The IceRays Weekly is a weekly recap and preview of IceRays news, games, and more. The IceRays Weekly will be released every Monday during the 2015-16 season.
Thursday, January 21: Topeka RoadRunners 4, IceRays 1
Shots: RoadRunners 29, IceRays 32
PP: RoadRunners 0-for-6, IceRays 0-for-3
The Corpus Christi IceRays (15-17-4) dropped their return home in 2016 to the Topeka RoadRunners (25-14-1) 4-1 on Thursday night at the American Bank Center.
RoadRunners forward Quinn Preston (10:58 1st) just barely nudged the puck across the IceRays goal line to take a 1-0 lead. IceRays forward Drake Lindsay (1:02 2nd) answered back with some help from a RoadRunners defenseman to tie the game, 1-1. RoadRunners forward J.B. Baker (11:46 2nd) made a nice individual effort to snipe a shot from the right circle to take back the lead, 2-1, then defenseman John O’Connor (19:49 2nd) was helped by a screen with his point shot to double the lead, 3-1. With the IceRays net empty and the RoadRunners pulling their goalie for an extra attacker on a delayed penalty, Preston (EN, EA, 18:26 3rd) sealed the win at 4-1.
RoadRunners goaltender Tyler Johnson (16-8-0) turned aside 31 of 32 shots in the win, while IceRays goaltender Graham Hunt (10-10-3) stopped 25 of 28 shots in the loss.
Friday, January 22: Topeka RoadRunners 1, IceRays 3
Shots: RoadRunners 21, IceRays 30
PP: RoadRunners 0-for-4, IceRays 0-for-7
The Corpus Christi IceRays (16-17-4) scored three-unanswered in the final two periods to claim a 3-1 win over the Topeka RoadRunners (25-15-1) on Friday night at the American Bank Center.
After a near shorthanded goal in the first period to put the IceRays up was called back, RoadRunners forward Marcus Russell (19:12 1st) tapped in the game's first goal just before the end of the same frame. IceRays forward Nathan Bryer (2:30 2nd) tied the game at 1-1 with a play down low in the Topeka end. The IceRays gained the 2-1 lead when forward Regen Cavanagh (15:00 3rd) redirected a shot from the left point coming toward the net. IceRays forward Drake Lindsay (EN, 19:01 3rd) sealed the win, 3-1, with the team's second empty net goal.
IceRays netminder Dryden McKay (6-7-1) stopped 20 of 21 shots in the win, and RoadRunners goalie Yuho Niku (7-3-1) turned away 26 of 29 shots in the loss.
Saturday, January 30 vs. Amarillo Bulls – 7:45 p.m.
Sunday, January 231vs. Amarillo Bulls – 2:30 p.m.
The Corpus Christi IceRays host their final two games against the Amarillo Bulls for the 2015-16 season series this weekend at the American Bank Center. The IceRays have split their season set down the middle with a 4-3-1 record for both sides including a split in their last set on December 11-12 in Amarillo. At home, the IceRays have a 10-17-1 record against the Bulls but own a 19-38-3 franchise record including their 1-3-0 playoff record from 2013.
PROMOTIONS: The IceRays host their 2nd annual Energy Industry Night, presented by IBEW Local 278, Laguna Wealth Services, M&G Chemicals, and Voestalpine on Saturday night. Companies from the energy industry will have information throughout the concourse as well as a silent auction table. Proceeds from the evening benefit Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of the Coastal Bend. The game is also al Corpus Christi Caller-Times Family 4-Pack Night with four tickets, four hot dogs and four sodas for just $46. Sunday's game will carry over the promotions from Friday night, meaning that a Frosty Friday special returns with $1 beer and sodas. Fans with tickets for Friday's game can use those tickets to enter Sunday's matinee.
