GAME PREVIEW #5 – VS. WENATCHEE WILD

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

vs.

WENATCHEE WILD

Friday, September 19 at 1:45 P.M.

NAHL Game #38 • Home Game #2 • Season Series 0-0-0
Schwan Super Rink #4 • Blaine, Minn.

NAHL Showcase Game #3
Video: FASTHockey.com • Twitter: @goicerays

Coverage begins at 1:30 p.m. with Countdown to Faceoff

Today’s Game: The IceRays help to close out day two of the North American Hockey League Showcase as they take on the Wenatchee Wild at Schwan Super Rink #4 in Blaine, Minn. This is the first time these two teams will play a divisional game and the second time they’ll play each other in franchise history.

Last Night: The IceRays were shutout for the first time this season, 1-0, against the Minnesota Wilderness. The only blemish on the scoreline came at 7:32 of the first period when Dan Litchke, Tyler Cline and Jake Forbort worked a tic-tac-toe play through the IceRays defense. Litchke was the benefactor for his first goal of the season. The IceRays outshot the Wilderness 20-14, which is the lowest number of shots this season combined and made by the IceRays. Both teams incurred five penalties for ten minutes and went 0-for-3 on the power play.

Back To The Drawing Board: IceRays defender Anthony Cortese ends his run of three-straight games with at least one point scored, which is the longest of any player thus far in the 2014-15 season. In that span, he recorded three goals and two assists for five points with a +1 and stayed out of the penalty box.

Back To The Pound: This is the first time that IceRays Head Coach John Becanic will be coaching against his former team. Becanic coached the Wild for a season and a half from Christmas 2010 through the end of the 2011-12 season, earning a 36-17-7 record in his only full year and a berth in the Division Finals.

Making History: With the hat-trick on Wednesday, Anthony Cortese becomes the first IceRays defender in the organization’s 17-year history that a blue liner has recorded a hat-trick in a game. That includes the team’s stint in the Central Hockey League and the first four seasons in the North American Hockey League. Cortese joined the team from the QMJHL a week ago today.

Showcase Past: The IceRays have played 18 games at the NAHL Showcase, going 9-7-2 over their last five years. In 2013-14, the IceRays went 1-2-1 under John Becanic, winning their first game 5-4 against Minot. They would lose to Coulee Region (3-2), MN Wilderness (2-0), and Port Huron (4-3 SOL). The team is now 2-3-1 under Becanic.

2013-14 Wild: Last season, Wenatchee finished the season 29-23-8, earning 66 points for third place in the Midwest Division. In the Division Semi-Finals, the Wild took the Minnesota Wilderness to the final game, winning the game, 1-0, and the series, 3-2. However, their luck ran out in the Division Final, falling 3-1 to the future Robertson Cup Champions, Fairbanks Ice Dogs. Forward Troy Loggins led the way in scoring, earning 53 points in all 60 games while leading the team in assists (30). Parker Tuomie edged Loggins by a goal to lead the team in that category (24).

Their Last Meeting: The IceRays and Wild met for the first time in the 2011-12 season at the NAHL Showcase, when current IceRays Head Coach John Becanic coached the Wild at a 2-0 victory on Friday, September 16 from Schwan Super Rink #1. Wenatchee forawrd Matt Cope scored the game’s first goal just 47 seconds into the first period, proving to be the game-winner. Jerad Tafoya added an ensurance goal in the third period at 11:16 on the power play to put the game out of reach. The IceRays outshot the Wild 32-17 and went 0-for-8 on the power play. Both teams combined for 46 penalty minutes on 19 infractions, one of them a game misconduct (Wenatchee’s Nick Kurr for checking from behind).

Last Time Out: The Wild earned their first win of the season last night against the Odessa Jackalopes, defeating the South Division opponent, 5-2. Odessa struck first at 7:07 of the first period, but Wenatchee would score two more in the period to take the lead. Jake Ahlgren made it 1-1 at 10:50 on the power play, and Jacob Liljeroos also tallied a power play goal, this one coming at 13:59 to give his side the 2-1 lead. In the second period, David Powlowski helped the Wild jump out to a 3-1 lead at 15:19 with an unassisted goal. After Odessa answered to make it 3-2, the Wild scored two goals in the third period: Ahlgren and Liljeroos recorded their second of the game at 6:20 and 20:00, respectively. Former IceRays netminder Forbes Ploszaj earned the win, stopping 21 of 23 shots.

Small Pack: Only five players return to the Wenatchee lineup for the 2014-15 season. Forward David Powlowski leads all returning skaters in goals (14) and points (24), while forward Mike Coyne leads the way in assists (18). Also included in the returners are forward Jake Ahlgren (7+10=17), forward Andre Pison (3+8=11), and defender Ryan Gotelaere (1+3=4).

South Division Standings:
1 – Topeka RoadRunners (4-0-0, 8 Pts)
2 – ICERAYS (1-2-1, 3 Pts)
3 – Amarillo Bulls (1-1-0, 2 Pts)
4 – Lone Star Brahmas (1-1-0, 2 Pts)
5 – WENATCHEE WILD (1-1-0, 2 Pts)
6 – Wichita Falls Wildcats (1-2-0, 2 Pts)
7 – Odessa Jackalopes (1-2-0, 2 Pts)
8 – Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (0-2-0, 0 Pts)

Next Game: The IceRays close out the 2014 NAHL Showcase on Saturday, September 20 against the Keystone Ice Miners. Coverage begins at 9:15 a.m. on FASTHockey.com with the opening faceoff at 9:30 a.m.