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PREVIEW: ICERAYS @ MUDBUGS (PLAYOFF GAME #1)

SOUTH DIVISION SEMIFINALS – GAME 1

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS @ SHREVEPORT MUDBUGS

Friday, April 14 • 7:11 P.M. • Hirsch Memorial Coliseum • Shreveport, LA
Series: 0-0
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 Corpus Christi IceRays open the 2015 Robertson Cup Playoffs with Game 1 of the South Division Semifinals with the Shreveport Mudbugs from George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum. The two sides will play a best-of-five series to determine who moves on to the South Division Finals.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays completed their first season series against the Mudbugs at the junior level with a 9-2-0-1 record including going 4-1-0-1 in road meetings, outscoring the Mudbugs only 40-37 with a 5-2-0-1 record in one-goal games throughout the year. The IceRays own a 30-27-6 regular season record against the Mudbugs through the professional and junior franchises, but this is the first postseason meeting in franchise history.

Last Meeting: The IceRays posted three goals in the third period to take a 5-2 win over the Mudbugs on April 1 from George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum. IceRays forward Larry Jungwirth (2:12 1st) began the scoring into a yawning goal to jump ahead 1-0, and IceRays center David Thomson (PP, 9:19 1st) deflected a pass just in front of the net to double the lead, 2-0. Mudbugs forward Kyle Kawamura (17:48 1st) scored his first NAHL goal to draw within one at 2-1. The IceRays jumped out early in the third period thanks to forward Nathan Bryer (3:00 3rd), but Mudbugs forward Frankie Melton (4:21 3rd) answered shortly after for a 3-2 scoreline. A little help off a Mudbugs defenseman for IceRays defenseman Cody Fleckentstein (13:58 3rd) gave the IceRays a 4-2 lead, and IceRays forward Garrett Hallford (EN, 18:50 3rd) finished the scoreline against his former team for the 5-2 win. IceRays netminder Camden Burggrabe turned away 28 of 30 shots in the win, while Mudbugs goaltender John Roberts halted 30 of 34 shots in the loss.

Sputtering Wheels: The IceRays are in the postseason for the ninth time in franchise history, however they have had trouble releasing from the opening round. The IceRays have only won one playoff series coming in the 2000 WPHL Playoffs, winning 2-1 over the El Paso Buzzards before falling to the Mew Mexico Scorpions 3-1 in Round 2. The Corpus Christi Rayz made the 2nd Round of the 2007 CHL Playoffs despite falling in the first round due to a technicality but never won a series. In two previous attempts as a junior team, the IceRays fell short in the opening round with a 1-4-1 record between the 2013 and 2015 Robertson Cup Playoffs. The team’s lone junior win came in their first playoff game in a 2-1 win over Amarillo. The IceRays are 11-23-3 in the postseason over the last 19 years.

It’s A Magic Number: The IceRays are appearing in their third Robertson Cup Playoff series, however the team has yet to come out of the opening round. Their first appearance came in the 2013 South Division Semifinals against the Amarillo Bulls in a best-of-five series starting in Amarillo. The IceRays took on the future 2013 Robertson Cup Champions and claimed Game 1 with a 2-1 victory despite being heavily outshot. The Bulls answered with three-straight wins including a 6-3 victory and back-to-back 5-3 wins to take the series 3-1. The IceRays next appearance came in the 2015 South Division Quarterfinals against the Wenatchee Wild in a best-of-three series at home. The IceRays played their first overtime game in the opener but fell 3-2. Despite two swift goals late in the third period in Game 2, the IceRays were eliminated with a 3-2 regulation loss.

A New Chapter: The Mudbugs enter their first Robertson Cup Playoff series in their first attempt in the NAHL following a long lineage of playoff appearances and successes. The Mudbugs are now entering their 14th playoff appearance combined with the WPHL and CHL with four championships hanging from the rafters, including three WPHL Championships from 1999 to 2001 before the CHL merger and the 2010 CHL Championship before disbanding the organization. In fact, the Mudbugs only missed the postseason once in franchise history during the 2003-04 CHL season with their second-worst record (33-22-1-8, 75 points). Former Head Coach and current GM Scott Muscutt led the team to two titles, four championship appearances and 10 playoff appearances in his 11 years as coach, getting titles in his first and final seasons. Overall, the Mudbugs own a 86-46-14 record (.640) in 146 postseason appearances for the franchise over their 15-year history.

South Division Semifinals (Best-of-Five):
#1 Lone Star Brahmas vs. #4 Wichita Falls Wildcats
Game 1: Wildcats @ Brahmas – Friday, Apr. 14
Game 2: Wildcats @ Brahmas – Saturday, Apr. 15
Game 3: Brahmas @ Wildcats – Friday, Apr. 21
**Game 4: Brahmas @ Wildcats – Saturday, Apr. 22
**Game 5: Wildcats @ Brahmas – Monday, Apr. 24
**if necessary

#2 Shreveport Mudbugs vs. #3 Corpus Christi IceRays
Game 1: IceRays @ Mudbugs – Friday, Apr. 14
Game 2: IceRays @ Mudbugs – Saturday, Apr. 15
Game 3: Mudbugs @ IceRays – Wednesday, Apr. 19
**Game 4: Mudbugs @ IceRays – Thursday, Apr. 20
**Game 5: IceRays @ Mudbugs – Tuesday, Apr. 25
**if necessary

Next Game: Game 2 of the South Division Semifinals between the IceRays and Mudbugs convene on Saturday, Apr. 15 at 7:11 p.m. from George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum. Coverage begins at 6:55 p.m. on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM) & Hockey TV.