PREVIEW: ICERAYS @ BRAHMAS (GAME #53)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

at

LONE STAR BRAHMAS

Friday, March 18 at 7:30 P.M.

Game #53 • NAHL Game #585 • Series: LSB leads 7-2-1
NYTEX Sports Centre • North Richland Hills, TX
Radio: SportsRadio Corpus Christi (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 head to the NYTEX Sports Centre for the last time this year to close out the season series with the Lone Star Brahmas.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays have claimed points in half of the 10 games during the season series against the Brahmas, going 3-5-2 with two wins at home and one on the road. The IceRays have won just twice at the NYTEX Sports Centre in three seasons through 12 games while going 11-11-4 all-time against the Brahmas. The second win on the road came on January 15 in a 5-2 win.

Last Game: The IceRays held on to their first period lead to hold off the Wichita Falls Wildcats (38-10-4) for a 2-1 win on Saturday night at the American Bank Center. IceRays forward Brad Power (5:59 1st) opened the scoring by slotting in his own rebound to give the home side an early 1-0 lead. Less than one minute later, IceRays forward Drake Lindsay (6:59 1st) doubled the scoring by helping to capitalize on a turnover in the offensive zone. On the Wildcats’ second and final power play opportunity, forward Aleksi Poikola (PP, 6:43 2nd) found the puck in an open area to the right of the net to draw within one, 2-1. After a disallowed goal in the second period and a press in the third period by the Wildcats, the IceRays halted the push to claim the win. IceRays goaltender Dryden McKay turned aside 40 of 41 shots in the win, while Wildcats goalie Justin Kapelmaster stopped 34 of 36 shots in the loss.

Big D: The two-game set against the Wildcats was led by a defensive front that shut down the Wildcats potent offense for a majority of the weekend. The IceRays held the Wildcats to just four goals in two games including pinning them to just one goal on Saturday, which is just the third time a team has held Wichita Falls to one goal this season and the first since November 6. In addition, the IceRays owned five-on-five play, outscoring the Wildcats 3-0 in that instance as well as 3-1 in the first and third periods combined.

Opening Up: The first period is becoming a strength for the IceRays in their push for the playoffs, especially when it comes to striking first. The IceRays have netted the opening goal in each of their last four games as well as eight of 11 dating back to February 11. In their more recent run, the team is 5-2-1 when scoring the game’s first goal and has outscored their opponents 16-9 in that 11-game span. Prior to this, the IceRays only scored the opening goal in 12 of 41 games. The IceRays are now 12-6-2 when scoring first this season.

Luck Of The Canadian: IceRays forward Brad Power has found the scoring touch in the past few weeks, recording goals in three of his last four games including the game opener on Saturday. Coincidentally, the IceRays have won three of their last four games with all three wins coming in games with goals from the St. John’s native. Over the course of this season, the IceRays are 9-1-1 when Power scores a goal with seven-straight wins in that situation since December 4. Their lone losses: November 13 & 14 in Odessa.

Big Brahma Battle: The Lone Star Brahmas played in a wild two-game set against the Odessa Jackalopes last weekend at the NYTEX Sports Centre, winning 6-4 on Friday and 6-1 on Saturday. Each team had one hat-trick in Friday’s game, and Saturday turned into a slugfest with 188 combined penalty minutes including 146 penalty minutes in a three-minute span during the third period. Three players turned in five-point weekends thanks to the hat-trick on Friday and a pair of assists on Saturday from Alex Berardinelli, a four-point night from Hogan Davidson on Saturday, and three assists and a pair of points combined by Johan Lundgren. 16 different players earned points with half of those grabbing multi-point weekends. Both goaltenders earned a win with Conor O’Brien saving 15 of 19 on Friday and Corbin Kaczperski stopping 15 of 16 on Saturday.

Home, Sweet Home: The Brahmas start the final weekend of an elongated eight-game home stand that takes up a majority of their games remaining at the NYTEX Sports Centre. Lone Star enters the weekend winning four-straight as well as five of those six games at home, outscoring their opposition 23-13 including a shutout of Topeka and holding opponents under three goals in four of six games. They also boast one of the best home records in the NAHL, going 20-5-1 with a .788 point percentage, which ranks third behind Wichita Falls (.854) and Fairbanks (.804), the two best teams in overall percentage. The Brahmas split their remaining schedule down the middle with all opponents resting below them in the South Division: Topeka (3rd, home), Corpus Christi (4th, home), Odessa (5th, road), and Amarillo (6th, road).

South Division Standings:
x-Wichita Falls Wildcats (38-10-4, 80 PTS)
x-Lone Star Brahmas (34-11-7, 75 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (30-20-1, 61 PTS)
Corpus Christi IceRays (22-24-6, 50 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (22-25-4, 48 PTS)
e-Amarillo Bulls (11-37-4, 26 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays close the book on their season series against the Lone Star Brahmas on Saturday, March 19 at 7:30 p.m. from the NYTEX Sports Centre. Coverage begins at 7:15 p.m. on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM) & FASTHockey.com.