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…

Friday, January 16: IceRays 1, Wenatchee Wild 4
Shots: IceRays 15, Wild 35
PP: IceRays 0-for-5, Wild 2-for-5

The Corpus Christi IceRays (18-12-5) allowed three goal on special teams and a hat trick as they fell 4-1 to the Wenatchee Wild (15-17-6) on Friday night at Town Toyota Center.

After allowing three goals in the second period, the IceRays finally answered with a second chance play by forward Matt Colford (17:56 2nd) to create the team's lone tally. Wild forward Brendan Harris earned his first hat trick during the game, scoring two in the second period (4:07; PP, 14:14) and one in the third period (SH, 6:55). Wild defenseman Ryan Chiasson (PP, 15:33 2nd) scored the only other goal for the Wild.

Goaltender Luke Pickar (5-5-2) picked up the loss, turning aside 31 of 35 shots, while Wild netminder Zach Quinn (11-12-3) earned the win, saving 14 of 15 shots.

 

Saturday, January 17: IceRays 4, Wenatchee Wild 3 (SO)
Shots: IceRays 21, Wild 28
PP: IceRays 1-for-3, Wild 0-for-7

The Corpus Christi IceRays (19-12-5) 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 (14-7-3) earned the win, turning away 25 of 28 shots plus all five in the shootout, and Wild netminder Zach Quinn (11-12-4) grabbed the shootout loss while stopping 18 of 21 shots with four saved in the shootout.

THIS WEEK…

Thursday, January 22, 2015 @ Wichita Falls Wildcats – 7:05 p.m.
Friday, January 23, 2015 @ Wichita Falls Wildcats – 7:05 p.m.

The Corpus Christi IceRays continue their road swing as they begin a two-game set against the Wichita Falls Wildcats from Kay Yeager Coliseum. 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. 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 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).

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.

Point differentials remain the same in the South Division as they were heading into last weekend's games within the top-four. The IceRays (19-12-5), at 43 points, are nine points behind the Wildcats (26-10-0) for third place in the division and ten behind the Lone Star Brahmas (25-9-3) for second place. The Wenatchee Wild (15-17-7) picked up one point on the IceRays with their shootout loss to move within six at 37 points. The only team to sweep last weekend was the Amarillo Bulls (15-19-3), who slide into a share of sixth place with the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (14-18-5) at 33 points.

South Division Matchups:
Amarillo Bulls (T-6th) @ Lone Star Brahmas (2nd) – Mon. – 2:00 p.m.
Amarillo Bulls (T-6th) @ Odessa Jackalopes (8th) – Fri. & Sat. – 7:05 p.m.
RGV Killer Bees (T-6th) @ Topeka RoadRunners (1st) – Fri. & Sat. – 7:05 p.m.
Wenatchee Wild (5th) @ Fairbanks IceDogs (2nd Midwest) – Fri. & Sat. – 10:05 p.m.
 

ICERAYS BITS…

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.

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).

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.

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).

IN THE MEDIA…

The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced that the IceRays will be selecting three skaters for consideration in the 2015 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament on Feb. 22-23 in Ann Arbor, Mich. The event is available for NAHL skaters currently eligible for NCAA Division I & III scholarships, which includes 19 of the 22 skaters for Corpus Christi.

Former IceRays defenseman Grant Hutton announced yesterday his commitment to play NCAA Division I hockey at the University of Miami (OH). Hutton played his last two seasons with the IceRays, recording ten goals and 20 assists for 30 points with 115 penalty minutes and a +9 rating over 89 games. He was drafted in the first round by the Janesville Jets in the 2014 NAHL Draft and currently plays with the Jets following a stint with the Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL). Hutton has appeared in 35 games in the USHL in three seasons, recording one goal and one assist with 11 penalty minutes and a -13 rating.
 

– Go IceRays –