PREVIEW: ICERAYS @ BRAHMAS (PLAYOFF GAME #5)

SOUTH DIVISION FINALS – GAME 2

#3 CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS @ #1 LONE STAR BRAHMAS

Saturday, April 29 • 7:30 P.M. • NYTEX Sports Centre • North Richland Hills, TX
Series: LSB leads 1-0
Radio: SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM)
Video: Hockey TV • Twitter: @goicerays

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

Tonight’s Game: The Corpus Christi IceRays look to level the series with the Lone Star Brahmas on Game 2 of the South Division Finals from the NYTEX Sports Centre. The two sides will play a best-of-five series to determine who represents the South Division at the Robertson Cup Semifinals.

Head-To-Head: In their first postseason meeting with the Brahmas in the junior franchise, the IceRays slipped in Game 1 by one goal. During the regular season, the IceRays dropped seven of their 11 meetings with the Brahmas for a 4-5-1-1 record but kept their goal differential to just 26-25 in favor of the Brahmas. The IceRays are now 1-4-1-0 at the NYTEX Sports Centre this season along with a 4-12-4 record all-time including regular season. The Brahmas have taken all three postseason meetings including the 2010 CHL Playoffs with two of those coming in overtime, and the IceRays own a 16-17-7 record in the junior franchise both in the regular season and playoffs.

Last Night: The IceRays saw a third period lead slip away in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Lone Star Brahmas on Game 1 of the South Division Finals on Friday night from the NYTEX Sports Centre. Brahmas forward Troy York (3:44 2nd) opened the scoring in the second period on a cross-ice pass from Simon Loof to take the 1-0 lead. The IceRays answered back with three-straight goals starting with forward David Baskerville (5:01 2nd) caused by a Brendan Miller turnover to tie the game, 1-1. IceRays center Cole Filler (16:19 2nd) answered next with a snipe from the left circle on a rush, and IceRays forward Griffin Loughran (17:45 2nd) converted on a breakaway to take a 3-1 lead. After a disallowed IceRays goals, the Brahmas came back with two in the third period from forwards Austin O’Rourke (13:17 3rd) and York (19:36 3rd) to force overtime, 3-3. Brahmas forward Justin Addamo (2:26 OT) finished the job in the extra period to take the 4-3 win. Brahmas goaltender Max Prawdzik halted 15 of 18 shots in the win, while IceRays netminder Tomáš Vomáčka stopped 17 of 21 shots in the overtime loss.

Extra Hockey: For the second-straight game, the IceRays met an opponent in overtime but fell in the end result. It’s the first road overtime loss for the IceRays in junior postseason history but second in three attempts, joining the 3-2 overtime loss on Apr. 3, 2015 against the Wenatchee Wild. The IceRays went 2-4 in the regular season in overtime games and picked up their first loss in that situation since March 18 (10 games) against the Odessa Jackalopes. The IceRays are now 1-2 in overtime games over their last three junior postseason, but including the professional franchise they own a 2-6 record in overtime playoff games. The lone professional franchise win came in Game 1 of the 2nd Round of the 2000 WPHL Playoffs with a 7-6 overtime win over the New Mexico Scorpions in that eventual 3-1 series loss.

Spread The Love: A pair of IceRays scored just their second goals of the postseason in last night’s overtime loss, continuing the narrative of a team-first, “spread the love” mentality. Four players (Baskerville, Bryer, Loughran, Power) all have claimed two goals in a single postseason, matching the same number from the 2013 NAHL Playoff roster (Berkley, Jarosz, Romig, Sulmonte), but more importantly at least four current players are in the top-10 for single-playoff and career playoff points in all categories with five in the assist category led by Brendan Miller (3). Four players lead the team with three points (Loughran, Jungwirth, Krueger, Miller), and 14 of the 19 skaters to play thus far have all recorded at least one point, which matches the total point earners from 2013 but with two fewer players.

Extra Credit: The Brahmas met in their second-straight overtime game as well and have kept with a better result in the extra period both in junior hockey and professionally. The Brahmas junior program has owned a 5-3 overtime record, getting wins in two-straight and breaking a three-game skid in that situation since the start of the 2016 South Division Semifinals. Their overtime record includes a 2-1 double overtime win on Apr. 10, 2015 against Wenatchee in the series-opening game of the South Division Semifinals. The professional franchise rested just above .500 with a 10-9 record in their nine trips to the postseason including one against the IceRays in the 2010 CHL Playoffs. All together, the Brahmas have recorded a 15-12 record as the Brahmas organization, which does not include the carry over from the Texas Tornado junior franchise.

1st Isn’t The Worst: For their third-straight series, the Brahmas claimed the opening game of a best-of-series since the 2016 Robertson Cup Playoffs. In fact, the team hosts a 4-2-0 record in the series-opening game, only falling to the Topeka RoadRunners in the first of the 2015 South Division Final (5-1) and the first of the 2015 Robertson Cup Semifinals to the Austin Bruins (3-1). In the four games the Brahmas have won, three of those have been by one goal with only the 2016 South Division Semifinals opener being the exception (3-1). In the second game of a series, the Brahmas own a 4-1 record, only falling in the 2016 South Division Semifinals against Topeka on Apr. 16, 2016 (2-1 loss). After an opening win, the Brahmas are so far undefeated at 3-0-0.

Loughed In: IceRays forward Griffin Loughran has found his game in the postseason and has been the most productive player on the roster by virtue of points in games. Despite sharing the team lead in points, he’s the only player thus far to spread his three points over three different games, earning points in his first two games of the South Division Semifinals against Shreveport and one goal last night in the second period. He joins forwards Emil Romig (2013) and Beau Walker (2013) as the only players in junior postseason history to earn points in three of four games despite trailing the totals of Romig (2+3=5) and Walker (0+4=4). In addition, after averaging just over one penalty per game in the regular season (95 PIMs over 32 games), he’s been clean in three of four games in the playoffs, only recording two penalties in Game 2 of the South Division Semifinals.

South Division Semifinals (Best-of-Five):
#1 Lone Star Brahmas vs. #4 Wichita Falls Wildcats
Game 1: Wildcats @ Brahmas – LSB wins 3-0
Game 2: Wildcats @ Brahmas – LSB wins 7-3
Game 3: Brahmas @ Wildcats – LSB wins 4-3 (OT)

#2 Shreveport Mudbugs vs. #3 Corpus Christi IceRays
Game 1: IceRays @ Mudbugs – COR wins 2-0
Game 2: IceRays @ Mudbugs – COR wins 5-3
Game 3: Mudbugs @ IceRays – COR wins 2-1 (OT)

South Division Finals (Best-of-Five):
#1 Lone Star Brahmas vs. #3 Corpus Christi IceRays
Game 1: IceRays @ Brahmas – LSB wins 4-3 (OT)
Game 2: IceRays @ Brahmas –7:30 p.m.
Game 3: Brahmas @ IceRays –7:15 p.m.
**Game 4: Brahmas @ IceRays –7:15 p.m.
**Game 5: IceRays @ Brahmas –7:30 p.m.
**if necessary

Next Game: The IceRays will continue the South Division Finals against the Brahmas with Game 3 on Tuesday, May 2 at 7:15 p.m. from the Dr. Pepper StarCenter in McKinney, Texas. Tickets are available at the arena the day of the game or by emailing tickets@goicerays.com. Coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. on SportsRadio Corpus Christi and Hockey TV.