ICERAYS WEEKLY

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 2014-15 season.

LAST WEEK…

Wednesday, March 11: Lone Star Brahmas 3, IceRays 4 (OT)
Shots: Brahmas 30, IceRays 22
PP: Brahmas 0-for-7, IceRays 1-for-4

The Corpus Christi IceRays (28-20-5) and Lone Star Brahmas (35-11-8) each had one player earn a hat-trick, but the IceRays prevailed 4-3 in overtime on Wednesday night at the American Bank Center.

The IceRays took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission thanks to goals from forwards Wes Michaud (6:56 1st) and Maksim Dzhioshvili (18:42 1st) before the Brahmas charged back in the second period. Forward AJ Vanderbeck (4:00 2nd; 8:05 2nd; 10:25 2nd) single-handedly brought the Brahmas back into the game and gave the road side a 3-2 lead. Michaud (PP, 14:59 2nd) tied the game shortly before the second intermission for the IceRays. With no goals in the third, the IceRays took the game in overtime with a redirection by Michaud (3:29 OT) while completing the hat-trick.

Andrew Lindgren (21-13-3) earned the win in a 19-for-22 save effort for the IceRays. Jake Kupsky (16-4-4) picked up the loss while saving 10-of-12 in 43:25 minutes of relief, and TJ Black stopped eight of 10 shots in 20:00 minutes.

Friday, March 13: Wichita Falls Wildcats 4, IceRays 5 (OT)
Shots: Wildcats 27, IceRays 46
PP: Wildcats 0-for-3, IceRays 2-for-4

The Corpus Christi IceRays (29-20-5) went into a shootout for the second-straight game and earned their franchise-record 29th win during their 5-4 overtime win over the Wichita Falls Wildcats (35-13-6) on Friday night from the American Bank Center.

Scoring didn't begin until the second period, when Landon Quinney (2:51 2nd) scored his first NAHL goal to give the IceRays a 1-0 lead. Wildcats forward Nick Farmer (8:56 2nd) and defenseman Matt Koch (SH, 9:41 2nd) pushed the Wildcats ahead 2-1 before IceRays forward Maksim Dzhioshvili (PP, 10:05 2nd) tied the game, 2-2. Wildcats defenseman Austin Azzinnaro (13:29 2nd) took back the lead heading into the third period before IceRays forward Wes Michaud (PP, 12:33 3rd) and Dzhioshvili (13:56 3rd) turned the tables and took a 4-3 lead. The Wildcats tied the game late thanks to forward Colin Staub (18:49 3rd) and forced overtime. IceRays forward Mason Krueger (0:39 OT) propelled the IceRays to the win, 5-4.

Andrew Lindgren (22-13-3) grabbed the win, stopping 23 of 27 shots. Austin Shaw (23-7-2) took the loss, saving 41 of 46 shots.

 

Saturday, March 14: Wichita Falls Wildcats 3, IceRays 2
Shots: Wildcats 36, IceRays 21
PP: Wildcats 1-for-2, IceRays 0-for-4

The Corpus Christi IceRays (29-21-5) could not come back from a late deficit and fell 3-2 to the Wichita Falls Wildcats (36-13-6) on Saturday night from the American Bank Center.

The Wildcats jumped ahead late in the opening period on the power play thanks to forward Colin Staub (PP, 16:18 1st). IceRays forward Joe Chitwood (16:45 1st) helped the IceRays tied the game, 1-1, less than a minute later. Staub (0:47 2nd) notched the only tally of the second period, and he was helped by forward Kevin Charyszyn (4:32 3rd) to double the lead, 3-1. Forward Nathan Bryer (10:03 3rd) drew the IceRays within one, 3-2, but didn't have enough to force a point.

Austin Shaw (24-7-2) netted the win, stopping 19 of 21 shots. Andrew Lindgren (22-14-3) picked up the loss, saving 33 of 36 shots.

THIS WEEK…

Thursday, March 19, 2015 @ Odessa Jackalopes – 7:05 p.m.
Friday, March 20, 2015 @ Odessa Jackalopes – 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ Odessa Jackalopes – 7:05 p.m.

The Corpus Christi IceRays embark on their final road trip of the 2014-15 regular season and being a three-game set against the Odessa Jackalopes from the Ector County Coliseum. The Jackalopes are the only team the IceRays have yet to lose to in the South Division, going 9-0-0 including a three-game sweep of the Jackalopes to end the month of January. The last loss against Odessa came on Jan. 17, 2014 (5-2 L) at the American Bank Center. The IceRays are 27-13-2 all-time against Odessa.

