PREVIEW: ICERAYS @ JACKALOPES (GAME #22)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

at

ODESSA JACKALOPES

Thursday, December 3 at 7:05 P.M.

Game #22 • NAHL Game #261 • Series: ODA leads 2-0-0
Ector County Coliseum • Odessa, 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: Following their second weekend off in November, the IceRays kick off December with their second trip to the Ector County Coliseum to begin a two-game end-of-week set against the Odessa Jackalopes.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays were swept in their series opener for the four time in five seasons on Nov. 13-14, dropping to 0-1-1 while earning a point through a shootout. The Jackalopes have bested the IceRays at the Ector County Coliseum, winning 14 of 26 meetings while the IceRays own the franchise series at 29-14-3.

Last Game: The IceRays couldn’t keep pace during their 4-1 loss to the Lone Star Brahmas on Saturday, Nov. 21 at the American Bank Center. Brahmas forward Alex Berardinelli (PP, 4:30 1st; 1:58 2nd; 5:16 2nd) scored the first three goals of the game for the team’s first hat-trick of the season to vault ahead to a 3-0 lead. Brahmas forward Carson Kelley (10:05 3rd) put up his second of the weekend to quadruple their lead, 4-0. Later in the final period, IceRays forward Tobias Kircher (PP, 14:02 3rd) scored his first IceRays goal since joining the team to break the shutout, but the home side couldn’t rally late and fell, 4-1. Brahmas netminder Conor O’Brien turned aside 18 of 19 shots in the win, and IceRays goaltender Graham Hunt saved 27 of 31 shots in the loss.

Thank You, Sir: The IceRays hosted 6,014 fans in their last game at Stars & Stripes Night, their largest crowd of the season. It’s the sixth time in three seasons the IceRays have crested over the 6,000-fan marker, the eighth time since becoming a junior team in 2010-11, and the 11th time in franchise history. Stars & Stripes Night have drawn the largest crowds over the last two years, totaling 12,979 fans in just those two games alone. The three-game set drew in 12,963 total fans including the Kids’ Day Game and Frosty Friday and is the largest crowd for a full weekend in IceRays franchise history, overtaking the mark set on Mar. 28-29, 2014 of 12,756 fans on Pack The House Weekend.

Toby Or Not Toby: The power play goal by Tobias Kircher on Saturday night broke two trends for the IceRays. The goal is the first by Kircher since joining the IceRays on Oct. 10, breaking a ten-game goal-less drought and helping to earn his first two points in the last three games. The goal also snaps a six-game drought on the power play dating back to Oct. 24 against Topeka. In that span, the IceRays were held without a power play goal in 19-straight attempts, one of the longest stretches in the past six seasons, and dropped their conversion rate from 11.86% to a team-low 9.09% before resting now at exactly 10.00%. The team currently ranks last on the man-advantage.

Falling Back: Saturday’s game ended the short five-game November schedule, and the IceRays earned a 1-3-1 record for two points in that two-week stretch. The full two points came as an overtime winner over Lone Star on Thursday, and the shootout loss took a point in Odessa against the Jackalopes on Nov. 14. The point total is their lowest of the season, overtaking that mark from their September schedule (2-4-0, four points) with one less game played. In December, the IceRays will play eight games with half at the American Bank Center.

A Look Ahead: This weekend begins an eight-game schedule for the month of December while being active in four of the next five weeks. The IceRays will play two teams across the entire month: Odessa and Amarillo. Back-to-back weekends against the Bulls are sandwiched by two-game series against the Jackalopes. Each team will play a weekend set at home while the IceRays host the Jackalopes in a mid-week set before their trecherous travel to Topeka in a four-game, five-day arrangements that has the IceRays traveling around 900 miles on New Year’s Eve.

Jack Attacked: The Jackalopes braved through a difficult stretchof the schedule while only gaining one point in a 2-1 shootout loss and 6-3 regulation loss against the Wichita Falls Wildcats from the Ector County Coliseum. Forward Hampus Sjodahl continues to lead Odessa with three more points (all assists) while being one of three players with multi-point weekends across both games along with Gray Marr (two goals) and Daniel Kiraly (goal, assist). Goaltender Dean Shatzer stopped 35 of 36 shots in the shootout loss on Friday while Gunnar Rivers saved 23 of 29 shots in Saturday’s loss.

Tough Road: Since their last meeting, the Jackalopes played four of their last five games against the league-leading Wildcats, dropping in all four of those contests while going 1-3-1. They were outscored by nearly a 2:1 ratio in that stretch of games while playing three of five games at home. Their lone win came against the Amarillo Bulls on Nov. 22 in a solo trip to the Amarillo Civic Center.

South Division Standings:
Wichita Falls Wildcats (20-3-2, 42 PTS)
Lone Star Brahmas (15-2-4, 34 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (16-11-0, 32 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (10-8-2, 22 PTS)

Corpus Christi IceRays (6-12-3, 15 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (5-18-3, 13 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays round out their two-game set against the Odessa Jackalopes on Friday, Dec. 4 from the Ector County Coliseum. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM) & FASTHockey.com.