GAME PREVIEW – ICERAYS VS. BRAHMAS (GAME #42)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

vs.

LONE STAR BRAHMAS

Friday, February 6 at 7:05 P.M.

NAHL Game #515 • Home Game #21 • Season Series 1-1-1
American Bank Center • Corpus Christi, Texas
Radio: SportsJuice.com • Mobile: TuneIn Radio 
• In-Arena: 87.7 FM
Video: FASTHockey.com • Twitter: @goicerays

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

Tonight’s Game: The Corpus Christi IceRays return home for the first time since Jan. 10 to begin a two-game set against the Lone Star Brahmas at the American Bank Center. Tonight is the first ever Hockey & Heels Night, presented by Mattress Firm, Prime Real Estate, and The Results Companies.

Head-To-Head: This season, the IceRays are 1-1-1 against the Brahmas following a sweep in their last appearance against each other on Oct. 10 & 11. In their histories, the IceRays own a 15-27-5 record against the Brahmas/Texas Tornado and 6-3-2 against the Brahmas current name and ownership.

Last Meeting: The Brahmas pushed ahead with a 5-2 win over the IceRays to complete the weekend sweep. After trailing 3-0 in the first period on goals by Sebastian Vidmar (1:50 1st; 17:02 1st) and Johan Steen (15:41 1st), the IceRays came back with goals by Connor Bucsis (18:46 1st) and Ryan Cusin (10:19 2nd) to draw within one, 3-2. Two more Brahmas goals in the third period by Ludvig Larsson (3:43 3rd) and Liam Stirtzinger (EN, 19:56 2nd) put the game away, 5-2. Jake Kupsky picked up the win, saving 21 of 23 shots, while Andrew Lindgren was awarded the loss, stopping 26 of 30 shots.

Last Game: The IceRays completed the three-game sweep of the Odessa Jackalopes with a 6-4 win on Saturday night 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.

Blue Line Special: Defenseman Anthony Cortese gained special recognition this week by being named NAHL Defenseman of the Month. He finished January on a nine-game point streak and has recorded points in nine of the team’s 11 games this month. He led all IceRays skaters with three goals and 12 assists for 15 points last month. During that span, he’s set the team mark in consecutive games with assists (9) and points (9), shares the team lead in assists and leads in power play points (7), and recorded both a game-winning goal (Jan. 31 @ ODA) and a shorthanded assist (Jan. 9 vs. ODA). He leads all NAHL defensemen in goals and points, and he ranks third in assists.

A Fresh Start: The IceRays closed the month of January on a high note, earning a 7-3-1 record in 11 games played, including a 5-3-1 road record. The 15 points earned is the most in a month this season, and the team’s point percentage (.682) is the second-best this season for a single month behind November (5-2-0, .714). The month saw some historic moments: the first road win of the season as well as the team’s first shootout win under Head Coach John Becanic on Jan. 17 in Wenatchee (5-4 SOW), the first hat trick on the road in junior franchise history on Jan. 30 by Maksim Dzhioshvili (7-3 W @ ODA), and the first road sweep of the year. In all, the IceRays finish on a four-game winning streak and have won five of their last six games.

High-Powered: For just the second time this season, the IceRays recorded 30 shots or more in three-consecutive games. The only other time this occurred was Dec. 11 through Dec. 27 against Amarillo and Rio Grande Valley, and in all three games the IceRays beat their opponents. In addition, since claiming their first road win on Jan. 17, the IceRays have outscored their opponents 29-21 and are averaging 4.83 goals per game.

Western Gun Show: On Wednesday, the Lone Star Brahmas and Wichita Falls Wildcats finished their three-game round with a shootout in Wichita Falls, and the Brahmas fell 4-3. The Brahmas tied the game, 2-2, in the first period on goals by Alexey Solovyev and Storm Wahlrab, and after AJ Vanderbeck tied the game in the third period, the Wildcats just edged the road side in the shootout, 2-1. Jake Kupsky earned the loss, stopping 30 of 33 shots.

Breaking Brahma: Against one of the division’s top teams, the Brahmas fell in two of three games of the Wildcats and dropped only their second regulation home game. In their last seven games, the Brahmas maintained a positive record, going 3-2-2 since Jan. 10 with only three games on the road (1-1-1 record). They are averaging 3.29 goals per game while allowing 2.71 goals. No team was shut out in the process, and the Brahmas never scored less than two goals per game.

South Division Standings:
1 – Topeka RoadRunners (30-9-3, 63 PTS)
2 – Wichita Falls Wildcats (29-12-0, 58 PTS)
2 – Lone Star Brahmas (27-10-4, 58 PTS)
4 – Corpus Christi IceRays (23-13-5, 51 PTS)

5 – Wenatchee Wild (19-18-7, 45 PTS)
6 – Amarillo Bulls (17-22-4, 38 PTS)
6 – Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (16-20-6, 38 PTS)
8 – Odessa Jackalopes (9-29-6, 24 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays finish out their weekend on Saturday, February 7 at 7:05 p.m. against the Lone Star Brahmas on Stars & Stripes Night. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsJuice.com, FASTHockey.com, and 87.7 FM in-arena.