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PREVIEW: ICERAYS @ BULLS (GAME #35)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS @ AMARILLO BULLS

Saturday, January 21 • 7:05 P.M. • Amarillo Civic Center • Amarillo, TX
NAHL Game #394 • Game #35 • Road Game #18 • Series: COR leads 5-2-0-0
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 play their final game against the Amarillo Bulls in the 2016-17 season from the Amarillo Civic Center.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays earned the season series with last night’s win, improving to 5-2-0-0 with one game remaining the season set tonight. They also have a chance to sweep the Bulls on the road for the first time in junior franchise history. The IceRays now own a 26-42-3 record in the franchise series with a 13-22-2 record at the Amarillo Civic Center.

Last Night: The IceRays surged ahead with a three-goal third period to claim a 5-3 win over the Bulls on Friday night at the Amarillo Civic Center. Bulls forward Brendan Walkom (6:50 1st) opened the scoring to jump out to a 1-0 lead and claim the lone goal of the first period. IceRays forward Griffin Loughran (6:48 2nd) answered on a rebound chance before Bulls forward Nestor Plarsmo (7:37 2nd) earned back the one-goal lead, 2-1. The IceRays scored three unanswered heading through the third period from forwards Mason Krueger (18:32 2nd), Brad Power (PP, 3:29 3rd) and Cole Filler (10:50 3rd) to jump out to a 4-2 lead. Bulls forward Luke Edgerton (PP, 14:30 3rd) broke the scoring streak to draw within one, 4-3, but IceRays forward Nathan Bryer (EN, 19:13 3rd) sealed the game and the 5-3 win. IceRays goaltender Tomáš Vomáčka (11-10-2) stopped 47 of 50 shots in the win, while Bulls netminder Brandon Bussi (8-5-3) halted 22 of 26 shots in the loss.

Cattle Prodded: For the second time in three seasons, the IceRays claimed the season series against the Bulls still with one game remaining in the season set. The only other season series win came in the 2014-15 season, during which the IceRays went 4-3-1 through eight games and was grabbed on the final day of the season at home. Over the last three seasons, the IceRays own a 15-10-2 record after starting first four seasons with only a 11-32-1 record. The IceRays can also claim their first ever road sweep of the Bulls with a win tonight.

Upward Trend: The IceRays have been earning points consistently over the last month and one half while picking up scoring in the process. The team has wins in six of their last eight games and points in seven of those eight contests dating back to December 10 while scoring three goals or more in each of their six wins. In addition, the IceRays are outscoring opponents 28-17 even including being shutout in one contest, and they’ve also improved from two games under .500 to two games over the even mark. The stretch eclipses their previous best point stretch of the season: points in six of seven games from September 21 to October 8 with a 3-1-1-2 record.

Win Machine: IceRays goaltender Tomáš Vomáčka has garnered a lot of attention over the last couple weeks while having the work production as support. The 17-year-old netminder now has wins in five-straight games dating back to December 17 and wins in six of seven starts while keeping opponents to two goals or less in regulation in five of his last seven starts. With that, he also improves to a positive win-loss record for the second time this season after starting the season 1-0-0 at the season-opener.

Take A Walk: Bulls forward Brendan Walkom has been the spark the Bulls have been looking for early in games during this four-game stretch of the IceRays. Thanks to a goal last night, he’s recorded the game’s opening goal in their last three starts and over that time has four points in three contests. He also owns four goals through his first six games of the 2017 calendar year and ranks second on the Bulls roster in goals for the season (14) as well as third in points (23) among active players.

Consistently Special: The Bulls power play unit has solved the IceRays penalty kill over the course of the season, grabbing goals in six-straight meetings after last night’s power play goal. Through seven games, the Bulls are 7-for-31 (22.58%) on the power play against the IceRays but haven’t been overpowering. They’ve only scored more than one power play goal in a meeting once: November 26, when they went 2-for-5 at the American Bank Center. On the other end, the Bulls penalty kill allowed only their second goal in the season series, going 20-for-22 (90.91%) as well as 12-for-13 on home ice.

South Division Standings:
Lone Star Brahmas (30-8-1-0, 61 PTS)
Wichita Falls Wildcats (21-10-3-1, 46 PTS)
Shreveport Mudbugs (22-11-1-1, 46 PTS)
Corpus Christi IceRays (16-14-1-3, 36 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (13-18-7-1, 34 PTS)

Odessa Jackalopes (13-17-4-0, 30 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (12-24-2-1, 27 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays make their first trip to the Ector County Coliseum on Friday, Jan. 27 at 7:05 p.m. to begin a two-game weekend against the Odessa Jackalopes. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM) and Hockey TV.