CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – The two teams had not played one another since the 2009-2010 season in the CHL but you wouldn’t have known that on Friday night as Rio Grande Valley and Corpus Christi combined for 222 penalty minutes that included 160 of those minutes occurring in a brawl during the second period. With goals by Joe Chitwood and Wes Michaud, the IceRays picked up a 2-1 win over the Killer Bees in front of 2,399 fans inside American Bank Center.
The IceRays struck first early into the game. Tony Roisum won an offensive zone faceoff back to Kyle Froese at the point. Froese moved to his right and fired a shot on net that Joe Chitwood deflected behind Killer Bees’ goaltender Olli Kalkaja for a 1-0 lead just 1:51 into the game. The goal was Chitwood’s second since joining the IceRays.
In the second period of play, the rivalry between Corpus Christi and Rio Grande Valley returned after Nick Felan dropped the gloves everyone on the ice paired up as an all-out brawl erupted that included both goaltenders who met at center ice and resulted in a total of 10 ejections. A total of 160 minutes in penalties were handed out. Ben Myers was replaced by Forbes Ploszaj for the IceRays while Nick Schmit came in for Olli Kalkaja between the pipes.
After the fight, the Killer Bees tied the game off a shot from above the right wing circle. Connor Pelkey skated down the right wing wall and fired a wrist shot on net that found a way by Ploszaj to tie the game 1-1 with 8:22 left in the second period. The goal was assisted by Sean Mostrom.
With the two teams tied heading into the third period and shortened benches Wed Michaud came through with the game winner. Jake McNamara handled the puck at the left point and let go a low slap shot that Michaud deflected by Schmit with 14:07 left in the game to give Corpus Christi a 2-1 lead. It was Michaud’s sixth goal on the year and the assists were credited to McNamara along with Martin Hojbjerg.
In the end, Ploszaj stopped 22 of 23 shots while Ben Myers denied all 17 he faced before the ejection.
The IceRays return home after Christmas on Friday, December 20th as they once again host the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees. Puck drops at 7:05PM, coverage begins at 6:50PM with the IceRays Pregame Show on Sportsjuice.com, ustream.com, and fasthockey.com. Click “LISTEN LIVE” on the IceRays website for more information!
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