PREVIEW: ICERAYS @ ROADRUNNERS (GAME #31)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS

at

TOPEKA ROADRUNNERS

Saturday, January 2 at 7:05 P.M.

Game #31 • NAHL Game #342 • Series: COR leads 3-1-1
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 conclude their four-game, five-day swing and start the second half of the season against the Topeka RoadRunners from the Kansas Expocentre.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays and RoadRunners have traded wins throughout the season series with the IceRays taking a 3-1-1 edge thanks to last night’s game. The IceRays have won four of their last seven games over the last two seasons as well as the first season with three wins over the RoadRunners despite owning a 5-18-4 record over the past six seasons overall and 3-10-1 from the Kansas Expocentre.

Last Night: The IceRays earned their first shutout of the year with a 3-0 blanking of the RoadRunners. IceRays forward Drake Lindsay (PP, 7:06 1st) started the scoring with a right-point shot to take a 1-0 lead. The IceRays capitalized on two turnovers in the second period to gain two more goals. Forward Brad LeLievre (2:29 2nd) poked the puck in from the crease to double the lead, 2-0, and forward Toby Kircher (9:41 2nd) did the same from the opposite side to triple the lead, 3-0. IceRays netminder Graham Hunt saved all 20 shots faced in his first NAHL shutout, and Tyler Johnson saved 21 of 24 in the loss.

Busy Bees: The IceRays close out their four-game, five-day schedule tonight in Topeka. Thus far, the IceRays have been perfect with a 3-0-0 record and have a chance to make junior franchise history with a four-win week, especially in a five-day span. 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.

One Half Down: The IceRays completed the first half of their 2015-16 schedule on a high note. After a rough start to the season, the IceRays are now one game under .500 at 13-14-3 and come into the second half of the year rolling. The team has now won four-straight games as well as seven of their last nine dating back to the beginning of December to cement themselves in fourth place in the South Division after falling as far as fifth during the opening stretch.

Shut ‘Em Down: The IceRays earned their first shutout of the season last night against the RoadRunners and just their third over the last two seasons. The last IceRays shutout came on Feb. 21, 2015 against the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees in a 1-0 shootout win at home thanks to Andrew Lindgren’s 26-save night, however the last road shutout win took place on Dec. 28, 2013 (also against the Killer Bees) in a 1-0 blanking thanks to Kyle Froese’s goal and Forbes Ploszaj’s 20-save effort.

The Special Groups: The IceRays’ power play efforts continue to produce goals heading into the New Year, now scoring in five-straight games since Dec. 18. In that span, the IceRays are 8-for-28 (28.57%) on the man-advantage despite only recording a multi-goal game twice in that grouping. On the other side of play, the penalty kill has been consistently strong as well, shutting down opponents in three-straight games as well as their last 11 chances on the kill over their last four games. Both units have risen higher in the NAHL rankings with the power play now 15th in the league and the penalty kill sitting in ninth.

Tearin’ Up The Ice: Two IceRays forwards currently share the longest point-scoring streak of the season. Forward Toby Kircher has hit four-straight games with points for the first time this year, earning three goals and three assists for six points in his most recent tear with six of his seven goals this year coming with the IceRays. Forward Regen Cavanagh continues to improve his production, earning two goals and six assists for eight points in his last four games, the highest point total for a four-game stretch this year. The four-game mark has now been hit five times by four different players: Cavanagh, Kircher, Lindsay (0+6=6, Sep. 19-24), Jimmy O’Brien (2+2=4, Oct. 2-9) and Brad Power (3+1=4, Nov. 13-21).

Back To Earth: The Topeka RoadRunners have returned from their hot tear in the NAHL and now seem more humanized after last night’s shutout loss. The RoadRunners have now dropped three of their last four games, going 1-2-1 against opponents while only scoring four goals. Both regulation losses came as 3-0 blankings by opponents with the first by the Springfield Jr. Blues on Dec. 19 on the road. Last night was the third shutout against Topeka with the first on Sep. 23 at the NAHL Showcase (2-0 L vs. JNE). Netminder Tyler Johnson has played in two of the last four games, earning a 1-1-0 record with five goals-against.

South Division Standings:
Wichita Falls Wildcats (24-5-3, 51 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (21-13-1, 43 PTS)
Lone Star Brahmas (19-7-5, 43 PTS)
Corpus Christi IceRays (13-14-3, 29 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (11-12-4, 26 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (8-22-3, 19 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays head back on the road on Friday, Jan. 8 at 7:05 p.m. for the first of a two-game set against the Wichita Falls Wildcats from the Kay Yeager Coliseum. Coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM) and FASTHockey.