GAME PREVIEW #34 – VS. ODESSA JACKALOPES

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

vs.

ODESSA JACKALOPES

Saturday, January 10 at 7:05 P.M.

NAHL Game #426 • Home Game #20 • Season Series 5-0-0
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 host their final home game of the month tonight as they take on the Odessa Jackalopes from the American Bank Center. Tonight is Oil Industry Night presented by Baker Hughes, Corpus Christi Freightliner, Laguna Wealth Services, and AutoNation Ford.

Head-To-Head: With their win last night, the IceRays have now won all five meetings against the Jackalopes with only one coming in overtime (Nov. 22, 4-3 OTW) while outscoring Odessa 23-10. Over their histories, the IceRays are 23-13-2 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 Night: The IceRays pushed ahead in the third period to claim a 4-2 win over the Jackalopes. Connor Kelly (10:44 2nd) recorded the team’s second shorthanded goal of the season to take the lead. After Odessa tied in the second period, Ryan Cusin (6:47 3rd), Tanner Lomsnes (7:29 3rd), and Griff Jeszka (12:21 3rd) all tallied in the final period to help claim the win. Odessa’s Corey Hoffman (11:28 2nd) and Derek Brown (8:57 3rd) knotted the goals for the Jackalopes. Andrew Lindgren earned the win, stopping 30 of 32 shots, while Tanner Creel took the loss while turning aside 36 of 40 shots.

Home, Sweet Home: The IceRays own the third-longest active home winning streak in the NAHL with ten-straight wins. They only trail Lone Star (18) and Wichita Falls (11) in that category. The IceRays have gone 17-2-0 (.894) in home games this season and 15-2-0 at the American Bank Center, trailing only the Brahmas (.950) in that category. Wichita Falls (.889) and Topeka (.886) rank third and fourth, respectively.

Griffball: Forward Griff Jeszka has scored goals in consecutive games for the first time this season and fourth over his NAHL career. The center has two sets of consecutive games with points this year, the only other coming Oct. 24 & 25 against the Janesville Jets (two assists). Jeszka now owns three goals and one assist since joining the IceRays on Oct. 27.

The Short End: Last night’s shorthanded goal by Connor Kelly in the second period was the second of the season for the IceRays with the only other coming off the stick of Tanner Lomsnes on Dec. 11 against the Amarillo Bulls (8-4 W) as an empty net goal late in the game. Five other teams own a pair of shorthanded goals in the NAHL this season including Amarillo, Rio Grande Valley, and Wenatchee. Odessa has one more shorthanded goal this season (3).

Power Outage: The IceRays continue to struggle on the power play following a 0-for-10 effort in last night’s game. The IceRays have been shutout in three-straight games and have gone 1-for-25 (4.00%) over their last six games. Since Nic LaBurn’s power play goal on Dec. 27, the IceRays have gone scoreless in their last 18 chances. The penalty kill also continues to struggle in their recent stretch, allowing a power play goal in five-straight games as well as in seven of their last eight games. Since their last perfect game in penalty kill chances on Dec. 11, the IceRays are  12-for-18 (.667).

Relief in Sight: The IceRays ended their streak of 20 consecutive games without a full lineup. Since the last time on Oct. 11 against  Lone Star, the IceRays 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 went 10-8-2.

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.

Skid Row: Since the last time the IceRays and Jackalopes met on Nov. 22 (including last night’s game), Odessa has accrued a 2-11-0 record with eight of their last 13 games coming from the Ector County Coliseum. Over that span, the Jackalopes have been outscored 54-32 while earning a 0-5-0 road record. Goaltender Tanner Creel has played in their last seven games, keeping the goal differential to within two in four of those seven starts since arriving from Division I Army prior to their Dec. 19 meeting with Rio Grande Valley (3-2 L). His only wins have come Dec. 20 vs. RGV (4-3 W) and Dec. 27 vs. LSB (4-2 W).

South Division Standings:
1 – Topeka RoadRunners (26-8-3, 55 PTS)
2 – Wichita Falls Wildcats (25-8-0, 50 PTS)
3 – Lone Star Brahmas (24-8-2, 50 PTS)
4 – Corpus Christi IceRays (17-11-5, 39 PTS)
5 – Wenatchee Wild (13-17-6, 32 PTS)
6 – Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (13-16-5, 31 PTS)
7 – Amarillo Bulls (12-19-3, 27 PTS)
8 – Odessa Jackalopes (8-24-4, 20 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays emark on a seven-game road trip beginning on Friday, January 16 at 9:05 p.m. CST in the first of a two-game set against the Wenatchee Wild from Town Toyota Center. Coverage begins at 8:50 p.m. CST on KSIX 1230AM/96.1FM/103.3FM and FASTHockey.com.