GAME PREVIEW – ICERAYS @ KILLER BEES (GAME #50)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

vs.

RIO GRANDE VALLEY KILLER BEES

Tuesday, March 3 at 7:05 P.M.

NAHL Game #610 • Home Game #25 • Season Series 5-5-1
American Bank Center • Corpus Christi, Texas
Radio: SportsJuice.com • Mobile: TuneIn Radio 
• In-Arena: 87.7FM
Video: FASTHockey.com • Twitter: @goicerays

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

Tonight’s Game: The IceRays close out their season series and the second edition of the South Texas Vo-Tech Cup against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees from the American Bank Center.

Head-To-Head: The Killer Bees have claimed the STVT Cup for the second-straight season with a 6-3-2 record on points heading into their final game tonight and can win the title outright with a win. The IceRays are now 10-11-2 against the Killer Bees in two seasons and have a chance to split the series in terms of wins and losses.

Last Game: The IceRays scored five-unanswered in the second half of the game to top the Killer Bees on Saturday night from State Farm Arena. The IceRays jumped first with forward Tanner Lomsnes (8:48 1st) giving his side a 1-0 lead before Killer Bees defenseman Zach Bennett (15:08 1st) answered back. Two more goals scratched across for the Killer Bees from forward Parker Wood (PP, 4:49 2nd) and defenseman Gavin Cummings (PP, 13:16 2nd) before the IceRays answered back. Forward Wes Michaud (17:04 2nd) kicked the scoring off, followed by consecutive goals by Lomsnes (17:39 2nd; PP, 18:14 2nd) to finish the hat-trick and take a 4-3 lead. Defenseman Travis Howe (3:05 3rd) and Michaud (7:49 3rd) cashed in later to make the score final, 6-3. Andrew Lindgren earned the win, turning away 15 of 18 shots, and Killer Bees goaltender Nick Schmit picked up the loss, stopping 13 of 19 shots.

A New Page: The IceRays finished the month of February with a 4-4-0 record through eight games. The eight points earned ties with September (3-3-2) and December (4-2-0) as the lowest three months in terms of point production. During the month, the IceRays split all weekend sets, going 2-2-0 on both Fridays and Saturdays. They also earned two shootout wins to extend their streak to three-straight as well as their second shutout of the season on Feb. 21 against the Killer Bees (1-0 SOW). Plus, Tanner Lomsnes earned the third shutout of the season as well as the second in as many months. Unfortunately, the IceRays maintained their position in the South Division at fourth.

Howe Historic: Travis Howe saw two feats completed last weekend against the Killer Bees. With four penalty minutes, Howe set a new record for single-season penalty minutes (209), breaking Brandon Marshall’s mark of 208 penalty minutes set during the 2010-11 season. He is seven penalty minutes away from breaking the all-time penalty minutes mark (216) set by Luke McDiarmid over portions of two seasons between 2012 and 2014. In addition, he broke the second-longest scoring drought by an IceRays player this season, scoring his first goal since Sep. 12 against Topeka. The goal is his first in 37 games and first playing as a forward. His only other goal came as the team’s first goal of the season.

The Double Deuce: Tanner Lomsnes had a very strong week representing the IceRays. In Wednesday’s 5-1 loss at the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, he became the ninth player in franchise history to earn a point at the tournament as well as the eighth player to claim an assist. In addition, he was named NAHL South Division Star of the Week for his seven-point weekend against the Killer Bees. Lomsnes earned the third hat-trick for the IceRays this season and was the first player since Jake Durflinger on Feb. 7, 2014 to earn a three-goal, two-assist night for the IceRays. He became the second player this season to break the 50-point threshold with his productive weekend.

Becanic’s Boys: At 27 wins this season, the IceRays are now one win away from tying the junior franchise record for wins in a season set in 2012-13 when coach Justin Quenneville’s squad earned 28 wins en route to the franchise’s first junior playoff berth. This season, head coach John Becanic’s squad is not only on pace to break that record but also currently leads in single-season win percentage (.602) over that 2012-13 team (.517). Becanic now has 45 wins as the IceRays head coach and 340 in his head coaching career.

End Of The Road: With their loss on Saturday, the Killer Bees earned their lone regulation loss in the month of February as well as ended an eight-game point streak through the month. The last time the Killer Bees lost in regulation came on Jan. 31 against the Amarillo Bulls (4-2 L) on the road. During their stretch, the Killer Bees earned a 5-0-3 record for 13 points and lengthened their lead for the final playoff spot while taking down top-four teams four times in six chances.

Holy Schmit: Killer Bees goaltender Nick Schmit started in net for just the second time in five games and the third time in nine games. Schmit and co-netminder Ben Johansson have seen equal playing time over the course of the season, but the luck for Schmit hasn’t been the same. His recent spell on the bench comes after playing 12 of 13 games for the Killer Bees stretched from Dec. 27 through Feb. 5, during which the Killer Bees went 6-5-2 overall.

South Division Standings:
1 – Topeka RoadRunners (35-11-5, 75 PTS)
2 – Lone Star Brahmas (33-11-7, 73 PTS)
3 – Wichita Falls Wildcats (33-13-2, 68 PTS)
4 – Corpus Christi IceRays (27-17-5, 59 PTS)
5 – Wenatchee Wild (23-21-7, 53 PTS)
6 – Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (21-21-8, 50 PTS)
7 – Amarillo Bulls (20-26-4, 44 PTS)
8 – Odessa Jackalopes (9-34-7, 25 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays treck back to North Richland Hills on Friday, March 6 at 7:30 p.m. to begin a two-game set against the Lone Star Brahmas at NYTEX Sports Center. Coverage begins at 7:15 p.m. on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM) and FASTHockey.com.