PREVIEW: ICERAYS @ BULLS (GAME #46)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

@

AMARILLO BULLS

Saturday, February 20 at 7:05 P.M.

Game #46 • NAHL Game #500 • Series: COR leads 6-4-1
Amarillo Civic Center • Amarillo, TX
Radio: SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM) • Video: FASTHockey.com

Mobile: TuneIn Radio Twitter: @goicerays

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

Tonight’s Game: The IceRays close out their 2015-16 season series against the Amarillo Bulls at the Amarillo Civic Center.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays have earned two-straight wins at the Amarillo Civic Center and take a one-game edge with one game left at a 6-4-1 record. Over the last two seasons, the IceRays and Bulls have matched up equally, going 10-7-2 after last night’s game. All-time, the IceRays are 21-39-3 against the Bulls while going 9-18-2 at the Amarillo Civic Center.

Last Game: The IceRays early goals sank the Amarillo Bulls 4-2 on Friday night at the Amarillo Civic Center. IceRays defenseman Colton Meekhof (4:27 1st) put up the game’s first goal with an open shot in the right circle followed by another from the same area but coming from forward Regen Cavanagh (PP, 12:45 1st) to double the lead, 2-0. Meekhof set up IceRays forward Mason Krueger (PP, 1:51 2nd), who was open again on the right side to triple the lead, 3-0. Bulls forward Michael Forman (6:25 2nd) answered for the home side and cut the lead to 3-1. Bulls forward George Mika redirected a shot in front of the net to draw within one, 3-2. With the Bulls netminder pulled, IceRays forward Drake Lindsay set up Cavanagh (EN, 19:05 3rd) for his second of the night and the sealing goal, 4-2. IceRays goaltender Dryden McKay earned the win, stopping 38 of 40 shots, while Bulls goalie Brian Baker picked up the loss, turning away 28 of 31 shots.

The Longest Quarter: The IceRays closed out the third quarter of the 2015-16 season with a win, finishing at 6-7-2 with 14 points. The total is rather consistent to the team’s overall record, staying one win over their first quarter record (5-8-2, 12 points) and three under their second (and best) quarter (8-6-1, 17 points). While they were outscored only by five goals (42-37), the IceRays were held to three goals or less in all but two games (both wins) and earned their second shutout of the season in the process. Two players earned at least ten points and three scored at least five goals. Forward Drake Lindsay earned a point per game, earning 12 points (6 goals, 6 assists) in 12 games despite serving a three-game suspension and led all players in all scoring categories during that span. Forward Carter Johnson was right behind him with 11 points (5 goals, 6 assists) and earned the team’s first hat-trick on February 11. Forward Regen Cavanagh also earned five goals during that time.

Don’t Let It End: IceRays goaltender Dryden McKay continues to stay hot and play strong, earning his second win in three starts and points in all three of those games. He has conceded fewer than two goals in now six of his last seven games as well as nine of his last 11 appearances while moving into the top-20 among all NAHL goaltenders in goals-against average (T-18th) and save percentage (18th). McKay has played seven of the team’s last 10 games, going 4-1-1 with a 1.35 goals-against average and a .951 save percentage

Climbing The Ladder: Thanks to a perfect effort last night, the IceRays power play unit is continuing to consistently find ways to earn goals. The unit has scored goals in each of their last four games, going 6-for-21 (28.57%) with two multi-goal games as well as seven of their last eight games. In that span, the man-advantage is 10-for-33 (30.30%) while moving from 20th to 15th in the NAHL. The IceRays now have five-straight games with power play goals against the Bulls, scoring 10-of-27 (37.04%) chances and earning power play goals in four of five games at the Amarillo Civic Center (8-for-20, 40.00%).

End Of The Road: The Amarillo Bulls finish out a six-game home stand and a very long stretch of games at the Amarillo Civic Center. In their immediate stay, the Bulls have earned a 1-4-0 record with one game remaining while spending 12 of their last 15 games at home dating back to December 18 against Corpus Christi. In that time, the Bulls have struggled to find success, going 3-11-1 while earning a 2-9-1 record at the Amarillo Civic Center. The Bulls will close out their final quarter of the season with 10 of 15 games on the road including five against Wichita Falls and four against Topeka.

Playoff Push: With 15 games remaining, the Bulls magic number for elimination is 11, meaning that either 11 points won by the currently holder of fourth place (Corpus Christi) or lost by Amarillo will take them out of contention. In order for them to make the playoffs, they would need the IceRays to go (at worst) 5-11-0 in their final 15 games and the Odessa Jackalopes to go 6-11-1 in their last 17 games with the Bulls going a perfect 15-0-0. The Bulls would need to at least go 10-5-0 and hope the IceRays and Jackalopes do not earn any points the rest of the season. They have the largest hill to climb of teams still in contention for any playoff position with the next largest gap being eight points (Coulee Region Chill, Midwest Division).

South Division Standings:
Wichita Falls Wildcats (34-9-4, 72 PTS)
Lone Star Brahmas (30-10-7, 67 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (28-18-1, 57 PTS)
Corpus Christi IceRays (19-21-5, 43 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (18-21-4, 40 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (10-31-4, 24 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays finish out the month of February with a pivotal two-game set against the Odessa Jackalopes beginning on Friday, Feb. 26 at 7:11 p.m. from the American Bank Center. Tickets are available at www.Ticketmaster.com, the American Bank Center Box Office, or the IceRays Front Office. Coverage begins at 6:55 p.m. on SportsJuice.com, FASTHockey.com, and 87.7FM in-arena.