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PREVIEW: ICERAYS @ BRAHMAS (GAME #58)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS @ LONE STAR BRAHMAS

Sunday, April 2 • 4:00 P.M. • NYTEX Sports Centre • North Richland Hills, TX
NAHL Game #648 • Game #58 • Road Game #30 • Series: LSB leads 6-4-0-0
Radio: SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM)
Video: Hockey TV • Twitter: @goicerays

Coverage begins at 3:45 p.m. with Countdown To Faceoff

Tonight’s Game: The IceRays complete their final road trip of the regular season with the series finale against the Lone Star Brahmas from the NYTEX Sports Centre.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays have earned points in five-straight games against the Brahmas since December 10 despite dropping the season series with just one game remaining, owning a 4-4-1-1 record through 10 meetings with a 1-3-0-0 record at the NYTEX Sports Centre. The IceRays have a 16-16-6 record against the Brahmas along with a 4-11-3 road record.

Last Night: The IceRays posted three goals in the third period to take a 5-2 win over the Mudbugs on Saturday night from George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum. IceRays forward Larry Jungwirth (2:12 1st) began the scoring into a yawning goal to jump ahead 1-0, and IceRays center David Thomson (PP, 9:19 1st) deflected a pass just in front of the net to double the lead, 2-0. Mudbugs forward Kyle Kawamura (17:48 1st) scored his first NAHL goal to draw within one at 2-1. The IceRays jumped out early in the third period thanks to forward Nathan Bryer (3:00 3rd), but Mudbugs forward Frankie Melton (4:21 3rd) answered shortly after for a 3-2 scoreline. A little help off a Mudbugs defenseman for IceRays defenseman Cody Fleckentstein (13:58 3rd) gave the IceRays a 4-2 lead, and IceRays forward Garrett Hallford (EN, 18:50 3rd) finished the scoreline against his former team for the 5-2 win. IceRays netminder Camden Burggrabe turned away 28 of 30 shots in the win, while Mudbugs goaltender John Roberts halted 30 of 34 shots in the loss.

Settled In: With help from Odessa last night, the IceRays nearly locked themselves into third place in the South Division with just three games remaining. The IceRays need to earn two points or have the Wildcats drop two points over the next seven days to finish in the best position in junior franchise history. The Mudbugs have claimed second place, which means that the IceRays could play Shreveport in the opening playoff round. The Wildcats would need to win both games against the IceRays next week with at least one of those in regulation and hope Corpus Christi has to lose today in order for them to earn third place.

Going In Committee: One of the major successes this season for the IceRays is their scoring-by-committee approach throughout the lineup. Currently, the IceRays have 12 players with 20 or more points this season, and four players currently sit in the top-10 for IceRays single-season goals: Brad Power (5th, 23), David Thomson (8th, 20), Mason Krueger (9th, 19) and Nathan Bryer (10th, 18). Seven total players own double-digit goals, including the four listed above, Larry Jungwirth (14), Cody Fleckenstein (13) and Josh Tripp (12). The offensive output compared to defense is the best in junior franchise history. The IceRays have never recorded a positive goal differential and currently own a +24 differential, which is 30 goals higher than the previous best set in 2012-13 (-6).

Points!: With last night’s win, the IceRays set a new junior franchise record for points in a single season, reaching 69 points with three games remaining. That breaks the previous mark of 67 set in the 2014-15 season, and it’s the best point total since the 2006-07 CHL season, during which the IceRays recorded 77 points in 64 games. With one point, the IceRays would reach 70 points for just the fifth time in franchise history. The best season was the inaugural 1998-99 season, recording 86 points in 69 games, and this year’s team has a point-per-game (1.21) that ranks second behind year one (1.25).

Oh My Brahma: The Lone Star Brahmas close the book on the 2016-17 season with their game tonight in a historic year for the organization. With one point tonight, the Brahmas will break their junior franchise record for points in one season after already setting a new franchise record for wins in a single season, breaking the 42-win mark from the 2008-09 season. Two points tonight will also tie a franchise record for points in a single season, which would tie the mark set also by the 2008-09 season. That season was also the only year the Brahmas organization earned a league championship.

Higher Ceiling: While the Brahmas’ player scoring numbers may seem under whelming for a team sitting 2nd in the NAHL standings, the potential scoring for the program shows a better trend with numerous players out due to injury and rest. For instance, three of the team’s top-four point-per-game producers (Drake Glover, Troy York, Hunter Stanley) missed at least eight games during the season, and Simon Loof, the team’s best offensive defenseman, missed 13 games this season but still owns 26 points. Had those players not missed any time, Glover would be atop the team with 53 points and the Brahmas would have six 40-point producers with Stanley sitting fourth in scoring (47 points) and York sliding into third (49 points).

South Division Standings:
y-Lone Star Brahmas (43-14-2-0, 88 PTS)
x-Shreveport Mudbugs (35-17-2-3, 75 PTS)
x-Corpus Christi IceRays (30-18-4-5, 69 PTS)
x-Wichita Falls Wildcats (29-22-5-2, 65 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (25-25-6-2, 58 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (21-27-8-2, 52 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (18-33-4-1, 41 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays begin their final home weekend of the regular season on Friday, Apr. 7 at 7:05 p.m. when they host the Wichita Falls Wildcats at the American Bank Center for Alcohol & Drug Abuse Night as well as $1 beer night. Tickets are available at the American Bank Center Box Office or Ticketmaster.com. For groups or suites, call the IceRays at 361-814-PUCK. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsJuice.com, Hockey TV and 87.7FM in-arena.