GAME PREVIEW – ICERAYS @ JACKALOPES (GAME #57)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

at

ODESSA JACKALOPES

Friday, March 20 at 7:05 P.M.

NAHL Game #675 • Road Game #29 • Season Series 9-1-0
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 head into the mid-way game of this three-game set against the Odessa Jackalopes with a chance to hold off dropping the weekend set from the Ector County Coliseum.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays suffered their first loss to the Jackalopes of the 2014-15 season, moving to 9-1-0 in the season series. Before last night, the last loss against Odessa came on Jan. 17, 2014 (5-2 L) at the American Bank Center. The IceRays are 27-14-2 all-time against Odessa.

Last Game: The IceRays maintained a close game heading into the final period but fell 3-1 to the Jackalopes on Thursday night from the Ector County Coliseum. Jacks forward Corey Hoffman notched the first goal late in the second period to give Odessa a 1-0 lead heading into the third period. Both sides scored within the first minute of the third period with IceRays forward Wes Michaud tying the game, 1-1, at 0:29 and Hoffman grabbing his second at 0:57 to retake the lead, 2-1. Jackalopes forward Razmuz Waxin-Engback doubled the lead, 3-1, midway through the third period to push Odessa ahead. Tanner Creel saved 38 of 29 shots in the win, and Andrew Lindgren stopped 40 of 43 shots in the loss.

#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.

Breaking Through: With a goal last night, forward Wes Michaud now sits atop the IceRays all-time single-season record for goals in a season (28), breaking Rudy Sulmonte’s mark set in the 2012-13 season. That point also moves him into a share of first in single-season points (68) with Sulmonte. Michaud is also second in single-season assists (40), career assists (49), career goals (41), and career points (90). He trails Eric Purcell in career goals by four with four games remaining in the season.

On Fire: Wes Michaud has been on fire in the fourth quarter of the season, leading the IceRays with ten goals and five assists for 15 points over his last 11 games. No other player on the roster has more than nine points in that span with the closest being Tanner Lomsnes (3+6=9). He has single-handedly scored over one-fifth of the IceRays points in the final quarter (15 of 74, 20.27%).

Work Horse: Goaltender Andrew Lindgren has appeared in each of the last 13 games the IceRays have played, starting in 11 of 13 games (84.62%). He owns a 5-7-0 record with a 3.26 goals-against average and a .885 save percentage. While he earned NAHL South Division Star of the Week for his shutout weekend against Rio Grande Valley in mid-February, he allowed three goals or more in 10 of 13 games (76.92%). Outside of two shutout games, the only other game with two goals or less allowed came on Mar. 7 against the Lone Star Brahmas (21-22 SV, 3-2 L).

Powered Down: For the third time in junior franchise history, the IceRays were held without a chance on the power play by an opponent. All three occurrences have come in the past two seasons with the most recent on Nov. 22, 2013 against the Lone Star Brahmas (3-1 W). The only other time the IceRays didn’t have a power play was on Oct. 5, 2013 in Alaska against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs (4-1 L). On the other hand, the IceRays have kept opponents from a power play three times in program history: Mar. 3, 2012 in Odessa (2-1 SOL); Feb. 17, 2012 against New Mexico (3-2 SOL); Nov. 12, 2011 in Wichita Falls (2-0 L).

Wild Cards: After losing 11-straight games, the Jackalopes have now won four of their last five games against teams in playoff position, and a large part of that success comes from production at the top of the lineup. Razmuz Waxin-Engback (3+5=7) leads all skaters in points over their recent turnaround, Eric Carreras (1+5=6) has earned six of his eight points with Odessa over the last five games, and Hampus Sjodahl (4+1=5) leads in goals over that span including two multi-goal games. Kenny Hausinger (3+2=5) also cashed in with over one point per game.

Are You Fo’ Creel: Over their recent stretch, the Jackalopes have had a large help from netminder Tanner Creel to earn them wins. Since allowing seven goals to Wichita Falls on March 3, Creel has won all four possible decisions while recording a 2.32 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage. Though his season numbers may not reflect it, the 20-year-old can be truly dangerous with the right tools in front of him. Creel owns a 1-2-2 record against the IceRays in five games played and is the only Odessa goaltender to own a goals-against average under 4.00 against Corpus Christi this season (3.75).

South Division Standings:
1 – Lone Star Brahmas (37-11-8, 82 PTS)
2 – Wichita Falls Wildcats (38-14-4, 80 PTS)
3 – Topeka RoadRunners (36-13-6, 78 PTS)
4 – Corpus Christi IceRays (29-22-5, 63 PTS)
5 – Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (23-24-10, 56 PTS)
6 – Wenatchee Wild (24-24-7, 55 PTS)
7 – Amarillo Bulls (24-27-4, 52 PTS)
8 – Odessa Jackalopes (13-35-7, 33 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays play their final road game of the 2014-15 regular season on Saturday, March 21 at 7:05 p.m. against the Odessa Jackalopes from the Ector County Coliseum. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM) and FASTHockey.com