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PREVIEW: ICERAYS @ MUDBUGS (GAME #39)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS @ SHREVEPORT MUDBUGS

Saturday, February 4 • 7:11 P.M. • George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum • Shreveport, LA
NAHL Game #449 • Game #39 • Road Game #22 • Series: COR leads 6-1-0-1
Radio: SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM)
Video: Hockey TV • Twitter: @goicerays

Coverage begins at 6:55 p.m. with Countdown To Faceoff

Tonight’s Game: The IceRays complete their six-game, three-week road trip when they close their two-game weekend set against the Shreveport Mudbugs from George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays now own four-straight wins against the Mudbugs and points in six-straight games since October 29 following last night’s win, which also gives the IceRays at least a share of the season series with a 6-1-0-1 record. The IceRays can clinch the season series with a win in one of their final four meetings. All-time, the IceRays are now 27-26-6 in 57 games against the Mudbugs including WPHL and CHL franchise meetings.

Last Night: The IceRays held off the Shreveport Mudbugs late in the game to take a 2-1 win on Friday night from George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum. Scoring began late in the first period when IceRays forward David Thomson (19:03 1st) swatted a puck from mid-air into the net to take a 1-0 lead. On the second penalty of the game, IceRays forward Larry Jungwirth (PP, 11:17 2nd) ripped a one-time slap shot from the left circle through traffic to double the road side’s lead, 2-0. The Mudbugs answered when forward Cameron Cook (7:26 3rd) took a shot from the right wall and cut the lead in half, 2-1. Despite a late push with the extra skater, the IceRays held off the Mudbugs for the 2-1 victory. IceRays goaltender Camden Burggrabe (6-4-1) stopped 27 of 28 shots in the win, while Mudbugs netminder John Roberts (10-9-1) halted 26 of 28 shots in the loss.

Road Update: The IceRays have “won” their six-game road trip thanks to last night’s win, now owning wins in four of five games played with one more remaining tonight. The team owns points in ten of their last 12 games and wins in nine of those while keeping opponents to three goals or less now in 12-straight games dating back to December 10. The recent run has also helped them to the second-best record in the South Division over the last 10 games.

Close Calls: The IceRays have played in three-straight one-goal games, winning two of three contests while also seeing more games as of late finish with close scorelines. Six of the team’s last 11 games have resulted in one-goal contests, and the IceRays own a 4-1-0-1 record since December 16 in this situation. Exactly one-third of the team’s one-goal contests have come since mid-December in less than half the time of their previous 12 occurences, and now the IceRays are 8-6-1-3 when finishing in one-goal games.

Early Start: The first goal of the game last night went to the IceRays for just the second time over their last seven games and first in three games. However, getting off to an early start has been a strong suit this season for the IceRays, earning a 12-4-0-1 record with last night’s victory. That ranks ninth in win percentage (.735) among all NAHL teams and fourth in the South Division, only trailing Lone Star (.923), Wichita Falls (.810) and Shreveport (.762) despite owning the sixth-lowest number of first goals in contests (17).

#IceBurg: IceRays goaltender Camden Burggrabe continues to help provide a strong tandem in net, and his recent performances are evident of that. The win is his second-straight following a three-game skid, but more importantly he’s kept opponents to three goals or less in each of his last four games as well as 10 of 12 appearances in net with the only exceptions on October 8 (7-6 OTL @ TOP) and November 26 (5-2 L vs. AMA). The 19-year-old goaltender now owns a 6-4-1 record with a 2.37 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage.

Slipping: The Mudbugs have run into a difficult run as of late, now dropping their fourth-straight game since January 16. The losing skid matches their season-high set from December 17-31, dropping three to the IceRays and one to the Lone Star Brahmas. However, unlike that streak, the Mudbugs have picked up points in two of those games and still have points in eight of their last ten games. They are still sitting at the pinnacle of their season from a record stand point, sitting nine games over .500, which is just two games under their season-best.

South Division Standings:
Lone Star Brahmas (34-8-1-0, 69 PTS)
Wichita Falls Wildcats (23-12-3-1, 50 PTS)
Shreveport Mudbugs (22-12-1-2, 47 PTS)
Corpus Christi IceRays (19-15-1-3, 42 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (15-20-4-0, 34 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (13-20-7-1, 34 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (14-25-3-1, 32 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays return home to the American Bank Center to kick-off a four-week home stand on Friday, Feb. 10 at 7:05 p.m. when they host the Odessa Jackalopes on Teacher Appreciation Night. Tickets are available at the American Bank Center Box Office and Ticketmaster.com. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsJuice.com, Hockey TV and 87.7FM in-arena.