GAME PREVIEW – ICERAYS @ KILLER BEES (GAME #48)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

at

RIO GRANDE VALLEY KILLER BEES

Friday, February 27 at 7:30 P.M.

NAHL Game #594 • Road Game #24 • Season Series 4-4-1
State Farm Arena • Hidalgo, Texas
Radio: KSIX 1230AM/96.1FM/103.3FM • Mobile: TuneIn Radio

Video: FASTHockey.com • Twitter: @goicerays

Coverage begins at 7:15 p.m. with Countdown To Faceoff
 

Tonight’s Game: The IceRays continue their five-game set against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees with the first of two final games from State Farm Arena. Both sides have split the recent stretch 1-1.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays broke a three-game loss spell against the Killer Bees, who maintain an edge in the South Texas Vo Tech Cup, winning five of their nine meetings. They can still claim the series victory for the second-straight year with two more wins. Overall, the IceRays are 9-10-2 in two seasons against the Killer Bees.

Last Game: The IceRays earned their second shutout of the season as part of a 1-0 (3-2) shootout win over the Killer Bees on Saturday night from the American Bank Center. With a lot of open chances and no scoring through 65 minutes of game time, the IceRays headed into their seventh shootout of the season. Anthony Cortese (1st Round) opened the shootout with a goal, which was answered by Zach Bennett (1st Round). Anthony Croston (2nd Round) gave the Killer Bees a 2-1 lead through two rounds, and from there it was all Corpus Christi. Wes Michaud (3rd Round) and Ryan Cusin (4th Round) each tallied to gain a 3-2 edge, and the final three Killer Bees shooters were shut down. Andrew Lindgren stopped all 26 shots faced and three of five in the shootout, while Ben Johansson grabbed the loss, turning aside all 29 shots against with two of five in the shootout.

Ain’t No Sunshine: Saturday night was the first IceRays shutout in 42 games and the second overall this season. The only other time opponents have been held off the scoreline was on Sep. 19 against the Wenatchee Wild (2-0 W) at the NAHL Showcase. Andrew Lindgren was the winning netminder in both games, and he stopped 27 shots in that last game as well as a combined 43 shots over those two games.

Sharp Shooter: After dropping their first four shootouts, the IceRays have now won three-straight games ending in the skill competition over their preview 12 games (35 total days). That result is the first in junior franchise history in an overtime or shootout win. The last time the IceRays won three-straight shootouts was in the 2012-13 season when the squad defeated the Amarillo Bulls 4-3 (3-1) on Jan. 19, 2013, the Topeka RoadRunners 3-2 (2-0) on Feb. 1, 2013, and the Wichita Falls Wildcats 5-4 (3-1) on Mar. 9, 2013. That stretch took 49 days and were stretched over 13 games. The most consecutive shootout wins came in the inaugural 2010-11 season, during which the IceRays won their first six shootouts including three in a four-game span (Oct. 1, 2010 – Oct. 10, 2010).

Howe Historic: Defenseman Travis Howe returns to the lineup following his four-game suspension served over the last two weeks. With his return to the lineup, he has the potential to break two IceRays records. At 205 penalty minutes, he is four minutes away from breaking the single-season penalty minutes record set (208) set by Brandon Marshall in the 2010-11 season as well as ten minutes away from setting the career penalty minutes mark (216) set by Luke McDiarmid in two seasons from 2012-14. Howe has played 37 games thus far in his final season of junior eligibility and leads the NAHL in PIMs.

Rough & Tumble: With Taylor Karel’s fight on Saturday evening, the IceRays have moved atop the NAHL in 10-minute misconducts this season with 35 through 47 games. In addition, they’re the only team in the NAHL top-10 with over 40 infractions resulting in either a 10-minute misconduct, game misconduct, or match penalty (43) and one of two teams with over 30 infractions in that category (Lone Star). South Division teams rank first in just about every penalty category including majors (Odessa: 26), game misconducts (Amarillo: 16), match penalties (ODA & MIC: 2); combined misconducts (Amarillo: 52), and total infractions (Amarillo: 369). The IceRays are third in penalty minutes (1087) overall this season, and five South Division teams own the top-five spots in that category (AMA, ODA, COR, RGV, LSB).

Flashing Leather: Both the IceRays and Killer Bees found strong goaltending from one of its netminders over the weekend. IceRays goaltender Andrew Lindgren earned NAHL South Division Star of the Week for his impressive 42-for-42 showing in two games, and Killer Bees netminder Ben Johansson turned aside 58-of-59 shots in the weekend split. Both players also have strong numbers against each other’s teams. Lindgren is 4-2-1 in eight games with a 1.66 GAA and a .936 SV%. Johansson is 3-1-1 in five games with a 1.58 GAA and a .933 SV%.

Sweet Nectar: The Killer Bees return to State Farm Arena, where they’ve been stellar since the start of the 2015 calendar year. Beginning with their series against the IceRays on Jan. 1 & 2, the Killer Bees have gone 7-1-1 in nine games on home ice and have earned points in five-straight games. All nine of their games have close, finishing with a goal margin of three or less and outscoring opponents 24-14. In contrast, the Killer Bees are 3-3-2 on the road in their last eight games.

South Division Standings:
1 – Topeka RoadRunners (34-11-4, 72 PTS)
2 – Lone Star Brahmas (31-11-7, 69 PTS)
3 – Wichita Falls Wildcats (32-13-1, 65 PTS)
4 – Corpus Christi IceRays (26-16-5, 57 PTS)
5 – Wenatchee Wild (22-20-7, 51 PTS)
6 – Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (20-20-8, 48 PTS)
7 – Amarillo Bulls (19-25-4, 42 PTS)
8 – Odessa Jackalopes (9-33-6, 24 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays close out their road schedule against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees on Saturday, February 28 at 7:30 p.m. from State Farm Arena in Game 11 of the South Texas Vo-Tech Cup. Coverage begins at 7:15 p.m. on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM/96.1FM/103.3FM) and FASTHockey.com.