GAME PREVIEW – ICERAYS VS. BULLS (GAME #60)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

vs.

AMARILLO BULLS

Saturday, March 28 at 8:05 P.M.

NAHL Game #711 • Home Game #30 • Season Series 3-3-1
American Bank Center • Corpus Christi, Texas
Radio: SportsJuice.com • Mobile: TuneIn Radio 
• In-Arena: 87.7FM
Video: FASTHockey.com • Twitter: @goicerays

Coverage begins at 7:50 p.m. with Countdown To Faceoff
 

Tonight’s Game: The IceRays close out the 2014-15 regular season against the Amarillo Bulls from the American Bank Center on Pack The House For Charity, presented by Kiewit and the Port of Corpus Christi.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays have fallen behind in the season series 3-3-1 but can split their record against the Bulls with a regulation win. The IceRays are 14-35-2 against Amarillo in their franchise history and are 2-1-0 from the American Bank Center this season.

Last Night: The IceRays were out matched by the shorthanded Amarillo Bulls, falling 5-1 on Friday night from the American Bank Center. After Riley Christensen’s opening goal in the first period for the Bulls, Cody Gylling added two tallies to triple the lead, 3-0, after two periods. Will Harrison placed his first of the night before the IceRays finally answered on a one-time shot from Connor Kelly off a face-off win by Mason Krueger. Harrison placed his second goal just 24 seconds later and seal the 5-1 win. Anton Martinsson saved 27-of-28 in the win, and Andrew Lindgren stopped 29-of-34 in the loss.

No-Ice Advantage: The IceRays have seen a large drop off in terms of production on home ice in all facets since the start of the second half of the season. Since Jan. 1, the IceRays are 6-5-0 at the American Bank Center but have been outscored 38-31 and dropped three of their last five games. The last time the IceRays won in regulation at home came on Jan. 9 against Odessa (4-2 W). That has happened just once in their last 13 games at home stretching back since Dec. 11 (8-4 W vs. AMA).

Swiss Cheese: IceRays netminders have struggled since the 1-0 shootout win over Rio Grande Valley on Feb. 21 at home. In that span of 12 games since, both Andrew Lindgren and Luke Pickar have allowed three goals or more in every game including seven goals-against on Mar. 3 against Rio Grande Valley and five goals-against last night against Amarillo. Additionally, Lindgren has dropped four of his last five decisions as well as eight of his last 11 in that time. IceRays goaltending has allowed two goals or less only three times since Jan. 1 (Jan. 9 vs. ODA, 4-2 W; Jan. 29, 3-2 OTW @ ODA; Feb. 21 vs. RGV, 1-0 SOW).

Faltering Five: Despite the depth of the IceRays squad, scoring in the top-six behind Wes Michaud has been sparse. Since scoring a hat-trick in a five-point night on Feb. 28 against Rio Grande Valley, forward Tanner Lomsnes has been goalless in nine games and only has three points in that span despite sitting second in goals and points. Defenseman Anthony Cortese has four assists in seven games but has been without a goal since Jan. 31 against Odessa (17 games). Ryan Cusin has earned points in two-straight but was without a goal in 15 games before last Friday’s tally. Forward Matt Colford hasn’t scored a goal in his last 14 games with four assists in that span, and forward Nic LaBurn is pointless in 10-straight games. Among the top-six not named Michaud, those five skaters have scored one goal in 67 combined man games.

Krucial Consistency: IceRays forwards Mason Krueger and Connor Kelly have provided the IceRays a lot of stability during their struggles in March including the team’s lone points last night. Krueger is second on the team in scoring in the month with two goals and five assists for seven points over his last 10 games, and though Kelly only has one goal and three assists in March his intangible play has kept him valuable in the top lines as of late. Only one other player on the active roster has five points or more over his last ten games (Michaud: 8+4=12) and one on the inactive roster (Dzhioshvili: 3+3=6).

Lucky 13: Despite only playing with 13 skaters last night, the Bulls came away with the win and won for the first time in junior franchise history with that few skaters. Five different players recorded multi-point games and two (Gylling & Harrison) earned multi-goal games. Luke Novak led the way in scoring with four assists, his highest single-game total this season. The Bulls have now scored five goals or more in all four wins against the IceRays.

Marty, Marty: Anton Martinsson continues to show his value for the Bulls in net, picking up his fifth win in seven decisions dating back to Mar. 1. In five games against the IceRays this season, the Swede is 4-0-0 with a 2.65 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage. Take away his three goals allowed on five shots during their 8-4 loss on Dec. 11, Martinsson improves his goals-against average to just 1.99 and save percentage to .940 in all four wins. He has one season remaining in his junior career coming next season.

South Division Standings:
1 – Lone Star Brahmas (39-12-8, 86 PTS)
2 – Wichita Falls Wildcats (39-15-5, 83 PTS)
3 – Topeka RoadRunners (38-14-6, 82 PTS)
4 – Corpus Christi IceRays (30-24-5, 65 PTS)
5 – Wenatchee Wild (26-25-7, 59 PTS)
6 – Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (24-25-10, 58 PTS)
7 – Amarillo Bulls (25-30-4, 54 PTS)
8 – Odessa Jackalopes (15-37-7, 37 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays begin their quest for the Robertson Cup on Friday, April 3 at 7:05 p.m. from the American Bank Center for Game 1 of the South Division Quarterfinals. Tickets are available starting Monday, March 30 at www.Ticketmaster.com, any Ticketmaster location, or the American Bank Center Box Office. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on the IceRays flagship station for all games in the 2015 Robertson Cup Playoffs, SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM) & FASTHockey.com.