Bank Center before playing the other six games in the series at the Ector County Coliseum.

Last Game: The IceRays were held at bay during their 3-1 loss last night to the Killer Bees from State Farm Arena. Anthony Croston (11:17, 1st) opened the scoring on the power play followed by a goal by newcomer Andrew Scofield (16:38, 1st). Frankie Melton (0:41, 3rd) gave the IceRays some life in the third period with a tally on the second chance created by Connor Kelly, however it was too much to handle as Dean Balsamo added a third goal at 17:10 of the third period to help secure the win. Andrew Lindgren picked up the loss, stopping 23 of 26 shots, while Nick Schmit earned the win, turning aside 25 of 26 shots.

Home, Sweet Home: The IceRays own the second-longest active home winning streak in the NAHL with nine-straight wins. They only trail Lone Star (16) for first. The IceRays moved into second place in home point percentage (.889) trailing the Brahmas (.947) in that category. Topeka (.886) and Wichita Falls (.875) rank third and fourth, respectively.

Unlucky Trends: The IceRays remain without a road win this season as well as a shootout win in the two years under Head Coach John Becanic. The IceRays are 0-9-5 this season in true road games, their longest stretch without a road win in franchise history. In addition, the team is 0-14 under Becanic in shootouts during his two-year tenure including a 0-4 record just this season. Their last road win came on Mar. 23, 2014 in a 3-0 shutout of Rio Grande Valley, and their last shootout win was on Mar. 9, 2013 in a 5-4 win over Wichita Falls at home.

Looking Up: Of the road games this season, the IceRays have allowed the first goal in 12 of those 14 games. The only times the IceRays scored first in a road game were on Oct. 24 against Amarillo (5-4 SOL) and Nov. 29 against Rio Grande Valley (5-3 L). Of the five non-regulation losses, four of them were a result of an IceRays comeback after trailing in the game. Only in one game did the IceRays give up a lead to allow overtime (Oct. 24 @ AMA).

Road To Ruin/Recovery: The IceRays are the only team in the NAHL without a win on the road. The team is 0-9-5 in their 13 games in opposing arenas with their last series coming in a 1-0 and 5-3 sweep by the Killer Bees. 10 of the next 14 games will be on the road, with nine of the 11 games in January in buildings other than the American Bank Center. On top of that, the IceRays are without practice ice during the entire month of January, so any time on the ice the team grabs will be in cities other than Corpus Christi.

Relief in Sight?: The IceRays have played 20 consecutive games without a full lineup. Since the last time on Oct. 11 against  Lone Star, the IceRays have suffered four suspensions to three players, six injuries that forced missed ice time, one player on international duty, one player at a wedding, and the flu virus running through the entire lineup. During that span, the IceRays are 10-8-2.

Two-For-Two: On Wednesday, the IceRays traded Connor Bucsis (F) to the Minnesota Magicians (NAHL) in exchange for Matt Colford (F), acquired Maksim Dzhioshvili (F) from the Bloomingtion Thunder (USHL), and traded Tyler Johnson (F) to the Sugar Land Imperials (NA3HL). Colford earned the most points last season for the Magicians while earning six goals and 11 assists this year. Dzhioshvili earned one assist in four games in the USHL after being drafted in the 2nd Round from midgets.

Rabbit Season: The Odessa Jackalopes finished last weekend in a sweep at the hands of the Lone Star Brahmas 5-0 and 5-2 from the NYTEX Sports Center in North Richland Hills, Texas. Forwards Derek Brown and Leo Lumm claimed the Jackalopes’ only goals on the weekend in Saturday’s loss. Goaltender Tanner Creel played both games during the series, saving 42 of 52 shots in back-to-back losses. The Jacks were also outshot 52-38.

South Division Standings:
1 – Topeka RoadRunners (26-7-3, 55 PTS)
2 – Wichita Falls Wildcats (24-8-0, 48 PTS)
3 – Lone Star Brahmas (23-8-2, 48 PTS)
4 – Corpus Christi IceRays (16-11-5, 37 PTS)
5 – Wenatchee Wild (13-16-6, 32 PTS)
6 – Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (12-16-5, 29 PTS)
7 – Amarillo Bulls (12-18-3, 27 PTS)
8 – Odessa Jackalopes (8-23-4, 20 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays close their only home weekend in the month against the Odessa Jackaloes on Saturday, January 9 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.