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PREVIEW: ICERAYS @ BRAHMAS (GAME #18)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS @ LONE STAR BRAHMAS

Friday, November 11 • 7:30 P.M. • NYTEX Sports Centre • North Richland Hills, TX
NAHL Game #152 • Game #18 • Road Game #11 • 1st Meeting
Radio: SportsRadio CC (KSIX 1230AM) • Video: Hockey TV • Twitter: @goicerays

Coverage begins at 7:15 p.m. with Countdown To Faceoff

Tonight’s Game: The IceRays open their 11-game season series with the Lone Star Brahmas this weekend from the NYTEX Sports Centre in North Richland Hills, Texas.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays The IceRays had trouble keeping up with the Brahmas last season, finishing with a 4-6-2 record through 12 games while only winning on the road on Mar. 19, 2016 in a 2-1 overtime victory, their last meeting against each other. Over the last three seasons, the IceRays own a 12-12-4 record against the Brahmas including going 3-8-3 at the NYTEX Sports Centre.

Last Game: The IceRays scored three-unanswered goals en route to a 3-1 win over the Amarillo Bulls on Saturday night at the Amarillo Civic Center. Bulls forward George Mika (PP, 8:01 1st) cashed in for the game’s opening goal and what would become the lone goal for the Bulls on the weekend to take an early 1-0 lead. The IceRays came back in the second and third periods starting with forward Cole Filler (0:55 2nd) on a one-time shot to tie the game, 1-1. IceRays forward Mason Krueger (14:26 3rd) broke the game open in the final frame to edge ahead, 2-1, before forward Brad Power (EN, 19:49 3rd) sealed the 3-1 victory with a final tally. IceRays netminder Camden Burggrabe (3-0-1) halted 37 of 38 shots in the victory, while Bulls goaltender Nikita Babintsev (5-6-0) turned aside 35 of 37 shots in the loss.

Broom Time: For the first time in junior franchise history, the IceRays earned a road sweep of the Amarillo Bulls at the Amarillo Civic Center last weekend. Heading into the weekend, the IceRays had only won their first game of the two-game weekend twice before: Feb. 13, 2015 (5-3 W) and Feb. 19, 2016 (4-2 W). In the ensuing games, the IceRays fell 5-2 and 5-3, respectively. The IceRays now have 11 wins in seven seasons at the Amarillo Civic Center with five of those coming in the last three years.

Ice Burg Ahead: After a shaky start to his NAHL career, goaltender Camden Burggrabe has put up three-straight strong performances between the pipes over his last two weekends. The 19-year-old comes into the upcoming weekend with three-straight wins and just three goals allowed in those games, halting 76 of 79 shots (.962) while boasting a 1.00 goals-against average. Burggrabe becomes the sixth goaltender in junior franchise history to earn at least a three-game win streak, joining Pheonix Copley (’10-’11), Anthony Stolarz (’11-’12) (5-game and 4-game), Hayden Stewart (’12-’13), Andrew Lindgren (’14-’15) (4-game and 3-game) and Graham Hunt (’15-’16) (5-game).

Captain K: IceRays captain Mason Krueger has been on fire since signing his commitment to Army West Point for next season. The 20-year-old has goals in each of his last four games since October 28 and points in five-straight games over his last two weekends, amassing five goals and three assists for eight points. Krueger already owns the franchise record for a goal-scoring streak set at six games between the end of last season and the start of this year (Mar. 26, 2016 – Sep. 15, 2016). He leads the team in points (18) and shares the lead in assists (11) while breaking into the top-20 among NAHL players in scoring for the first time in his career. Krueger also sits 5th in IceRays junior franchise history in goals (28), 7th in points (62), and now tied for 9th in assists (34).

End Of A Run: The Lone Star Brahmas saw their winning streak snapped last weekend against the Topeka RoadRunners, falling 3-2 on Friday night but winning 3-2 in overtime on Saturday night at the NYTEX Sports Centre. Forward Peter Kessel (3 goals) and defenseman Simon Loof (3 assists) led the Brahmas in points with three points between both games as two of five Brahmas players with multi-point weekends though the only ones with a multi-point game (Saturday). Forward Just Addamo (2 goals) also picked up a multi-goal weekend. Goaltender Alec Calvaruso stopped 25 of 28 shots in Friday’s loss, while netminder Erik Gordon halted 17 of 19 shots in Saturday’s win.

Rise To Power: Through just 18 games this season, the Brahmas have shown themselves as early favorites to take the South Division crown for the second time in three seasons and finish in the top-two for three-straight years. Outside of their inaugural 2013-14 season as the newly-minted franchise, the Brahmas have averaged 13.67 wins through 18 games while earning 13 wins in 2014-15 and 2015-16 as well as 14 wins this season. This year’s point percentage (.806) is the second-highest in that span, following last year’s impressive 13-1-2-2 record (.833) and ahead of a 13-4-1-0 record (.750) in 2014-15. Most of this season’s success has come away from the NYTEX Sports Centre, sporting a 9-1-1-0 record on the road with a majority of their games away from home ice.

South Division Standings:
Lone Star Brahmas (14-3-1-0, 29 PTS)

Shreveport Mudbugs (9-5-0-1, 19 PTS)
Corpus Christi IceRays (8-6-1-2, 19 PTS)
Wichita Falls Wildcats (7-5-2-0, 16 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (6-8-4-0, 16 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (7-10-1-1, 16 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (7-9-0-0, 14 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays close the two-game weekend set against the Lone Star Brahmas on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m. from the NYTEX Sports Centre. Coverage begins at 7:15 p.m. on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM) and Hockey TV.