PREVIEW: ICERAYS @ BRAHMAS (GAME #54)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

at

LONE STAR BRAHMAS

Saturday, March 19 at 7:30 P.M.

Game #54 • NAHL Game #595 • Series: LSB leads 8-2-1
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 close the book on their 12-game season series with the Lone Star Brahmas from the NYTEX Sports Centre.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays  have now dropped three-straight against the Brahmas overall and four-in-a-row on the road, falling to 3-6-2 on the season. Their record at the NYTEX Sports Centre dipped to 2-8-3 while seeing their overall record move to 11-12-4. The IceRays have split a road weekend with the Brahmas just twice in three seasons.

Last Night: The IceRays allowed three goals in the third period en route to a 4-2 loss to the Lone Star Brahmas on Friday night at the NYTEX Sports Centre. Brahmas forward Tomas Brejcha (1:46 1st) opened the scoring with a shot from the slot early on, but IceRays forward Drake Lindsay (PP, 7:46 1st) tipped a shot from defenseman Colton Meekhof in front of the net to tie the game, 1-1. IceRays forward Toby Kircher (4:38 2nd) gave the IceRays the lead heading into the final period, but the Brahmas found answers early and late. Forward Alex Berardinelli (PP, 3:25 3rd) tied the game at 2-2 during a 5-on-3 power play, then newcomer Joseph Berg (16:56 3rd) scored the game-winner in the final minutes with Berardinelli (EN, 18:52 3rd) sealing the 4-2 win. Brahmas netminder Corbin Kaczperski stopped 20 of 22 shots in the win, while IceRays goalie Dryden McKay halted 26 of 29 shots in the loss.

Unlucky Number: The IceRays slipped in the third period of last night’s game and dropped after holding the lead through two periods. It was just the second time this season the IceRays failed to win when leading after the second period with the other coming on September 25 at the NAHL Showcase against the Springfield Jr. Blues (3-1 L). The IceRays also allowed three goals in the third period in that game. The IceRays have conceded the lead but won in overtime twice (Nov. 19 vs. LSB, 4-3 W; Dec. 4 @ ODA, 5-4 W) while winning in regulation 17 times when holding their second period lead.

Low Output: While the IceRays have been maintaining nearly a .500 record for the last few weeks, the offense has been struggling to produce high goal numbers. The team had been held to three goals or less in each of their last five games and 20 of their last 23 contests dating back to January 2. In that span, the IceRays have gone 9-11-3 while averaging 2.33 goals per game, but the sample size falls in line with this season’s trends. The IceRays average 2.34 goals per game overall while their season point percentage (.471) remains slightly higher than the trend (.457).

Turning To One: The IceRays have turned to goaltender Dryden McKay over their recent stretch, and the 18-year-old has consistently been strong. McKay has played the team’s last five games and 11 of 13 games with starts in 10 of those games. During his start streak, he has earned a 3-2-0 record with a 1.80 goals-against average and a .944 save percentage to continue as one of the best goalies in the NAHL as of late. Last night was just the third time since January 22 (13 games) that McKay has allowed three goals or more but has kept opponents to three or less in two games since December 4. 

B For Berardinelli: Brahmas forward Alex Berardinelli continues to be a reliable threat for a team looking to chase down the South Division crown. His two goals last night continues his current point streak to seven games, just one shy from equaling his season-high of eight-straight games. In his current run, the Colorado College commit owns eight goals and four assists for 12 points with two multi-goal games. Last night was also his fifth multi-goal game while owning two hat-tricks already this year. He becomes just the third Brahmas player to eclipse the 50-point plateau, joining Sebastian Vidmar (80 points) and Ludvig Larsson (55 points) from the 2014-15 season in that illustrious club.

Home, Sweet Home: The Brahmas close out their eight-game home stand tonight, and the time at the NYTEX Sports Centre has aided in their chase for the division title. Lone Star has now own five-straight at home as well as six of seven during the stand, outscoring their opposition 27-15 including a shutout of Topeka and holding opponents under three goals in five of seven games. The only team to defeat the Brahmas in back-to-back games at home is the Wichita Falls Wildcats, dropping them on Dec. 11 & 12. Since that time, the Brahmas own a 12-2-0 record from their home confines.

South Division Standings:
x-Wichita Falls Wildcats (39-10-4, 82 PTS)
x-Lone Star Brahmas (35-11-7, 77 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (31-20-1, 63 PTS)
Corpus Christi IceRays (22-25-6, 50 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (22-26-4, 48 PTS)
e-Amarillo Bulls (11-38-4, 26 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays return to the American Bank Center on Friday, March 25 at 7:11 p.m. to open a two-game set against the Odessa Jackalopes. Tickets are available at www.Ticketmaster.com and the American Bank Center Box Office. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsJuice.com, FASTHockey.com, and 87.7FM in-arena.