CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – The Corpus Christi IceRays (15-17-4) could not master a strong defensive output by the Topeka RoadRunners (25-14-1), falling 4-1 on Thursday night at the American Bank Center.
A strong push early in the first period almost resulted in the game’s opening goal for the IceRays, but RoadRunners netminder Tyler Johnson impressed to steal a goal away from the home side. Topeka instead claimed the game’s first goal at 10:58 when forward Quinn Preston just barely nudged a loose puck past the goal line to take a 1-0 lead. The RoadRunners continued to press in the opening frame but were turned away despite the push.
The IceRays answered early in the second period at 1:02 with some help from a Topeka defenseman. IceRays forward Drake Lindsay flipped a puck toward the net and just caught a defenseman with an open back area which knotted the game, 1-1. The RoadRunners took back control and found the go-ahead goal at 11:46 when forward J.B. Baker stretched from defensive zone to offensive zone and sniped a shot up high to move Topeka up 2-1. Just before the period horn at 19:49, RoadRunners defenseman John O’Connor got a screen in front of the net, allowing his right point shot to fly through traffic and double the lead, 3-1, heading into intermission.
After two periods with only one combined penalty, both teams tacked on ten in the final 20 minutes of action while battling for the game’s next goal. That goal would be the final one in an unusual situation. The IceRays pulled their netminder and were on a delayed penalty call against them, so Johnson’s exit for the extra attacker made it 6-on-6 with empty nets on either side, and during that Preston ripped his second from the right circle at 18:26 to seal the 4-1 Topeka victory.
Johnson (16-8-0) earned the win, turning aside 31 of 32 shots in impressive fashion, and IceRays goaltender Graham Hunt (10-10-2) was saddled with the loss, stopping 25 of 28 shots. The IceRays close out their season series with the Topeka RoadRunners on Friday, Jan. 21 at 7:11 p.m. from the American Bank Center. Tickets are available at www.Ticketmaster.com, the American Bank Center Box Office, or by calling 361-814-PUCK. Coverage begins at 6:55 p.m. on SportsJuice.com, FASTHockey.com, and 87.7FM in-arena.
Contact the IceRays Front Office at 361-814-PUCK or go to www.goicerays.com for details on season tickets along with pricing and seating. In addition, stay connected with the IceRays on Facebook (/CorpusChristiIceRays), Twitter (@goicerays), YouTube (IceRays TV), Instagram (CorpusChristiIceRays), Vine (@goicerays), and Periscope (@goicerays).