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PREVIEW: ICERAYS @ BRAHMAS (GAME #27)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS @ LONE STAR  BRAHMAS

Saturday, December 10 • 7:30 P.M. • NYTEX Sports Centre • North Richland Hills, TX
NAHL Game #277 • Game #27 • Road Game #14 • Series: LSB leads 4-1-0-0
Radio: KSIX 1230AM • Video: Hockey TV • Twitter: @goicerays • In-Arena: 87.7FM

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

Tonight’s Game: The IceRays close their two-game weekend set against the Lone Star Brahmas from the NYTEX Sports Centre in North Richland Hills, Texas.

Head-To-Head: The Brahmas now have claimed four of the first five games against the IceRays while keeping them to one goal or less in all four Lone Star wins including three times at the NYTEX Sports Centre. The IceRays are winless in three appearances at the NYTEX Sports Centre this season and have a 3-11-3 record over the last four seasons on the road while going 13-16-4 across the board.

Last Night: The IceRays scored early but couldn’t hold the lead in a 4-1 loss to the Lone Star Brahmas on Friday night from the NYTEX Sports Centre. IceRays forward David Baskerville (7:23 1st) started the scoring with a re-direction from a Conor Yawney shot to give the road side a 1-0 lead. The Brahmas came back in the second period with an answer from forward Carson Kelley (PP, 11:22 2nd) pushing the puck through the IceRays netminder to tie the game, 1-1. A controversial goal by Brahmas forward Julian Biondo (15:20 2nd) gave the home side a 2-1 lead after it appeared the goal was stopped before it crossed the line. The Brahmas added two more in the third period from defenseman Simon Loof (PP, 3:30 3rd) and forward Hunter Stanley (EN, 18:52 3rd) to take home the 4-1 win. Brahmas goaltender Alec Calvaruso (10-4-0) halted 21 of 22 shots in the win, while IceRays netminder Tomáš Vomáčka (5-10-1) turned away 38 of 41 shots in the loss.

Struggle In DFW: The IceRays continue to have difficulty scoring against the Brahmas this season, especially at the NYTEX Sports Centre. The IceRays have been outscored 9-3 in road meetings and only scored one goal per game in those three contests while averaging 23.67 shots per game and averaging 34.33 shots against. Scoring struggles in road meetings against the Brahmas follow a historic precedent in the franchise series. Since the 2013-14 season, the IceRays have scored three or more goals in just two of 17 games (11.76%) at the NYTEX Sports Centre compared to 11 of 14 games (78.57%) at the American Bank Center.

Drought Watch: The IceRays have dropped four-straight games and seven of their last nine games over the last 30 days and look for a push forward offensively. Outside of their two wins at home, during in which the IceRays scored four goals each, the team has failed to record more than two goals in the other seven games while being shut out twice on home ice. They’ve been outscored 27-15 over their last nine games and conceded four or more goals in each of their last four losses. In the process, the IceRays have dipped from two games above .500 to three 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.

Special Hurt: The penalty kill of the IceRays hasn’t been able to keep teams off the scoreboard consistently in the recent slide. For the second-straight night, the IceRays allowed two power play goals on four chances, moving their goals-against streak to five games when down one player, going 14-for-22 (63.64%) in that span with three-straight multi-goal games. They’ve also allowed power play goals in nine of their last 10 games, only going 31-for-45 (68.89%). The IceRays have conceded multi-goal games on the penalty kill now in five games this year.

Kool Kessel: Despite not scoring points last night, the Brahmas have been led all season by the strong, clean play of veteran Peter Kessel both on and away from the puck. The third-year forward leads the team in scoring with 28 points and owns goals in four of his last six games dating to November 23, scoring five goals in that span. On top of that, the only two penalty minutes the Detroit, Mich., product owns came on September 30 in Shreveport as a roughing minor in a 5-4 shootout win. He leads active Brahmas players in all major career categories, owning 33 goals and 39 assists for 72 points through 118 games played since the 2014-15 season, and he sits tied for 6th in the NAHL in scoring.

Back End Bulk: The Brahmas back end is one of their strongest points in a defense-first team, but offensive contributions have come despite the emphasis. Defensemen Simon Loof and John Zimmerman have been huge helpers in the transition and offensive game, each tallying 19 points with Loof (2+17=19) picking up two goals including one last night and Zimmerman owning 19 assists. The two sit in the top-three among Brahmas players in helpers with Zimmerman leading the way. The two also are tied for 6th among NAHL defensemen and the top-five for assists.

South Division Standings:
Lone Star Brahmas (21-7-1-0, 43 PTS)

Wichita Falls Wildcats (18-6-2-0, 38 PTS)
Shreveport Mudbugs (15-7-0-1, 31 PTS)
Corpus Christi IceRays (10-13-1-2, 23 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (10-14-2-1, 23 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (8-12-7-0, 23 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (9-12-4-0, 22 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays open the final weekend before the holiday break on Friday, Dec. 16 at 7:11 p.m. for the first road trip to George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum against the Shreveport Mudbugs. Coverage begins at 6:55 p.m. on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM) & Hockey TV.