PREVIEW: ICERAYS @ BRAHMAS (GAME #26)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS @ LONE STAR  BRAHMAS

Friday, December 9 • 7:30 P.M. • NYTEX Sports Centre • North Richland Hills, TX
NAHL Game #267 • Game #26 • Road Game #13 • Series: LSB leads 3-1-0-0
Radio: KSIX 1230AM • Video: Hockey TV • Twitter: @goicerays • In-Arena: 87.7FM

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

Today’s Game: The IceRays head back to the NYTEX Sports Centre to resume their season series with the Lone Star Brahmas from North Richland Hills, Texas.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays picked up a win to close their four-game stretch with the Brahmas in November but still have dropped three of four meetings. The IceRays are winless in two appearances at the NYTEX Sports Centre this season and have a 3-10-3 record over the last four seasons while going 13-15-4 across the board.

Last Game: The IceRays did not have an answer in their 4-0 loss to the Wichita Falls Wildcats on Sunday afternoon at the American Bank Center. Scoring didn’t pick up until the second period when Wildcats forward Steven Tillie (PP, 13:55 2nd) tapped in a one-time shot to take a 1-0 lead for the road side followed by Wildcats forward Jeff Skinner (15:28 2nd) to double the lead. The Wildcats tacked on two more in the third period thanks to forwards C.J. Walker (15:25 3rd) and Blake Ripley (EN, 17:55 3rd) to seal the 4-0 win. Wildcats goaltender Jared Dempsey (9-1-0) halted all 32 shots in the shutout win. IceRays netminder Camden Burggrabe (4-3-1) stopped 18 of 20 shots in 35:28 minutes while getting the loss, and Tomáš Vomáčka pushed aside 11 of 12 shots in 21:16 minutes of relief.

Shut Down: For just the second time this season, the IceRays were shut out by an opposing team and the second time in the last 30 days. Both losses have come at home including the 3-0 loss to the Lone Star Brahmas on November 18. In fact, the last four shutout losses in the last two seasons have come at the hands of the Brahmas and Wildcats. This is the 34th time in the franchise being shut out compared to 13 instances shutting down opposition, including two already this season.

Drought Watch: The IceRays have dropped six of their last eight games over the last 30 days and haven’t found ways to consistently put up production. Outside of their two wins at home in which the IceRays scored four goals each, the team has failed to record more than two goals in the other six games while being shut out twice on home ice. They’ve been outscored 23-14 over their last eight games and conceded four or more goals in each of their last three games. In the process, the IceRays have dipped from two games above .500 to two games below the midway line. Prior to their stretch, the IceRays scored three or more goals in five-straight games and nine of 11 contests from September 24 through November 5.

Home Struggles: Home ice hasn’t been so kind to the IceRays through 11 games at the American Bank Center including last weekend during their sweep at the hands of the Wichita Falls Wildcats. The IceRays concluded their six-game home stand last weekend with a 2-4-0-0 record, earning wins against the Lone Star Brahmas (Nov. 19) and Amarillo Bulls (Nov. 25) in back-to-back 4-1 wins but continue with consistency issues in different home weekend. The team is now 4-7-0-0 in the Coastal Bend, only winning a weekend set on October 27-29 against Shreveport, winning two of three games. The team has been outscored 29-24 and scored three or more goals in five of 11 home contests.

Skirt Steak: The Lone Star Brahmas wrapped up their week early in a two-game set against the Odessa Jackalopes, splitting the weekend with a 6-3 loss on Thursday and a 2-1 win on Friday from the Ector County Coliseum. Three Brahmas players earned multi-point weekend including forward Peter Kessel, who picked up one goal in each game, as well as a pair of assists for Hunter Stanley and John Zimmerman. Defenseman Jordan Biondo scored his first NAHL goal, and Vladimir Studennikov returned and picked up a goal. Netminder Alec Calvaruso stopped 12 of 16 shots in 40:00 minutes during Thursday’s loss, and Erik Gordon earned the win on Friday and combined 31 saves on 32 shots between both games.

Down To Earth?: The Brahmas have looked more human in the last few weeks after starting the year on a tear. With their loss on Thursday night, they have now dropped four of their last six games starting with the 4-1 loss to the IceRays on November 19 in Corpus Christi. The Brahmas conceded an average of four goals per game in the six-game span and allowed four or more goals in each loss while only scoring 2.67 goals per game. Despite still sitting second overall in the NAHL, the Brahmas lead in the South Division has been cut in half, moving from 14 points on November 19 to seven points.

South Division Standings:
Lone Star Brahmas (20-7-1-0, 41 PTS)

Wichita Falls Wildcats (17-6-2-0, 36 PTS)
Shreveport Mudbugs (15-7-0-1, 31 PTS)
Corpus Christi IceRays (10-12-1-2, 23 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (10-13-2-1, 23 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (9-12-3-0, 21 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (7-12-7-0, 21 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays finish up their two-game weekend against the Brahmas on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. from the NYTEX Sports Centre. Coverage begins at 7:15 p.m. on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM) & Hockey TV.