PREVIEW: ICERAYS @ ROADRUNNERS (GAME #30)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

at

TOPEKA ROADRUNNERS

Friday, January 1 at 7:05 P.M.

Game #30 • NAHL Game #336 • Series: COR leads 2-1-1
Kansas Expocentre • Topeka, KS
Radio: KSIX 1230AM • Video: FASTHockey.com

Mobile: TuneIn Radio Twitter: @goicerays

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

Tonight’s Game: The IceRays kick off the New Year with their first of two against the Topeka RoadRunners for their second and final trip to the Kansas Expocentre.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays are even in terms of wins in losses halfway through the season series, grabbing a 2-1-1 record but hold a one-point advantage thanks to their overtime loss on Oct. 24. The IceRays have won three of their last six games over the last two seasons (including their first two home wins) despite owning a 4-18-4 record over the past six seasons.

Last Game: The IceRays held firm and earned a 4-1 win over the Odessa Jackalopes on Wednesday night to sweep the mid-week set. Defenseman Colton Meekhof (19:11 1st) scored his first NAHL goal as a forward to put the IceRays up 1-0 late in the first period. IceRays forward Brad Power (PP, 12:02 2nd) doubled the lead, 2-0, on the team’s fourth power play chance, and forward Nathan Bryer (15:58 2nd) tapped in his second this month to triple the lead, 3-0. Jackalopes forward Hampus Sjodahl (3:56 3rd) put the road side on the board and cut the lead to two, 3-1, before IceRays forward Carter Johnson (9:21 3rd) gave the home team more cushion for the eventual 4-1 win. Graham Hunt saved 32 of 33 shots in the win, and Gunnar Rivers stopped 25 of 29 shots in the loss.

Busy Bees: The IceRays have hit the mid-way point of their four-game, five-day schedule after their 900-mile and 14-hour bus ride overnight on New Year’s Eve to Topeka, Kan. Thus far, the IceRays have been perfect with a 2-0-0 record and hope to earn themselves a positive result for their hectic week with a win either tonight or tomorrow against one of the league’s hottest teams. This is the first time in junior franchise history the IceRays have not only four-in-five but also a 900-mile bridge between sets in the same week.

Dominant December: The IceRays finished December with their best result in a single month this season, going 6-2-0 in their eight-game schedule. The result is the best for a single month since Nov. 2014 when the team went 5-2-0 in seven games. The IceRays were a perfect 4-0-0 against the Odessa Jackalopes and split their four games with the Amarillo Bulls, going 2-2-0 while launching into sole possession of fourth place after starting the month seven points back of a playoff position.

Breaking Brooms: For just the second time this season, the IceRays swept their opposition at home in a two-game set thanks to back-to-back wins against the Jackalopes. Their last sweep came in their home opening weekend on Oct. 2 & 3 against the Amarillo Bulls (3-2 W & 2-1 SOW). Between their two sweeps, the IceRays have held a 3-5-1 at the American Bank Center including being swept once, splitting a set twice, and dropping two of three once. The IceRays have now won three of their last four games at home.

Corpus Offensive: The IceRays’ turn of successes has come with increased presence offensively. Over their last eight games, the IceRays have outscored their opponents 27-19 while in the process recording 30 or more shots in six games as well as 40 of more shots in three of eight games. For the first time, the IceRays also scored four goals or more four times in a month including in three of four games. Prior to December, the IceRays had performed that feat just twice (Oct. 22 vs. TOP, 4-3 W & Nov. 19 vs. LSB, 4-3 OTW).

Going Solo: The Topeka RoadRunners and Lone Star Brahmas were the only two teams in the NAHL to play last weekend in a Saturday-Sunday set, and the two teams split the weekend with bonus hockey played in consecutive games. The RoadRunners took the first game 3-2 in overtime, and the Brahmas snagged game two in a 2-1 shootout win. Forward Dominic Lutz led the way with three points (two goals, assist) including the game-winner in overtime on Saturday night, and in total only six players earned tallies with Cam Strong (goal, assist) joining Lutz as the only two multi-point grabbers. In low-shooting contests, goaltender Tyler Johnson stopped 11 of 13 shots in Saturday’s win, while Juho Niku saved 17 of 18 shots while getting saddled with a shootout loss.

Hot, Hot, Hot: The Topeka RoadRunners have been one of the strongest teams through the second quarter of the season and continue their hot trend into the New Year. The RoadRunners have won 11 of their last 13 games including a 10-win stretch from Nov. 14 through Dec. 18, which ranks second in junior franchise history for consecutive wins. During their tirade through the NAHL, the RaodRunners have outscored opposition in a 2:1 ratio (50-25) while recording four or more goals in six of those game as well as six or seven in three-straight games from Dec. 11 through Dec. 18.

South Division Standings:
Wichita Falls Wildcats (24-5-3, 51 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (21-12-1, 43 PTS)
Lone Star Brahmas (19-6-5, 43 PTS)
Corpus Christi IceRays (12-14-3, 27 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (10-12-4, 24 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (8-22-3, 19 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays finish out their four-game, five-day schedule on Saturday, Jan. 2 at 7:05 p.m. against the Topeka RoadRunners from the Kansas Expocentre. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM) and FASTHockey.