The Amarillo Bulls fought to grab one point last weekend in two home games against the Odessa Jackalopes, dropping 5-0 on Friday night and being edged out 4-3 in a shootout on Saturday from the Amarillo Civic Center. Forward Tyler Gernhofer, who made his return to the Texas Panhandle after a brief collegiate stint, led the Bulls back with three goals in the third period of Saturday's game to force the shootout with two coming on the power play. Forward Joey Molinaro also recorded two assists through the rush back in the third. Goaltender Anton Martinsson stopped 39 shots on each night, combining to record a 78-for-86 effort during the weekend.
South Division Recap:
The Wichita Falls Wildcats rectified the wrongs at home against the Lone Star Brahmas with a weekend sweep of the second-place team, however the Brahmas came away with points in both games thanks to a 4-3 overtime and shootout loss on back-to-back night as well as a Monday afternoon win to take one of three in a 4-2 home win over the Wildcats. The Topeka RoadRunners and Corpus Christi IceRays neither gained nor lost ground on each other in their split last weekend to close the season series, but the RoadRunners did fall two points farther behind second place thanks to that Monday afternoon win by Lone Star. The Odessa Jackalopes picked up two points on the IceRays for fourth place thanks to a weekend sweep, and the Amarillo Bulls fall to 18 points back of fourth place and the final playoff position, slowly sliding away from contention.
South Division Standings:
Wichita Falls Wildcats 31-6-3, 65 points
Lone Star Brahmas 24-8-7, 55 points
Topeka RoadRunners 25-15-1, 51 points
Corpus Christi IceRays 16-17-4, 36 points
Odessa Jackalopes 13-18-4, 30 points
Amarillo Bulls 8-26-4, 18 points
IN THE NEWS…
Three players were selected to represent the IceRays at the 2016 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament on February 15-16 at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan. Goaltender Graham Hunt is the second goaltender selected from the IceRays roster in the team's six-year history, joining only Anthony Stolarz in that recognition, earning a 10-10-3 record with a 2.59 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage with one shutout. Forward Brad LeLievre earns his first trip after playing 186 NAHL games throughout his junior career, owning the third-most games played in team history with 11 points through 33 games this season. Forward Drake Lindsay earns the final spot in his first NAHL season and as one of the most consistent point producers, leading the team in assists (17) and sitting second in goals (8) and points (25).
The IceRays signed two tenders last week for the 2016-17 season. Last Monday, defenseman Conor Yawney of the Omaha AAA Lancers (NAPHL) signed on for next season. The 18-year-old owns four goals and 16 assists for 20 points through 49 games over the last two seasons, joining teammate Dane Johnson on next year's protected list. He's also the son of former NHL defenseman and current Anaheim Ducks assistant coach Trent Yawney. Goaltender Austin Park was signed on Friday as the third goaltender to be tendered in IceRays junior history, recording a 7-5-2 record with a 2.19 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage through 14 games with the Ohio Blue Jackets (T1EHL). He also joins a teammate, Trevor St. Jean, on the 2016-17 protected list. The IceRays have now signed seven players for next season.
The IceRays made history last weekend in their franchise series with the Topeka RoadRunners. After Friday's win, the IceRays earned their first outright season series win in their six-year history, going 5-2-1 through eight games in their first eight-game set also in the franchise setup. Coming into this season, the IceRays only owned two wins through five years and 22 meetings, but this year the IceRays earned almost triple the amount of wins just in eight games. The IceRays now have three wins at home and four on the road against the RoadRunners and are 6-4-2 over the last two seasons.
Special teams, as a whole, remain on opposite sides of the success spectrum through their recent stretch, but the penalty kill continues to shine and lead defensively. The four-man unit has killed on now 18-straight attempts as well as 24 of 25 through their last four games including a perfect 10-for-10 effort last weekend against Topeka. The penalty kill is now ranked seventh in the NAHL, one of their highest spots this season, with a 84.78 percentage. The power play, on the other hand, has been shut out in six of their last seven games, going 2-for-33 (6.06%) in that span while going scoreless in their last 14 attempts through three games.
– Defend The Bend –