PREVIEW: ICERAYS @ JACKALOPES (GAME #37)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS @ ODESSA JACKALOPES

Saturday, January 28 • 7:05 P.M. • Ector County Coliseum • Odessa, TX
NAHL Game #418 • Game #37 • Road Game #20 • Series: ODA leads 3-0-0-0
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 enter the second half of their three-week road trip and the last of two games against the Odessa Jackalopes from the Ector County Coliseum.

Head-To-Head: The Jackalopes have won all three meetings so far and can earn at least a share of the season series with a win over the IceRays tonight. All three games have been decided by just one goal (2-1, 2-1, 3-2). Odessa has also won five-straight dating back to last season with the last IceRays win coming on Mar. 5, 2016 on the road. The IceRays have taken hold of the franchise series since 2011-12 with a 35-20-4 record and are 16-12-3 at the Ector County Coliseum.

Last night: The IceRays came back late in the third period but couldn’t finish the comeback in a 3-2 loss to the Jackalopes on Friday night at the Ector County Coliseum. Jackalopes forward Tyler Pietrowski (3:59 2nd) opened the scoring in the middle period for the home side to take an initial 1-0 lead. Late in the frame, IceRays forward Larry Jungwirth (19:33 2nd) tied the game, 1-1, with a bar-down shot right in front of the net. Two quick goals by Jackalopes forward Ludwig Stenlund (PP, 8:23 3rd) and defenseman Nick Wilson (9:23 3rd) pushed Odessa to a 3-1 lead. With the netminder pulled, IceRays forward David Baskerville (EA, 18:21 3rd) drew the road side within one, 3-2, but another late push couldn’t force overtime. Jackalopes goaltender Jonny Hogue stopped 34 of 36 shots in the win, while IceRays netminder Tomáš Vomáčka halted 29 of 32 shots in the loss.

Road Update: Halfway through their three-week road trip, the IceRays have won two of their first three games but suffered their first loss of the road swing last night. It’s the team’s first regulation road loss since December 9 in Lone Star and just their second regulation loss since that game against the Brahmas. The IceRays still own points in eight of their last 10 games and have been outscoring their opponents 36-21 in that span. Additionally, the IceRays have not conceded more than three goals in 10-straight contests.

Tightly Knit: The IceRays and Jackalopes continue to play in tight contests, and for the third game in three attempts, the two finish with just a one-goal differential. Over the last two seasons, the two teams have been decided by one goal in 10 of their 15 games (66.67%) including four-straight meetings, but the Jackalopes have won seven of those 10 contests, sending the IceRays to a 3-5-2 record. This season, the IceRays are 6-2-1-3 in one-goal games not played against Odessa, while the Jackalopes are 5-4-4-0 in non-Corpus Christi one-goal games.

We Are Jung: The IceRays continue to benefit from the addition of forward Larry Jungwirth as evidenced by last night’s contest. With his goal in the second period, he now has points in four of his first five games with the IceRays including three-straight, earning three goals and two assists for five points. He currently shares the team lead in points for January with center Mason Krueger, who sits with three goals and two assists for five points and also points in three-straight.

Weekend Split: Friday night games haven’t worked in the IceRays’ favor so far this season, and a loss last night continues that trend. The IceRays are now 4-9-0-1 in games occurring on a Friday with losses in four of their last five games on Friday nights. However, the team improves when heading into Saturday games and the second of a two-game set. The IceRays improve to 6-5-1-1 on Saturday’s with wins in three-straight Saturday’s since December 10 and are 8-7-0-0 when playing their second game in two nights. The IceRays own wins in four of their last five occurrences in this scenario.

Add and Subtract: The Jackalopes have gained a boost from a few key additions over the last few weeks despite the injury bug gripping the team. The Jackalopes remain without former USHL defensemen Christian Hausinger and Zac Hermann and defenseman Rune Kirby for the rest of this weekend but maintain new and familiar faces. Defenseman Cooper Zech returned from his recent stint in the USHL with the Muskegon Lumberjacks and owns 16 points through 17 games, forward Peyton Frantti joined the roster from the Topeka RoadRunners following last weekend’s games with 26 points through 36 games, and forward Chris Donaldson is expected to return tonight from the injured reserve.

South Division Standings:
Lone Star Brahmas (31-8-1-0, 63 PTS)
Wichita Falls Wildcats (22-11-3-1, 48 PTS)
Shreveport Mudbugs (22-11-1-1, 46 PTS)
Corpus Christi IceRays (17-15-1-3, 38 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (13-19-7-1, 34 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (14-18-4-0, 32 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (13-24-2-1, 29 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays head into the final weekend of their three-week road trip on Friday, Feb. 3 at 7:05 p.m. when they take on the Shreveport Mudbugs from George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM) and Hockey TV.