GAME PREVIEW #8 – VS. WENATCHEE WILD

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

vs.

WENATCHEE WILD

Friday, October 3 at 7:05 P.M.

NAHL Game #81 • Home Game #4 • Season Series 1-0-0
American Bank Center • Corpus Christi, Texas
Audio: SportsJuice.com • Mobile: TuneIn Radio • 
Video: FASTHockey.com
In-Arena: 107.8 FM 
• Twitter: @goicerays

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

Today’s Game: The IceRays remain home for the second-straight weekend to host the Wenatchee Wild in their second of five South Division games this season. The IceRays hold a 1-0 series record against the Wild.

Head-To-Head: This is just the third game between these two teams and their first outside the North American Hockey League Showcase. The IceRays and Wild have split their previous two meetings, 1-1, and IceRays Head Coach John Becanic is 2-0 in games featuring these two teams (won 2-0 both games).

Last Game: The IceRays were able to hold off a late surge from the Lone Star Brahmas to win, 2-1, at their 2014-15 home opener against the Lone Star Brahmas. IceRays forward Tyler Johnson scored first at 12:24 of the first period on a two-on-one rush led by Johnson and co-forward Joe Chitwood to take the lead, 1-0. In the second period, after a Johan Steen cross-checking call, IceRays forward Nathan Bryer earned his third goal of the season and first on the power play at 4:17 to double the lead, 2-0. Defenseman Trevor Heuser and forward Ryan Cusin picked up assists thanks to their smart passing. The Brahmas would answer at 13:25 of the third period when forward Roman Uchyn stuffed home a shot to cut the lead, 2-1. Andrew Lindgren started for the third-straight game and earned the win, and TJ Black earned his third-straight loss.

“Special” Special Teams: After Saturday’s game, the IceRays sit in the top-10 of the NAHL in power play and penalty kill percentage. Since being shutout on the power play twice, the IceRays have converted three of their last eight chances over their last two games. In addition, the penalty kill unit has not allowed a goal in their last four games, going a perfect 12-for-12 in that span. Since going 7-for-11 against Topeka, the IceRays are 14-for-15.

Heating Up: Forward Joe Chitwood has earned assists in each of his last two games after being shut out in his first five. He currently has the longest active point streak of any IceRays player. Forward Tanner Lomsnes has scored points in five of his first seven games, making him the only IceRays player to earn points in five different games.

Same Face, New Place: Last Saturday, the IceRays acquired forward Nathan Colwell from the Kenai River Brown Bears in exchange for forward Isaac Ceh and defenseman Jason Lem. Colwell, 18, played four games with the Brown Bears this season, recording one goal and one assist. His lone goal came against the IceRays in the Corpus Christi 5-2 win over Kenai River (9:23, 2nd) at the NAHL Showcase. Last season, Colwell played 49 games with the Brown Bears, recording nine goals and 12 assists with 40 penalty minutes.

Their Last Meeting: The IceRays shut out the Wild, 2-0, in their only meeting on Sep. 19 at the NAHL Showcase. Defenseman Anthony Cortese earned his team-leading fourth goal of the season at 18:58 of the first period with the help of defenseman Logan Gestro and forward Connor Kelly. Just 47 seconds later, forward Tanner Lomsnes earned his second of the year with defenseman Trevor Heuser and forward Nic LaBurn grabbing the assists.

Wenatchee’s Weekend: Last weekend, the Wenatchee Wild split their two-game set against the Odessa Jackalopes from the Town Toyota Center in Wenatchee, Wash. The Wild fell on Friday, 3-2, despite forward Jake Ahlgren earning the first goal just 30 seconds into the second period. Defenseman Ryan Gotelaere also scored in the third period, but the Wild couldn’t complete the comeback. Forbes Ploszaj earned the loss, stopping 16 of 19 shots. On Saturday, the Wild rebounded to earn a 4-3 victory. Down 2-0 in the second period, forward Jacob Liljeroos brought the deficit within one, and two-consecutive goals in the third by defenseman Mitch Demario and forward Jake Ahlgren gave them their first lead, 3-2. After Odessa tied the game, forward Ryan Chiasson scored the game-winner with 48 seconds remaining. Ploszaj earned the win, saving 21 of 24 shots.

Ahlgren, All Day: Forward Jake Ahlgren has been a consistent offensive presence for the Wenatchee Wild, scoring points in four of his first six games, including points in three-straight games. He’s scored goals in each of his last two games and has registered multi-game points three times: Sep. 18 vs. ODA (2+0=2); Sep. 20 vs. MIN (0+2=2); Sep. 27 vs. ODA (1+1=2).

Forbes’s List: Since coming back from the USHL, Wild netminder Forbes Ploszaj has started in four of the team’s first six games and their past two games. He’s the only goaltender on the roster that has recorded a game played.

South Division Standings:
1 – Topeka RoadRunners (6-2-0, 12 Pts)
2 – Wichita Falls Wildcats (5-2-0, 10 Pts)
3 – Odessa Jackalopes (4-4-0, 8 Pts)
4 – Corpus Christi IceRays (3-2-2, 8 Pts)
5 – Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (3-4-0, 6 Pts)
6 – Amarillo Bulls (2-2-2, 6 Pts)
7 – Wenatchee Wild (2-3-1, 5 Pts)
8 – Lone Star Brahmas (2-3-0, 5 Pts)

Next Game: The IceRays will finish up their two-game set against the Wild Saturday, October 4 at 7:05 p.m. from the American Bank Center. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. with Countdown to Faceoff on SportsJuice.com and FASTHockey.com