GAME PREVIEW – ICERAYS @ WILDCATS (GAME #37)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

at

WICHITA FALLS WILDCATS

Thursday, January 22 at 7:05 P.M.

NAHL Game #462 • Road Game #17 • Season Series 1-3-0
Kay Yeager Coliseum • Wichita Falls, Texas
Radio: SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX) • Mobile: TuneIn Radio

Video: FASTHockey.com • Twitter: @goicerays

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

Tonight’s Game: The Corpus Christi IceRays continue their road swing as they begin a two-game set against the Wichita Falls Wildcats from Kay Yeager Coliseum. This weekend will be the final matchup from Wichita Falls before closing the season series in March from the American Bank Center.

Head-To-Head: Halfway through their season series, the Wildcats have won three of four games, making the IceRays 1-3-0 this season in head-to-head games. In their last series on Dec. 5 & 6, the Wildcats swept the IceRays 7-1 and 8-2 from Wichita Falls. The IceRays lone win in the series came on Oct. 30 (7-4 W), and they have been outscored 22-11. The IceRays are 15-21-6 against the Wildcats in their franchise series with their last road win on Nov. 30, 2013 (4-2 W).

Last Game: The IceRays earned their first road win of the season and first shootout win under head coach John Becanic during their 4-3 (1-0 shootout) victory over the Wenatchee Wild on Saturday night from Town Toyota Center. Following a first period goal by the Wild, the IceRays tacked on two goals in the second period by forwards Ryan Cusin (PP, 10:25 2nd) and Joe Chitwood (11:25 2nd) to take a 2-1 lead. The Wild would tie the game later in the period, but the IceRays pushed ahead again with a goal by Tanner Lomsnes (0:14 3rd) to take back the lead, 3-2. The Wild forced overtime with another goal in the period, and after no scoring in overtime, defenseman Anthony Cortese’s shootout goal in the second round was the only tally to help the IceRays to the win. IceRays goaltender Andrew Lindgren earned the win, turning away 25 of 28 shots plus all five in the shootout, and Wild netminder Zach Quinn grabbed the shootout loss while stopping 18 of 21 shots with four saved in the shootout.

Curse Reversed: For the first time under head coach John Becanic, the IceRays won a contest in a shootout on Saturday. The team’s last shootout win came on Mar. 9, 2013 in a 5-4 victory at home against the Wichita Falls Wildcats. Furthermore, the last shootout win Becanic earned previous to last weekend was on Feb. 25, 2012 during his second season with the Wenatchee Wild in a 2-1 win over the Topeka RoadRunners from Town Toyota Center. The IceRays are now 1-4 in shootouts this season and 1-14 under Becanic over the last two years.

Road Of Glory: The win on Saturday also marked the first road victory of the 2014-2015 season, ending the NAHL’s second-longest non-win streak on the road at 15 games and the team’s worst road start in junior franchise history. The team’s worst road record over the last four seasons came in the 2011-12 season under Justin Quenneville, going 9-18-2 (.333) in 30 games. To beat that percentage, the IceRays would have to earn at least 13 points over their last 14 road games. The IceRays have had only one season with a road record above .500, and that was in 2012-13 when the team went 15-10-5 (.583).

Oh, So Special: Special teams picked up a big turnaround on Saturday, ending two long droughts dating back to December. The power play unit scored a goal for the first time since Dec. 27, finishing an 0-for-24 drought spanning over five games. In addition, the penalty kill earned their first perfect game since Dec. 11 when they went 4-for-4 against the Amarillo Bulls. The unit is now 21-for-30 (70.00%) over its last eight games.

Streak Me: Two skaters have picked up streaks over the past two weekends, one on either end of the ice. Since joining the IceRays on Jan. 7, forward Matt Colford has earned three points in four games with a point in each of his last three games. He is now tied with Nic LaBurn for fifth on the team in points (20) and owns fifth in assists (12). Defenseman Anthony Cortese is now on a four-game point streak, earning five assists over his last four games not including the deciding shootout goal on Saturday. He remains second on the team in assists (23) and third in points (33).

On The Prowl: The Wichita Falls Wildcats split their weekend series against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees from Kay Yeager Coliseum, falling 1-0 on Friday and winning 2-0 on Saturday. Parker Wood (13:49 2nd) combined with Mason Van Tuyl to score the lone goal for the Killer Bees on Friday, however Nick Farmer (PP, 11:41 1st) and Erich Jaeger (PP, 19:08 2nd) added tallies on Saturday to help claim the win. Austin Shaw started in net during both games, combining for 47 saves on 48 shots during the weekend.

Top Of The Class: The Wildcats have four skaters ranked in the top-20 statistically in the NAHL. Forwards Nick Farmer and Colin Staub are in a three-way tie for 19th in points (36) while defenseman Matt Koch is fourth in assists (31) and forward Kevin Charyszyn sits tied for fifth in goals (19). Farmer also ranks tied for 17th in goals (15), and Staub is tied for 19th in assists (23). The IceRays, on the other hand, only have two: defenseman Anthony Cortese (T-19th in assists, 23) and forward Wes Michaud (T-8th in points, 41; T-11th in assists, 27).

South Division Standings:
1 – Topeka RoadRunners (28-9-3, 59 PTS)
2 – Lone Star Brahmas (26-9-3, 55 PTS)
3 – Wichita Falls Wildcats (26-10-0, 52 PTS)
4 – Corpus Christi IceRays (19-12-5, 43 PTS)

5 – Wenatchee Wild (15-17-7, 37 PTS)
6 – Amarillo Bulls (15-20-3, 33 PTS)
6 – Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (14-18-5, 33 PTS)
8 – Odessa Jackalopes (8-26-5, 21 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays complete their final game from Kay Yeager Coliseum for the 2014-15 season on Friday, January 23 at 7:05 p.m. against the Wichita Falls Wildcats. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. CST on KSIX 1230AM/96.1FM/103.3FM and FASTHockey.com.