PREVIEW: ICERAYS @ ROADRUNNERS (GAME #8)

CORPUS CHRISTI ICERAYS @ TOPEKA ROADRUNNERS

Thursday, October 6 • 6:05 P.M. • Kansas Expocenter • Topeka, KS
Game #8 • Road Game #6 • Series: 0-0-0
Radio: KSIX 1230AM • Video: HockeyTV • Twitter: @goicerays

Coverage begins at 5:50 p.m. with Countdown To Faceoff

Tonight’s Game: The IceRays open up their first and only trip to the Kansas Expocenter for a three-game, three-day set against the Topeka RoadRunners.

Head-To-Head: The IceRays had their most successful campaign against the RoadRunners last season, earning a franchise-best 5-2-1 record through eight games including 3-1-0 in Topeka. This season, the IceRays and RoadRunners play five games with three of those coming this weekend. Over the franchises’ histories, the RoadRunners have owned the matchup, leaving the IceRays with a 7-19-4 record through six seasons.

Last Game: The IceRays closed the 2016 NAHL Showcase with a 4-3 shootout loss to the New Jersey Titans on September 24 from Schwan Super Rink 1. Titans forward Jordan Kaplan (PP, 7:01 1st) opened the scoring on the team’s first power play to take a 1-0 lead into the middle period before the game opened up. IceRays forwards Nathan Bryer (8:38 2nd) and Josh Tripp (8:49 2nd) took the lead, 2-1, with two goals separated by just 11 seconds before the Titans answered with two more from forward Victor Ostling (16:57 2nd; 17:43 2nd) to take back the lead, 3-2. IceRays forward Jayson DiMizio (19:53 2nd) evened the score, 3-3, on a breakaway from his own zone. In the shootout, IceRays forward Brad Power scored first in the second round before Titans forwards Ostling and Nick Boyagian capitalized in the third and fourth rounds to nudge ahead with the win. Harrison Feeney halted 28 of 31 shots in the win, while Conor Klaers, making his NAHL debut in a fill-in role, turned away 27 of 30 shots.

End Of The Show: The IceRays completed the 2016 NAHL Showcase with a 1-1-0-2 record, earning a point-per-game throughout the week and seeing three of their four games end in at least overtime. For the first time in junior franchise history, the IceRays played at least three of their four NAHL Showcase games in overtime as well as started the season with four of their first seven games ending in an extra period. The IceRays are now 12-11-0-5 in 28 total NAHL Showcase games over the last seven seasons.

One In The Books: The IceRays closed the month of September with a 2-3-0-2 record and six points through seven games, staying just one point shy under a point-per-game clip. Historically, the IceRays have maintained just around one point-per-game through the opening month, only sitting above .500 twice (2014-15: 3-2-0-2; 2012-13: 3-2-0-3) while equaling that mark once (2011-12: 3-3-0-0). Last month’s mark is a solid rebound from that of the 2015-16 campaign (2-4-0-0).

Bye Bye Bye: The off-weekend for the IceRays is the first of two crossing into the month of October start out the season. After two more weeks of games, the IceRays have one more off-weekend prior to the final weekend of the month. From that point, the IceRays will only have time off during Christmas and New Year’s Weekend, meaning three of the four off-weekends come in the first half of the season.

Co-Dypendent: IceRays defenseman Cody Fleckenstein picked up an assist in the team’s last game, stretching his assist streak to three-straight games. That marks the highest point streak of the season for any IceRay. Fleckenstein has been an impact performer for the IceRays since arriving from the Omaha Lancers prior to the season opener, sharing the team lead in points with forward Brad Power and leading the team in assists, recording one goal and six assists for seven points. He sits tied for 6th in the NAHL among defensemen in both assists and points.

Back In Top: The Topeka RoadRunners returned home to Landon Arena in their first meeting with the Amarillo Bulls this season, splitting the games with a 5-3 loss on Friday and 6-1 win on Saturday. Forwards Marcus Russell and Peyton Frantti led the weekend with three points (1+2=3) in two games with two other players earning two-goal weekends: forwards Matthew Barnes and Alex Frye. Eight players earned at least one point and seven were goal-scorers. Goaltender Ryan Snowden halted 39 of 40 shots in 94:24 minutes of relief while getting the win on Saturday, and Mike Rockwell stopped 12 of 17 shots in 25:36 minutes.

Streaky Scheduling: The RoadRunners received an uncanny schedule through the first full month of games to start out the 2016-17 season. From September 15 to October 15, the RoadRunners play 10 of their first 14 games at the Kansas Expocenter including all games not part of the NAHL Showcase, making for a comfortable outset to the season. However, Topeka turns around and plays their next 10 games on the road through the end of November. Their longest road trip will be 11 games from February 16 through April 1. Currently, the RoadRunners are in the midst of a seven-game home stand and are 1-1-0-0 after their meeting with Amarillo.

South Division Standings:
Lone Star Brahmas (5-1-1-0, 11 PTS)
Amarillo Bulls (5-3-1-0, 11 PTS)
Wichita Falls Wildcats (4-4-2-0, 10 PTS)
Odessa Jackalopes (4-3-0-0, 8 PTS)
Topeka RoadRunners (4-5-0-0, 8 PTS)
Shreveport Mudbugs (3-2-0-1, 7 PTS)
Corpus Christi IceRays (2-3-0-2, 6 PTS)

Next Game: The IceRays continue their three-game, three-day set against the Topeka RoadRunners on Friday, Oct. 7 at 7:05 p.m. from the Kansas Expocenter in Topeka, Kan. Coverage begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsRadio Corpus Christi (KSIX 1230AM) & HockeyTV.