In their last meeting on Jan. 31, the IceRays completed the sweep with a 6-4 win against the Jackalopes from the Ector County Coliseum. After defenseman Christian Hausinger put Odessa up 1-0 early in the game, IceRays forwards Ryan Cusin and Anthony Cortese (PP) took the lead 2-1 before intermission. Scoring went back and forth the rest of the night. Hausinger tied the game, 2-2, early in the second, forward Connor Kelly answered for the IceRays, forward Razmuz Waxin-Engback tied the game back for the Jackalopes before IceRays forward Mason Krueger snagged the lead, 4-3, after two periods. Forward Maksim Dzhioshvili (PP) pumped the lead to 5-3 late in the third period, and the Jackalopes answered with forward Corey Hoffman and the extra attacker. The late surge wasn't enough thanks to an empty net goal by IceRays forward Wes Michaud. Andrew Lindgren turned a 24-for-28 save effort in the win, and Robin Johannson stopped 31-of-36 shots in the loss.

Following a sweep of the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees, the Odessa Jackalopes split with the Topeka RoadRunners last weekend at home, falling 9-2 on Friday and winning 4-2 on Saturday. Forward Derek Brown was the lone Jackalopes skater to notch goals in each game against the RoadRunners, scoring one in each contest. In total, six skaters recorded two-point weekends, including Brown, Razmuz Waxin-Engback (goal, assist), Kenny Hausinger (goal, assist), and Zack Zach (goal, assist). Goaltender Tanner Creel was the consistent force in net for Odessa, stopping 44 of 46 shots faced over two games while being the goalie of record on Saturday. Robin Johansson played 46:29 minutes and allowed nine goals on 29 shots against.

The IceRays (29-21-5, 63 points) are the fourth team in the South Division to clinch a playoff spot with two spots remaining. They received help from the Wenatchee Wild (24-24-7, 55 points) on Saturday night to gain that recognition and still lead them by eight points for fourth place with a chance to clinch home ice this weekend. Wenatchee is separated from the sixth-place Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (22-23-10, 54 points) and remain in the playoff picture by just three points over the hot Amarillo Bulls (24-27-4, 52 points). Those three teams will be contending for the final two spots over their last five games. At the top end, the Lone Star Brahmas (37-11-8, 82 points) have moved into first place by four points over the Topeka RoadRunners (36-13-6, 78 points) and five points over the Wichita Falls Wildcats (37-14-3, 77 points). The RoadRunners have one game in-hand over the Brahmas, and the Wildcats have two games in-hand. The Odessa Jackalopes (12-36-7, 31 points) remain in eighth place while winning three of their last four games.

Playoff Scenarios:
Lone Star/Topeka/Wichita Falls/Corpus Christi = clinched playoffs
Corpus Christi IceRays = clinch home ice in 1st Round with two wins OR win with Wenatchee loss OR two Wenatchee regulation losses
Odessa Jackalopes = eliminated

South Division Matchups:
Wichita Falls Wildcats (3rd) @ RGV Killer Bees (6th) – Thu. – 6:30 p.m. & 7:45 p.m.
Amarillo Bulls (7th) @ Topeka RoadRunners (2nd) – Fri. & Sat. – 7:05 p.m.
Wichita Falls Wildcats (3rd) @ RGV Killer Bees (6th) – Fri. – 7:30 p.m.
Lone Star Brahmas (1st) @ Wenatchee Wild (5th) – Fri. & Sat. – 9:05 p.m.

ICERAYS BITS…

For the second time in franchise history, the IceRays have clinched a spot in the Robertson Cup Playoffs with five games remaining in the regular season. They are the fourth team to clinch from the South Division and the 13th out of 18 available spots around the NAHL. The IceRays can also clinch home-ice advantage in the South Division Quarterfinals this weekend with a few different scenarios. With three points either won or lost by the IceRays to clinch home ice with two wins, one win with any Wenatchee loss, one regulation with one overtime Wenatchee loss, or two Wenatchee regulation losses.

Forward Wes Michaud remains a few points away from owning multiple team scoring records. He is tied with Rudy Sulmonte for the single-season franchise lead in goals (27) and one behind in assists (41) and points (68). Sulmonte set those three marks during the 2012-13 season. In addition, he is tied with Beau Walker for second in career goals (40) and remains five goals back of Eric Purcell’s career goals mark set between 2011 and 2014 (45).

Five IceRays players have earned at least ten points against the Jackalopes thus far in the 2014-15 season series. Forwards Wes Michaud (six goals, eight assists) and Tanner Lomsnes (four goals, 10 assists) as well as defenseman Anthony Cortese (two goals, 12 assists) share the scoring lead with 14 points, but Michaud edges the trio in goals while Cortese leads the team in assists. Forward Ryan Cusin (six goals, seven assists) shares the team goals lead with Michaud against the Jackalopes, and forward Nathan Bryer (four goals, seven assists) rounds out the high five.

IN THE COMMUNITY…

Stinger Ray and members of the IceRays Staff will be helping Gulf Coast Federal Credit Union celebrate their 75th Anniversary on Thursday, March 19 at their annual member meetings. This event is not open to the public.

– Go IceRays –