GAME PREVIEW #35 – AT WENATCHEE WILD

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

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WENATCHEE WILD

Friday, January 16 at 9:05 P.M.

NAHL Game #443 • Road Game #15 • Season Series 3-0-0
Town Toyota Center • Wenatchee, Wash.
Radio: SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX) • Mobile: TuneIn Radio

Video: FASTHockey.com • Twitter: @goicerays

Coverage begins at 8:50 p.m. with Countdown To Faceoff
 

Tonight’s Game: The Corpus Christi IceRays make their sole trip to the Evergreen State beginning with tonight’s game against the Wenatchee Wild from Town Toyota Center. The Wild are celebrating “Guns & Hoses” weekend, wearing special jerseys to benefit and honor fallen firefighters and police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays have already claimed the season series against the Wild, going 3-0-0 in all three “home” games this season. Their win on Sep. 19 (2-0 W) at the NAHL Showcase is the only shutout for the IceRays this season. All-time, the IceRays are 3-1-0 against the Wild with Head Coach John Becanic undefeated in matchups between the two sides (three for COR; one for WEN).

Last Night: The IceRays came from behind to win 4-3 in overtime against the Odessa Jackalopes on Saturday night at the American Bank Center. After trailing early, forward Wes Michaud (13:57 1st) tied the game 1-1 with a shot from the slot. The IceRays took the lead, 2-1, with the first NAHL goal by Maksim Dzhioshvili (2:41 2nd). Odessa would score two more goals to close out the second period and take a 3-2 lead. Another newcomer earned his first IceRays goal, forward Matt Colford (11:30 3rd), to tie the game 3-3 and head to overtime. Forward Nathan Bryer (2:46 OT) took a one-time shot to help claim the 4-3 win and sweep the weekend. Luke Pickar earned the win, turning away 21 of 24 shots, and Tanner Creel grabbed the loss while stopping 28 of 32 shots.

Home, Sweet Home: The IceRays own the longest active home winning streak in the NAHL with eleven-straight wins thanks to home losses from Lone Star and Wichita Falls last weekend. The IceRays have gone 18-2-0 (.900) in home games this season and 16-2-0 at the American Bank Center, trailing only the Brahmas (.929) in that category. Topeka (.886) and Wichita Falls (.842) rank third and fourth, respectively. However, the IceRays remain winless on the road at 0-9-5, the worst road start in franchise history following a sweep by the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees on Jan. 1 & 2. Their last road win came Mar. 22, 2014 against the Killer Bees (2-1 W).

Free Hockey: The IceRays have now played in at least overtime in four of their last six games, earning a 4-1-1 record in that span and going 3-0-1 in games that go beyond regulation time. In addition, Saturday’s win marks the fifth win during an overtime period, going 5-1 this season while the team has yet to record a shootout win: 0-4 this season and 0-14 under Head Coach John Becanic.

Playing Nice: In addition to tying their season-high in shots on Saturday, the IceRays also earned new season-lows in penalty minutes (two) and combined penalty minutes (six). The previous mark in IceRays penalty minutes (four) was set on Jan. 1 in Rio Grande Valley (3-1 L), and the old mark in combined minutes (ten) was set on Sep. 17 against Kenai River (5-2 W) and on Dec. 11 vs. Amarillo (8-4 W).

Power Outage: The IceRays have struggled on the power play in their recent stretch, going 0-for-10 last weekend. The IceRays have been shut out in four-straight games and have gone 1-for-25 (4.00%) over their last seven games. Since Nic LaBurn’s power play goal on Dec. 27, the IceRays have gone scoreless in their last 18 chances. The penalty kill has also had a few setbacks, though the IceRays broke their five-game streak in allowing at least one power play goal. The IceRays are 13-for-20 (65.00%) since their last perfect performance on Dec. 11.

Rise of the Pheonix: Former IceRays goaltender Pheonix Copley (‘10-’11) was recalled by the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League (NHL), making him the first junior alum to reach the NHL in franchise history. Copley, 22, joins Ryan Garbutt of the Dallas Stars as the only two players in franchise history to earn a seat at the game’s highest level. The netminder has played 11 games with the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League, recording a 6-3-1 record with a 2.00 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage with two shutouts.

Brahma Burst: The Wenatchee Wild split their weekend series against the Lone Star Brahmas, losing 6-5 on Friday and winning 3-2 in overtime on Saturday. The Wild had a 3-0 lead on Friday before allowing five goals in the second period but came back in Saturday’s game after trailing 2-0 going into the third period. Forward Dakota Raabe led the Wild on the weekend with four points (3 goals, assist) with defenseman Tyler Rockwell following right behind with three points (goal, 2 assists). Goaltender Zach Quinn picked up both decisions last weekend, saving 9 of 12 in relief on Friday and stopping 19 of 21 shots on Saturday.

South Division Standings:
1 – Topeka RoadRunners (27-8-3, 57 PTS)
2 – Lone Star Brahmas (24-8-3, 51 PTS)
3 – Wichita Falls Wildcats (25-9-0, 50 PTS)
4 – Corpus Christi IceRays (18-11-5, 41 PTS)
5 – Wenatchee Wild (14-17-6, 34 PTS)
6 – Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (13-17-5, 31 PTS)
7 – Amarillo Bulls (13-19-3, 29 PTS)
8 – Odessa Jackalopes (8-24-5, 21 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays close out their season series against the Wenatchee Wild on Saturday, January 16 at 9:05 p.m. CST from Town Toyota Center. Coverage begins at 8:50 p.m. CST on KSIX 1230AM/96.1FM/103.3FM and FASTHockey.com.