Loading Scoreboard...

PREVIEW: ICERAYS @ BULLS (GAME #34)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS @ AMARILLO BULLS

Friday, January 20 • 7:05 P.M. • Amarillo Civic Center • Amarillo, TX
NAHL Game #380 • Game #34 • Road Game #17 • Series: COR leads 4-2-0-0
Radio: SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM)
Video: Hockey TV • Twitter: @goicerays

Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. with Countdown To Faceoff

Tonight’s Game: The IceRays continue their four-game stretch with the Amarillo Bulls by traveling to the Amarillo Civic Center to begin the final weekend of the season series.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays are ahead in the season series and will win the head-to-head matchup outright with one win in their next two games after going 4-2-0-0 through six games. The IceRays now stand at 25-42-3 through seven seasons against the Bulls while owning a 12-22-2 record at the Amarillo Civic Center.

Last Game: The IceRays were held off the scoreline thanks to an impressive goaltending performance during their 3-0 loss to the Amarillo Bulls on Friday night at the American Bank Center. Bulls forward Brendan Walkom (12:45 2nd) didn’t open the scoring this game until midway through the second period for the lone goal in the first two frames. Bulls forward Steven Ipri (1:08 3rd) deflected a shot from the blue line to double the lead, 2-0, early in the third period, and an empty net goal by Bulls forward Eric Cooley (EN, 18:29 3rd) sealed the IceRays’ fate in the 3-0 defeat. Bulls netminder Brandon Bussi (8-4-3) stopped all 36 shots faced in the shutout win, while IceRays goaltender Camden Burggrabe (4-4-1) turned aside 29 of 31 shots in the loss.

Road Trippin’: This weekend marks the beginning of the team’s second-longest road trip of the season: a three-week trek through northern and west Texas as well as Louisiana. The IceRays will travel roughly 3,194 miles round trip during their yearly three-week trip through the end of January while finishing a season series, making their first trip to Odessa, and returning to Shreveport for the second time. In the team’s 10-game road trip to start the season, the IceRays traveled 2,877 miles and earned a 4-3-1-2 record. Over the last four years, the IceRays are 11-11-2-1 in their January road trip.

Closing Time: The IceRays’ four-game win streak and six-game point streak came to a close on Friday night but stands as the team’s best stretch of the season. During the six-game stretch, the IceRays were 5-0-0-1 while outscoring opponents 23-11 and keeping opponents to two goals of less in four of six contests. The power play was also buzzing during the stretch, going 5-for-18 (27.78%) while also owning a 19-for-21 (90.48%) conversion on the penalty kill.

Positivity: Despite the loss, the IceRays have held a positive record over their last three games, which ties a season-high stretch dating back to November 4-11, during which the IceRays were 8-6-1-2 at their peak. In fact, the IceRays also matched during their last three games their highest difference from .500 for the season, which still stands at two games.

Fresh Face: The IceRays recalled defenseman Trevor Wilhelm from the St. Louis Jr. Blues (NA3HL) on Thursday for the weekend set. The St. Louis native was invited to training camp prior to the season before returning to his hometown. He was later tendered by the IceRays in November as the second member of the 30-man protected list for 2017-18. Wilhelm owns 10 goals and 16 assists for 26 points with a +16 rating through 30 games while earning Divisional Star of the Week in October and runner-up for NA3HL Defenseman of the Month in December. He sits seventh among NA3HL defenseman in goals and 16th in scoring.

Dearly Departed: The Amarillo Bulls also saw a change on their blue line. Defenseman Jeff Solow earned a commitment to Merrimack College on Thursday and joined the team immediately due to injuries and roster movement for the NCAA Division I program in the Hockey East. Solow leaves Amarillo second on the team in scoring with seven goals and 20 assists for 27 points as well as tied for fourth among NAHL defenseman. Two of the team’s current top-three point scorers have now left for other programs including Kosta Likourezos, who was traded to the New Jersey Titans last week.

Load The Buss: In just his second game with the Bulls, goaltender Brandon Bussi earned his first shutout with his new team and third of the season in just 17 games between the Bulls and New Jersey Titans. Prior to this, the Bulls only had one shutout win this season on September 22 against the Titans when Bussi was the starting netminder for New Jersey against his new teammate, Nikita Babintsev. Bussi has helped his teams earn points in four-straight games as well as seven of eight games dating back to November 12, earning a 5-1-2 record with two shutouts (Dec. 10 vs. FAI; Jan. 13 @ COR).

South Division Standings:
Lone Star Brahmas (29-8-1-0, 59 PTS)
Wichita Falls Wildcats (21-9-3-1, 46 PTS)
Shreveport Mudbugs (22-11-1-1, 46 PTS)
Corpus Christi IceRays (15-14-1-3, 34 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (13-17-7-1, 34 PTS)

Odessa Jackalopes (13-16-4-0, 30 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (11-24-2-1, 25 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays close the season series with the Amarillo Bulls on Saturday, Jan. 21 at 7:05 p.m. from the Amarillo Civic Center. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM) and Hockey TV.