PREVIEW: ICERAYS @ BRAHMAS (GAME #34)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

at

LONE STAR BRAHMAS

Friday, January 15 at 7:30 P.M.

Game #34 • NAHL Game #380 • Series: LSB leads 2-0-1
NYTEX Sports Centre • North Richland Hills, TX
Radio: KSIX 1230AM • Video: FASTHockey.com

Mobile: TuneIn Radio Twitter: @goicerays

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

Tonight’s Game: The IceRays enter their last weekend in their six-game January road trip with the first of two games against the Lone Star Brahmas at the NYTEX Sports Centre.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays dropped two of their first three meetings at the American Bank Center in November, owning a 1-2-0 record with their sole win coming in overtime in a day game. The IceRays still hold the slight edge in win percentage during the season series with a 9-8-2 franchise record, however the IceRays have struggled on the road, going 1-5-2 over the last two seasons in North Richland Hills.

Last Game: The IceRays lost hold in the second period, falling 6-2 to the Wichita Falls Wildcats (27-5-3) on Saturday night at the Kay Yeager Coliseum. IceRays defenseman Colton Meekhof (4:18 1st) scored the game’s first goal with a play in front of the net to take a 1-0 lead. While shorthanded, Wildcats forward Adam Goodsir (SH, 6:09 1st) capitalized from the right circle to tie the game, 1-1. Late in the opening period, IceRays defenseman Michael Bevilacqua (19:25 1st) fought a shot through the netminder at an odd angle to take a 2-1 lead. After a fighting major penalty against solely the IceRays, Wildcats forward Jonathan Lazarus (PP, 12:16 2nd) capitalized on the man-advantage to tie the game again, 2-2. The Wildcats then scored three goals in 1:50 from forwards Garrett VanWyhe (15:17 2nd), Goodsir (15:49 2nd) and Erich Jaeger (17:07 2nd) to take a 5-2 lead. Lazarus (19:56 3rd) added one more in the final seconds to end the game, 6-2. Justin Kapelmaster turned aside 29 of 31 shots in the win, and Dryden McKay halted 32 of 38 shots in the loss.

Touring The South: The IceRays have evened out their record during their six-game January road trip to begin 2016, moving down to 2-2-0 after Saturday night’s loss to Wichita Falls. The team has also seen a considerable cooling against top-three teams, recording two goals in each of their last three games and capping out at three during their year-opening shutout of Topeka. Saturday’s game was also the first since December 29 that the IceRays placed 30 or more shots in a game after four-straight with a sub-30 tally, averaging now 23.25 shots in January. This is the final weekend of the road trip, however the IceRays averaged only 24.33 shots against the Brahmas in their three games at home with one game over 20 shots while scoring seven goals.

Look At Meeks: IceRays defenseman Colton Meekhof has had a hot hand despite coming in and out of the team’s lineup since the third weekend of December. The 19-year-old is currently on a four-game point streak dating back to December 18 while also jumping in and out of the lineup in that span, recording two goals and four assists for six points with two multi-point games and playing both defenseman and forward. He is now one of six players to hit the four-game mark. Meekhof has four goals and six assists for 10 points through 22 games this season, sharing the team lead in points among defensemen with Michael Bevilacqua (5+5=10).

Battle Kids: The Lone Star Brahmas found a way to sweep the Odessa Jackalopes and take three of four wins in their home-and-home weekend sets thanks to a 5-3 win on Friday and 4-1 win on Saturday. The Brahmas came from behind 3-0 in the second period of Friday’s game to take the win, and the effort was led by newly acquired forward Johan Lundgren, who totaled three points on the night and shared the team lead on the weekend with four points (1+3=4) along with forward Martin Mellberg (1+3=4) including two assists in that win. Three other players earned three-point weekends: forwards Alex Berardinelli (1+2=3) and Peter Kessel (1+2=3) as well as defenseman Dalton Skelly (2+1=3). Goaltender Corbin Kaczperski took the reigns for most of the weekend, earning both wins and stopping 20 of 22 shots in two games. Conor O’Brien started Friday’s game but only saved two of four shots in 19:25 minutes.

Leading From Behind: The Brahmas have been pushed forward by play from their back end on both sides of the ice. Goaltenders Corbin Kaczperski and Conor O’Brien have two of the top-five best goals-against averages in the NAHL even with a seven-game gap between them, both clocking in at a sub-2.10 GAA. That number has been due to a huge help from their defensive presence. The Brahmas rank first in goals-against per game and shots allowed per game while their netminders have just over a .900 save percentage. On the other side, defenseman Cameron Clarke leads all Brahmas in assists (24) and points (29) as well as all defensemen in the NAHL in both categories while also remaining only one point away from breaking into the top-15 scorers among all NAHL skaters.

South Division Standings:
Wichita Falls Wildcats (27-5-3, 57 PTS)
Lone Star Brahmas (22-7-5, 49 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (21-14-1, 43
 PTS)
Corpus Christi IceRays (14-16-3, 31 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (11-15-4, 26 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (8-23-3, 19 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays finish their season-high six-game road trip on Saturday, Jan. 16 at 7:30 p.m. against the Lone Star Brahmas from the NYTEX Sports Centre. Coverage begins at 7:15 p.m. on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM) and FASTHockey.