GAME PREVIEW – ICERAYS @ JACKALOPES (GAME # 56)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

at

ODESSA JACKALOPES

Thursday, March 19 at 7:05 P.M.

NAHL Game #668 • Road Game #28 • Season Series 9-0-0
Ector County Coliseum • Odessa, Texas
Radio: SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM) • Mobile: TuneIn Radio

Video: FASTHockey.com • Twitter: @goicerays

Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. with Countdown To Faceoff
 

Tonight’s Game: The IceRays embark on their final road trip of the 2014-15 regular season and being a three-game set against the Odessa Jackalopes from the Ector County Coliseum.

Head-To-Head: The Jackalopes are the only team the IceRays have yet to lose to in the South Division, going 9-0-0 including a three-game sweep of the Jackalopes to end the month of January. The last loss against Odessa came on Jan. 17, 2014 (5-2 L) at the American Bank Center. The IceRays are 27-13-2 all-time against Odessa.

Last Meeting: The IceRays completed the three-game sweep of the Jackalopes with a 6-4 win on Jan. 31 from the Ector County Coliseum. The Jackalopes jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first period, but answers from forward Ryan Cusin and defenseman Anthony Cortese gave the IceRays a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission. Both teams traded goals in the second period with forwards Connor Kelly and Mason Krueger edging the IceRays ahead each time, giving the road side a 4-3 lead after two periods. Scoring in the final period wasn’t until late, but Cortese put the IceRays up by two goals, 5-3. With the goalie pulled, the Jackalopes scored late in the game but couldn’t stop forward Wes Michaud from sealing the win, 6-4. Andrew Lindgren earned his second-straight win, stopping 24 of 28 shots, and Robin Johansson gained the loss, turning away 31 of 36 shots.

Last Game: The IceRays could not come back from a late deficit and fell 3-2 to the Wichita Falls Wildcats on Saturday night from the American Bank Center. The Wildcats jumped ahead late in the opening period on the power play thanks to forward Colin Staub (PP, 16:18 1st). IceRays forward Joe Chitwood (16:45 1st) helped the IceRays tied the game, 1-1, less than a minute later. Staub (0:47 2nd) notched the only tally of the second period, and he was helped by forward Kevin Charyszyn (4:32 3rd) to double the lead, 3-1. Forward Nathan Bryer (10:03 3rd) drew the IceRays within one, 3-2, but didn’t have enough to force a point. Austin Shaw netted the win, stopping 19 of 21 shots. Andrew Lindgren picked up the loss, saving 33 of 36 shots.

#Playoffs: For the second time in franchise history, the IceRays have clinched a spot in the Robertson Cup Playoffs with five games remaining in the regular season. They are the fourth team to clinch from the South Division and the 13th out of 18 available spots around the NAHL. The IceRays can also clinch home-ice advantage in the South Division Quarterfinals this weekend with a few different scenarios. With two points either won or lost, the IceRays can clinch home ice with one win, an overtime loss with a Wenatchee loss of any kind, or a Wenatchee regulation loss.

On The Cusp: Forward Wes Michaud remains a few points away from owning multiple team scoring records. He is tied with Rudy Sulmonte for the single-season franchise lead in goals (27) and one behind in assists (41) and points (68). Sulmonte set those three marks during the 2012-13 season. In addition, he is tied with Beau Walker for second in career goals (40) and remains five goals back of Eric Purcell’s career goals mark set between 2011 and 2014 (45).

Cracker Jack: Five IceRays players have earned at least ten points against the Jackalopes thus far in the 2014-15 season series. Forwards Wes Michaud (six goals, eight assists) and Tanner Lomsnes (four goals, 10 assists) as well as defenseman Anthony Cortese (two goals, 12 assists) share the scoring lead with 14 points, but Michaud edges the trio in goals while Cortese leads the team in assists. Forward Ryan Cusin (six goals, seven assists) shares the team goals lead with Michaud against the Jackalopes, and forward Nathan Bryer (four goals, seven assists) rounds out the high five.

Jacked Up: The Odessa Jackalopes split with the Topeka RoadRunners last weekend at home, falling 9-2 on Friday and winning 4-2 on Saturday. Forward Derek Brown was the lone Jackalopes skater to notch goals in each game against the RoadRunners, scoring one in each contest. In total, six skaters recorded two-point weekends, including Brown, Razmuz Waxin-Engback (goal, assist), Kenny Hausinger (goal, assist), and Zack Zach (goal, assist). Goaltender Tanner Creel was the consistent force in net for Odessa, stopping 44 of 46 shots faced over two games while being the goalie of record on Saturday. Robin Johansson played 46:29 minutes and allowed nine goals on 29 shots against.

Wild Cards: After losing 11-straight games, the Jackalopes have now won three of their last four games against teams in playoff position, and a large part of that success comes from production at the top of the lineup. Eric Carreras (1+5=6) has earned six of his eight points with Odessa over the last four games while Hampus Sjodahl (4+1=5) leads in goals over that span including two multi-goal games. Kenny Hausinger (3+2=5) and Razmuz Waxin-Engback (2+3=5) also cashed in with over one point per game.

South Division Standings:
1 – Lone Star Brahmas (37-11-8, 82 PTS)
2 – Topeka RoadRunners (36-13-6, 78 PTS)
3 – Wichita Falls Wildcats (37-14-3, 77 PTS)
4 – Corpus Christi IceRays (29-21-5, 63 PTS)
5 – Wenatchee Wild (24-24-7, 55 PTS)
6 – Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (22-23-10, 54 PTS)
7 – Amarillo Bulls (24-27-4, 52 PTS)
8 – Odessa Jackalopes (12-35-7, 31 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays play their mid-series game against the Odessa Jackalopes on Friday, March 20 at 7:05 p.m. from the Ector County Coliseum. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM) and FASTHockey.com