GAME PREVIEW – ICERAYS VS. WILDCATS (GAME #54)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

vs.

WICHITA FALLS WILDCATS

Friday, March 13 at 7:05 P.M.

NAHL Game #645 • Home Game #27 • Season Series 2-4-0
American Bank Center • Corpus Christi, Texas
Radio: SportsJuice.com • Mobile: TuneIn Radio 
• Mobile: 87.7 FM
Video: FASTHockey.com • Twitter: @goicerays

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

Tonight’s Game: The IceRays host Miracle League Night, presented by Avis and Corpus Christi Disposal, as they begin their final two-game set against the Wichita Falls Wildcats from the American Bank Center. The Miracle League of Corpus Christi will be playing Broomball during intermission and experiencing a new spot.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays claimed their first road win since Nov. 30, 2013 in their last meeting with the Wildcats to improve their season record to 2-4-0. The Wildcats can win the season series outright with one win in the next two games, and the IceRays can split the series with two regulation wins. In five seasons, the IceRays are 16-21-6 against the Wildcats in NAHL competition.

Last Meeting: The IceRays were able to edge out Wichita Falls 5-4 from the Kay Yeager Coliseum, earning their first win in four games against the Wildcats. Defenseman Anthony Cortese put the IceRays up early in the contest with a power play goal before seven-combined second period goals. Forward Tanner Lomsnes doubled the lead on the power play, 2-0, before Wildcats forwards Kevin Charyszyn and Max Reisinger on the power play tied the game, 2-2. Cortese and forward Nathan Bryer doubled the IceRays lead again, 4-2, before going back and forth with Wildcats forward Nick Farmer on the power play, IceRays forward Matt Colford and Wildcats forward Tommy Apap finishing off the game’s scoring. Luke Pickar saved 18-of-22 in the win. Austin Shaw stopped four-of-five while grabbing the loss in relief while David Zevnik turned away nine of 13 shots in his start.

Last Game: The IceRay prevailed over the Lone Star Brahmas with a 4-3 overtime win on Wednesday night from the American Bank Center. The IceRays jumped out to a 2-0 lead before the first period horn with goals by forward Wes Michaud on a deke by goaltender T.J. Black and by Maksim Dzhioshvili on a semi-breakaway. Black gave way to Jake Kupsky in the second period, and Brahmas forward A.J. Vanderbeck scored all three goals for Lone Star in the frame to take a 3-2 lead. Michaud tied the game, 3-3, toward the end of the second period and finished off the hat-trick with a redirection from forward Anthony Cortese in overtime to help claim the win. Andrew Lindgren saved 27-of-30 shots in the win for the IceRays, and Kupsky received the loss in a 10-for-12 effort through 43:25 minutes in relief. Black stopped eight of 10 shots in 20:00 for the Brahmas.

Here Come The Hats: For the first time in junior franchise history, two players on opposing teams recorded hat-tricks in the same game. IceRays forward Wes Michaud becomes the fourth-different skater to earn a hat-trick this season and the third in three months. Michaud, Anthony Cortese, Maksim Dzhioshvili, and Tanner Lomsnes all earned three-goal games. On the flip side, the Brahmas have earned their fifth hat-trick of the season thanks to forward A.J. Vanderbeck, joining Sebastian Vidmar, Ludvig Larsson, Oskar Andren, and Eric Carreras.

Sweet 16: Forward Landon Quinney joined the IceRays on Wednesday as an affiliate and could appear this weekend against the Wildcats. Quinney, 16, was the second player to be tendered by the IceRays for the 2015-16 season in November out of the Arizona Bobcats 16U (NAPHL) squad. In 20 games, the Las Vegas, Nev., native recorded 11 goals and 10 assists for 21 points and finished third on the team in scoring. He’s the son of former NHL player Ken Quinney, who played parts of three seasons in Quebec.

Closing The Book: The Wichita Falls Wildcats closed out their final game of the 2014-15 regular season with a 5-4 loss to the Amarillo Bulls on Wednesday night from the Kay Yeager Coliseum. Wildcats defenseman Shane Kuzmeski notched the game’s first goal early in the first period before Amarillo forwards Charlie Combs (PP) and Luke Novak scored two goals in 3:24 to give the Bulls a 2-1 lead. Wildcats forward Tommy Apap tied the game, 2-2, with 12 seconds left in the first period. Each grabbed a goal on the power play with Jesper Synnelius for Amarillo and Apap again for the Wildcats. The Bulls pushed ahead with goals from forwards A.J. Duggan and Combs to spread the game by two, 5-3. Wildcats forward Colin Staub notched an early goal to cut the lead down though their surge was brought up short. Jacob Weatherly saved 27-of-31 shots in the win, while David Zevnik stopped 19-of-24 in the loss.

The Long And Winding Road: The Wildcats finish their home schedule with a 23-6-1 record (.783) and embark on an eight-game road trip to close out the 2014-15 regular season. The Wildcats are one of two teams to finish their home schedule (Michigan: 13-14-3 record, .483). Over their final eight games, the Wildcats play four teams with the potential to make the playoffs, including the continuation of a game against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees that was suspended on Dec. 13 due to unsafe ice conditions with 6:03 left in the second period and the Wildcats leading 3-0. Their last two games could determine who claims one of two first-round byes when they play the Lone Star Brahmas.

South Division Standings:
1 – Lone Star Brahmas (35-11-8, 78 PTS)
2 – Topeka RoadRunners (35-12-6, 76 PTS)
3 – Wichita Falls Wildcats (36-14-2, 74 PTS)
4 – Corpus Christi IceRays (28-20-5, 61 PTS)

5 – Wenatchee Wild (23-23-7, 53 PTS)
6 – Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (22-22-9, 53 PTS)
7 – Amarillo Bulls (23-26-4, 50 PTS)
8 – Odessa Jackalopes (11-35-7, 29 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays close out their season series with the Wichita Falls Wildcats on Saturday, March 14 at 7:05 p.m. from the American Bank Center. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsJuice.com, FASTHockey.com, and 87.7FM in-arena.