PREVIEW: ICERAYS @ JACKALOPES (GAME #17)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

at

ODESSA JACKALOPES

Friday, November 13 at 7:05 P.M.

Game #17 • NAHL Game #192 • Series: 0-0
Ector County Coliseum • Odessa, TX
Radio: SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM) • Mobile: TuneIn Radio (KSIX)

Video: FASTHockey.com • Twitter: @goicerays

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

Tonight’s Game: The IceRays look to avoid their second sweep at the hands of the Wichita Falls Wildcats from the Kay Yeager Coliseum in the final of the two-game series.

Head-To-Head: This is the first meeting in the 12-game season series against the Jackalopes. Last year, the IceRays earned a 10-2-0 record against Odessa including a 4-2-0 record at the Ector County Coliseum. Since Odessa joined the NAHL in 2011-12, the IceRays hold a 29-13-2 record while going 12-10-2 in the Permian Basin. It’s the best record against a South Division opponent and one of three over .500 (Lone Star: 8-6-2; New Mexico: 14-5-3).

Last Game: The IceRays were were shut out for the first time this season, 3-0, by the Wichita Falls Wildcats on Saturday, Oct. 31 at the Kay Yeager Coliseum. Wildcats forward Austin Albrecht (4:23 1st) tapped in a back-handed rebound to get the home side on the board first, 1-0, for the fourth-straight time in four meetings. Following a disallowed goal and a delay of game penalty, Wildcats forward Jonathan Lazarus (PP, 5:04 2nd) was found on the back door for a one-time shot to double up the lead, 2-0. Later in the game, Wildcats forward Aleksi Poikola (12:09 3rd) was found in a similar fashion in the right circle to triple the lead, 3-0. Wildcats goaltender Julian Sime saved all 17 shots faced in his first shutout win, and IceRays netminder Graham Hunt turned aside 33 of 36 shots in the loss.

Shut Down: For the first time this season, the IceRays were shut out by an opponent on Saturday night against the Wildcats. Despite the offensive struggles so far, this is the second-longest span without a shutout against to start a season in the past six years, only beaten out by the 2012-13 season when it took 36 games for the IceRays to record a goose egg. The IceRays are averaging 2.94 goals against per game, which ranks 15th in the NAHL and 4th in the South Division ahead of Odessa (16th, 3.00) and Amarillo (19th, 3.53).

Homesick: The IceRays have now dropped five-straight games away from the American Bank Center dating back to the NAHL Showcase on Sep. 26. In that span, the IceRays have been outscored 18-5 in those five games and have been held to two goals or less in every game while earning a 0-4-1 record. The IceRays began the season with a 2-1-0 road record and have slipped to 2-5-1. Including the NAHL Showcase games as contests away from the American Bank Center, the IceRays are now 2-7-1 thus far on the season. The skid is tied for the second-highest active streak and the third-highest in the NAHL this season. Only Amarillo (8) and Kenai River (7, active) have longer non-road wins this year.

October Blues: Previous to the bye-week, the IceRays completed their 10-game October schedule with a 3-5-2 record and eight points. Their point percentage (.400) is the lowest since the team’s inaugural junior year in 2010-11 (.389) and is only one overtime loss greater than that season’s outlook. When the IceRays have played ten games in October (three times), they have averaged nine points. However, over the last six years, the IceRays average 8.50 points in October, regardless of number of games. Their best output in this month came in 2011-12 when the IceRays owned a 5-2-0 record (.714 point percentage).

All Jacked Up: The Jackalopes earned five of six points in a three-game set at home against the Amarillo Bulls on Oct. 22-24, winning 4-2 and 7-4 on Thursday and Friday, respectively, and falling 3-2 in a shootout on Saturday. Ten different players earned multi-point weekends, including five players with four or more points. Forwards Eric Carreras and Hampus Sjodahl each earned five points (one goal, four assists) including a hat-trick on Friday for Carreras. Three different players earned four points: Oliver Celec (three goals, assist), Gray Marr (four assists), and Brandon Tucker (four assists). Goaltender Gunnar Rivers saved 28 of 30 shots in Thursday’s win, and Dean Shatzer saved a total of 69 shots on 75 attempts in Friday’s win and Saturday’s overtime loss.

Odd Scheduling: The IceRays and Jackalopes have seen a strange schedule stretching through November. The IceRays have two weekends off in the month including last weekend and Thanksgiving weekend to total five games. The Jackalopes return to action after two-consecutive weekends off with an odd schedule outlook. Following this weekend’s games, the Jacks play at home on Tuesday against Wichita Falls, go to the Kay Yeager Coliseum Friday, then come back home against Amarillo on Sunday before getting back to normal Friday-Saturday sets. Heading into this weekend, Odessa has the least number of games played in the NAHL.

South Division Standings:
Wichita Falls Wildcats (13-2-2, 28 PTS)
Lone Star Brahmas (9-1-3, 21 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (10-10-0, 20 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (7-5-1, 15 PTS)

Corpus Christi IceRays (5-9-2, 12 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (5-12-2, 12 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays will conclude their weekend series against the Odessa Jackalopes on Saturday, Nov. 14 at 7:05 p.m. from the Ector County Coliseum. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM) & FASTHockey.com.